Why we don't offer company cars

05/02/2016 Eric Gazoni Company Unsplash

After a recent conversation with a potential candidate, I realized that my take on not offering a company car to the company employees as a form of income was not well understood, so here is my take on explaining it.

You don't need a car to do your job

I built the company to be office-less. We're 100% remote from day one, meet eventually, but that's it. I do not require you to have a car to work at Adimian, I require many things, but not that you operate a vehicle. We even have a policy that forbids the use of your vehicle for work purpose when the weather is bad (snow storms in Northen Europe are a always a mess).

We'll pay you to make yourself a nice home office, we'll get you furniture and hardware, we'll avoid you to commute at any cost, just so you don't feel like you need to drive to do your job. So obviously, we're not offering you a car and paying for gas at the same time. Consistency, you know.

Trafic is bad (for the planet, for your health)

Average commute time in Europe is 38 minutes, times two (except if you sleep at your desk). This makes 1h16 minute per day on average, spent on the road.

This is 10.41 days per year, doing nothing but inhaling fumes from other fellow commuters' cars, and listening to trafic information on the radio.

We can also mention added stress and fatigue, risk to be involved in a car accident, long-term damages to your vascular system, etc.

Also, it means that 10.41 days a year, you just burn fuel that gets transformed into micro-particles and toxic gases, carried out later by the wind and getting spread in the atmosphere, causing a large range of health issues such as acid rains and breathing issues.

So no, I know cars are sure a convenient way to transport yourself, but if I can prevent all my team to use their car for 200 days a year, then I can already see large numbers add up.

Cars are so much more than cars (too much actually)

People love their car, they like to identify themselves to their car, hell, they even like to compare their car to their colleagues cars. Now if a company provides cars, can't we see a way for people to rank themselves up the company ladder ? As a manager, should I give the same car to everyone, regardless of their family structure for example ? Or should I take custom requests ? And if someone screws at their job, should I uncheck the leather seats from their wish-list, as a form or retaliation ?

I'm not running a car rental company, I'm running a software company, I don't want to be part of that game.

But I live in the countryside ! That's unfair !

I'm not saying that you can't have a car, I'm saying that I don't think it's my role to provide you with one. The same as it's not my role to buy you clothes or fix your roof.

If you live in the countryside, then you can ride a bike to the nearest station for example, or share a car with a neighbour, etc. Or you can just buy yourself a car, but then it's up to you to pay for the fuel and maintenance, so you have to actually act responsibly about it.

Conclusion

You may say I'm just anti-car and I should leave that outside of my business, but that wouldn't be true. I sure don't like cars, but I use them sometimes.

What I'm against is this huge waste we make of cars, just parking them out 95% of the time, burning useless fuel in trafic jams, ...

I just don't want my company to encourage a habit that causes my co-workers to risk their health (actively and passively) and damage the environment because it's a good financial incentive. I'll work hard so you don't have to have a car, but if you still do want to have one, then buy it yourself, and then it's your responsibility, not mine.

Eric Gazoni

Eric is a software engineer, founder of Adimian, splitting his time between making his customers lives better, filling the paperworks and doing puzzles with his twin boys.