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If after reading Computerworld's 2008 Salary Survey you're planning to approach your manager about a flexible work schedule, the good news is that your boss may beat you to the punch. Your employer might impose a four-day workweek or offer telecommuting even before you can volunteer, says Mercer IT workforce specialist David Van De Voort. "The cost of gas has gotten employers' attention," he says.

By year's end, almost one in four employers (22%) will be, for the first time, planning to offer at least some employees the option of a four-day workweek, and slightly more (24%) are planning to allow more employees to work from home, according to Mercer's Gas Price Impact SnapShot Survey, conducted in July 2008. What's more, two-thirds (66%) of responding companies said they plan to increase mileage reimbursements by up to 20% for business-related travel because of higher gas prices, while 41% anticipate raising car allowance provisions by up to 20%.

The percentage of companies with telecommuting programs for IT staffers has remained about 47% for the past two years, says Lily Mok, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "I don't think there will be a point where everybody is doing it, but that number will increase. Certain jobs will never be virtualized," she says, but the majority of development and analysis work doesn't have to be done in the office.

While the data is encouraging, some industry watchers say adoption will be slow.

"The policy practices are woefully behind -- mostly because businesses just don't know how to deal with it," says Gartner analyst Diane Morello.

This version of this article originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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