How to Pay Your Employees Less -- and Make Them Happy About It

What if I told you you could cut employee salaries by up to 10 percent, and make your workers grateful you did? You'd probably say, "But, Rick, this isn't the bizarro world. Pay cuts make people mad, not happy."

It all depends on what you're offering in return. According to a new survey conducted by job site Dice, more than a third of IT professionals would accept a pay cut if they could telecommute.

Does that stat sound familiar? It should: Dice performed a similar survey nearly three years ago, and the results were virtually identical. Workers want to telecommute, and if they're allowed to do so, they're willing to work for less money.

Granted, both surveys focused on IT professionals. And nearly the same percentage went the opposite way, saying they'd want the same amount of money for the same amount of work.

But it's definitely food for thought, especially now that gas prices have hit $4/gallon. For anyone with a significant commute to the office, the money saved on gas might easily offset a pay cut.

And don't forget the countless other benefits of telecommuting (a.k.a. telework) for employer and employee alike. I'm talking lower real-estate costs, higher productivity, improved job satisfaction, and so on.

What's your take on telecommuting? Do these survey numbers make you rethink your policy? Or do you still want your employees where you can see them, regardless of the cost?

As someone who's worked from home for the better part of his career, I can tell you this: it would take a major salary boost to get me into an office. Commuting was invented by the Devil himself. (Conference calls, too.)

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