Steps to Help Soothe Workers' Economic Woes

Last Updated Oct 21, 2008 12:06 PM EDT

91885776_4e29110c9d_m.jpgWith the faltering economy putting more pressure on workers, managers and business owners can find it difficult to assuage fears and keep morale high. One approach to take is to provide a boost where it counts: in the wallet.

Concrete steps employers can take to ease their workers' financial woes include offering gas or public-transit allowance, allowing for telecommuting, and being open to flexible work schedules (including staggered starts or 4/40 or 9/80 weeks).

The latter option can work especially well for business owners who can't shake loose extra lucre. You're providing an option that can both offer savings to employees -- for example, they could cut down on daycare and commuting costs -- and provide goodwill without impacting your bottom line.

You can always offer more money, either directly or via incentive. If you can, offer small raises or do as Eve Tahmincioglu at MSNBC suggests and get creative with commissions. The potential of more take-home pay entices your sales force to work harder, so this particular carrot can pay for itself as your company reaps more or bigger clients.

David Hubler, writing in Washington Technology, offers additional suggests recognizing exceptional work with on-the-spot bonuses. If that's not possible, consider alternatives to cash, including extra paid time off, more training, or reward coupons.

When times are tough, putting your money where your mouth is can help keep your staff motivated and productive. Do you have other ideas to help fatten your workers' wallets? Share them in the comments.

(image by Argenberg via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.