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.