Ten ways employers can help mitigate employee work related stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month . According to the Amercican Institute of Stress , 85% of American workers experience work related stress, with 25% saying work is the number one stressor in their lives. Chronic stress not only has serious health consequences for your employees including depression, anxiety, heart problems and pain, but it also affects performance in the workplace as well.  An employee under long term stress may display a decrease in creativity, motivation, and an increase in sick days.  

Employers play a crucial role in mitigating stress for their employees. Here are some tips for employers to create a supportive work environment:

  • Open Communication: Foster a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns and stressors. Encourage regular check-ins between managers and team members to address any issues and provide support.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible work arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. Providing flexibility allows employees to better manage their work-life balance, reducing stress related to commuting, childcare, or other personal commitments.
  • Clear Expectations and Resources: Clearly communicate job expectations, responsibilities, and goals to employees. Ensure that employees have the necessary resources, tools, and training to perform their jobs effectively. Unclear expectations and insufficient resources can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize and appreciate employees’ hard work and contributions regularly. Celebrate achievements, milestones, and successes publicly to boost morale and motivation. Feeling valued and appreciated can reduce stress and improve employee engagement.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage employees to prioritize their well-being by promoting work-life balance. Discourage overworking and encourage employees to take regular breaks, vacations, and time off to recharge. Implement policies that support boundaries between work and personal life.
  • Wellness Programs: Offer wellness programs and initiatives to support employees’ physical and mental health. Provide access to resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), mental health resources, fitness classes, and stress management workshops. Encourage participation in these programs to promote overall well-being.
  • Conflict Resolution Procedures: Establish fair and effective conflict resolution procedures to address workplace conflicts and issues promptly. Train managers and employees on conflict resolution techniques and encourage open dialogue to resolve conflicts constructively. Addressing conflicts early can prevent them from escalating and causing stress for employees.
  • Promote a Positive Work Environment: Foster a positive work environment characterized by mutual respect, collaboration, and support. Encourage teamwork, camaraderie, and social connections among employees. Implement initiatives such as team-building activities, mentorship programs, and social events to strengthen relationships and morale.
  • Training and Development Opportunities: Invest in employees’ professional development by offering training and development opportunities. Provide opportunities for skill-building, career advancement, and growth within the organization. Empowering employees to develop their skills and advance in their careers can increase job satisfaction and reduce stress.
  • Lead by Example: Leadership sets the tone for the workplace culture. Lead by example by demonstrating healthy work habits, managing stress effectively, and prioritizing well-being. Show empathy, understanding, and support for employees’ needs and concerns.

It’s critical to recognize what stress and anxiety look like, take steps to build resilience, and know where to go for help. The Mental Health American (MHA) provides some tips on how to reduce your stress by utilizing a Stress Screener. Also, take some time to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and familiarize yourself with strategies for stress management.

Providing employees with a group health insurance plan is one way to help create a supportive work environment that promotes employee well-being. Contact the team at EPB&B and we will help find the right group health plan to fit the needs of your business.

The team at EPB&B works hard everyday to provide an exceptional experience to our customers. We work hard so we make an effort to find time to play too. From in office chair massages, to volunteering together in the community and participating on fun and creative group outings, the team at EPB&B makes health and wellness a priority.


Protect your data; March 31st is World Backup Day.

March 31st is World Backup Day.  The threat landscape continues to change, and ransomware attacks and cyber-attacks are growing increasingly frequent and more sophisticated. There are things you can do to make sure your business is ready.  With a multitude of cyber insurance options, the team at EPB&B insurance have years of dedicated experience in helping small businesses protect their assets.

What is a Backup: A backup is a copy of all your important files — for example,  photos, documents and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place like a computer or smartphone, you keep a copy of everything somewhere safe.

Why  making a backup important:  One small accident, failure, or data breach can destroy all the data that keeps you business up and running. Data loss also sets back productivity timelines and can cause you to lose customers if it is accompanied by security breaches. According to New Era Technology , ninety four percent of companies that experience severe data loss do not recover.

While the right backup solution for each organization may be a little different, here are a few basic guidelines from EPB&B Cyber professional Justine Avera that every company should have in place to protect their data.

1.       Make sure that one of your backup solutions is onto an air-gapped computer.  This is a storage device that has no open network or internet connection, either wired or wireless.  Backups and data are often transferred manually under human control, and the device is left offline and disconnected once the data transfer is complete which makes it harder to hack or corrupt or encrypt data.

2.       Make sure you have three copies of your data on two separate storage solutions and types of media with one copy offsite or in the cloud.  This is known as the 3-2-1 rule.

3.       Test your backups and restoration regularly, and scan for signs of infection or corrupted data.

4.     Have a paper backup of key contact and emergency procedure information in case all access to digital assets and operational systems are cut off.

Businesses that follow good back up procedures are less likely to be crippled in the event of a natural disaster, hardware crash or cyber event.  Insurance companies will provide better terms and pricing for business income reimbursement coverage if you have a good backup plan in place.  Finding the right insurance solutions is a key to minimizing disruption.  Contact the team at EPB&B and our cyber professionals will help find the right insurance to protect your business.


EPB&B Makes More Happen for Feed The Hungry

EPB&B Insurance is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded $10,000 for one of our favorite Portand area non profits, Feed the Hungry.  This award was made possible through the Liberty Mutual, Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award, and to the over 600 people who voted for our story (we only needed 500 ) qualifying us for the award. 

Over fifteen years ago, Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker Insurance discovered FTH through one of our employees, Susan Anderson, who has been a board member of the nonprofit for many years. Impressed by the dedication and compassion of the FTH team, EPB&B decided to lend our support. “We were immediately blown away by the huge impact a small, grassroots organization could make,” explained Marc Baker, the President of EPB&B. “FTH does not just provide food — they provide dignity, community and a respite for people in need.”

Feed the Hungry was conceived in 1991, when there were no local programs providing regular meals to community members in need on Sundays. As a nondenominational organization, the nonprofit brings together volunteers from diverse civic groups, churches and schools to cook and enjoy a hearty sit-down meal while finding community connection. Located at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Feed the Hungry serves 80 guests a week, on average.

EPB&B has been an incredible partner to Feed the Hungry,” said Connie Ross, scheduler and board member at FTH. “Their generosity has allowed us to continue to serve the unhoused and those experiencing food insecurity.”

 EPB&B remains dedicated to supporting FTH throughout the year. Through regular donations averaging $5,000 annually, we ensure FTH has the necessary resources to continue to serve the hungry, many of whom are regulars every Sunday. Additionally, the majority of EPB&B’s employees volunteer with FTH and other nonprofits, demonstrating our commitment to making a positive impact in the community.

The  Make More Happen Award  will make a significant difference for Feed the Hungry, providing for nearly six months of operating expenses. It will cover the cost of cooking and serving supplies, holiday gifts of warm socks, mittens, hats and fleece-lined hoodies for the winter months, and even the salary of its sole employee, who coordinates dozens volunteer groups to help prepare meals and distribute gi


Commercial auto insurance for small businesses

Many small businesses in Oregon need commercial auto insurance to protect from accidents and other unforseen events that involve their work vehicles. Commercial auto insurance helps protect your business by covering vehicles owned by and used in your business, such as cars, trucks and vans, and liability for their use. Commercial auto insurance protects your business against liability for damages caused by accidents involving your business autos and provides certain compensation to occupants injured in accidents. If your business owns vehicles, a commercial auto insurance policy can provide valuable financial protection to you, your business and your employees. At Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker we have a diverse team of expert insurance professionals with the experience and understanding of the needs of a small business owner.  Our access to quality insurance products  allows EPB&B the ability to provide quality, cost effective commercial auto insurance to most any type of business , from large multi-state operations to local artisan shops.  Here are some of the commercial vehicles we insure: 

  • Company Cars: Vehicles owned or leased by a business and used for business-related activities.Vehicles driven by employees or used for business activities, such as visiting clients or making deliveries, usually need commercial auto insurance. Personal auto insurance may not cover vehicles used for work purposes.
  • Delivery Vehicles: Trucks, vans, or cars used for delivering goods or services. 
  • Commercial Trucks: This includes trucking such as  box trucks, flatbed trucks, tow trucks, and tractor-trailers.
  • Utility Vehicles: Vehicles used for various utility services such as plumbing, electrical work, and landscaping,  
  • Service Vehicles: Vehicles used for service-oriented businesses such as HVAC repair, locksmithing, and pest control.
  • Construction Vehicles: Trucks and heavy equipment used in the construction industry, such as dump trucks, and cement mixers.
  • Specialty Vehicles: Vehicles modified for specific business needs, such as food trucks, ice cream trucks, and mobile pet grooming vans.
  • PUBLIC LIVERY:  Any vehicle used to transport people or goods for a fee must be insured by a commercial auto policy. This includes taxis, limousines and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) vehicles. Some ridesharing vehicles might require commercial coverage.

It’s important to note that coverage specifics can vary depending on the insurance carrier and the terms of the policy.  Let the team at EPB&B help find the right Commercial auto policy to fit your business needs . 


Why businesses need General  Liability Coverage 

General liability insurance is a type of insurance coverage designed to protect businesses from a variety of liabilities that may arise during their operations. It provides financial protection against claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury that may occur on your business premises or as a result of your business operations.  Whether a large corporation or a small start up, the team at Elliott, Powell, Baden, and Baker has access to an array of General Liability insurance options  and can help tailor a plan to fit your needs. 

Here are some key features of general liability insurance:

  • Bodily Injury Coverage: If a third party (such as a customer, vendor, or visitor) suffers bodily injury on your business premises or as a result of your business activities, general liability insurance can cover medical expenses, legal fees, and any settlements or judgments resulting from a lawsuit.
  • Property Damage Coverage: If your business activities cause damage to someone else’s property (e.g., a client’s home or office), general liability insurance can cover the cost of repairs or replacement, as well as any legal expenses if you are sued.
  • Personal and Advertising Injury Coverage: This aspect of general liability insurance protects your business against claims of libel, slander, defamation, copyright infringement, and other forms of personal or advertising injury.
  • Legal Defense Costs: General liability insurance typically covers the costs of defending your business in lawsuits, including attorney fees, court costs, and settlements or judgments, up to the policy limits.
  • Products and Completed Operations Coverage: Some general liability policies include coverage for damages caused by your products or completed work. This can be important for businesses involved in manufacturing, distributing, or selling products, as well as those providing services.
Young woman coming out of a store with shopping bags slipping on a sidewalk

General liability insurance is essential for most businesses, as it provides an important layer of protection against common risks and liabilities. The specific coverage and limits offered by a policy may vary depending on factors such as the type of business, its size, and, type of industry. At EPB&B our team will do a complimentary policy review to find you comprehensive  protection for your business needs.


EPB&B “Lends A Helping Hand” to Blanchet House fundraiser

 Elliott, Powell Baden, and Baker was pleased to offer support to one of our long standing nonprofit partners Blanchet House as a $5,000 sponsor for their Lend A Helping Hand Brunch that was held March 3, 2024 at the Portland Art Museum.  

Blanchet House is on a mission to alleviate suffering and offer hope for a better life by serving essential aid with dignity. They are on the front lines, working to provide pathways out of homelessness and addiction by offering aid and tools for self-sufficiency,  continuously providing clothing, hygiene items, community and transitional recovery programs to thousands of people in downtown Portland and at a farm in Yamhill county every year.

“It is a core value at EPB&B to support local non-profits who provide and help and hope to those in our community who might otherwise fall through the cracks and Blanchet House is a perfect example of this,” explains EPB&B president Marc Baker.  “ The essential services they provide make a significant positive impact for so many and we are happy to support their mission.”  

There are many opportunities to support Blanchet House, both hands on and financially. 

In addition, keeping the mission of community giving at the forefront, the The Baker Family Foundation  was established in 2022  with the mission of providing an accessible way to provide financial support to small, local, non-profit organizations that provide services to those in need in our community.  

The EPB&B team enjoyed a lovely brunch and paddle raise at the Blanchet House Lend A Helping Hand event at The Portland Art Museum. (Center: Scott Kerman, Executive Director, Blanchet House)