At the Schlitz Park office complex in downtown Milwaukee, developer Gary Grunau approaches corporate wellness from a different perspective – that of a landlord.
“The constant theme of wellness kept coming up with everybody we talked to,” he said.
The 1.2 million-square-foot office park, developed by Grunau and Scott Sampson in the former Schlitz Brewery complex, is home to nearly 3,000 employees. Schlitz Park began investing in a wellness plan for its tenants three years ago, and the program continues to evolve.
“We’ve tried to do everything from the physical things to hiring a wellness consultant to providing events to providing food, etc.,” Grunau said.
Grunau said the wellness initiatives have been effective in both attracting and retaining tenants.
“We’re trying to provide every physical thing that we can, and our tenants really like it,” he said. “It’s very helpful in attracting new tenants. People want to exercise and get fit, but it’s in the best interest of companies also to have fit people because they’re healthy and they show up to work.”
A newer development in wellness at Schlitz Park has been bringing in a corporate wellness company, Delafield-based Salus Inc., as a dedicated wellness consultant to work on a variety of efforts with Schlitz Park tenants, free of charge.
“Using somebody like Salus can take it up a notch or two,” Grunau said. “We’re the only one I know of in a multi-tenant building or a multi-tenant office park where we have a company driving wellness, and that’s Salus. They’re driving wellness; they’re making it fun; they’re encouraging people to participate. They’re coaches and they’re motivators…Their job is to get people to use it, which is an extra magic ingredient.”
Michael Boehmer, director of wellness and fitness services at Salus, said what’s happening at Schlitz Park is a very unique situation.
“What Schlitz has done is provide that framework (for businesses),” he said. “That’s really the most innovative thing. With (businesses), they’re providing it to their employees, whereas here, Schlitz is providing (wellness offerings) to their tenants. It’s a huge added bonus to the companies – that time and convenience.”
Schlitz Park has also added fitness centers for its tenants to use. Two have been up and running for some time, and a third will be completed by the end of the year.
One of the first things Schlitz Park implemented when it began examining a wellness program was the area’s “first bike sharing program,” Grunau said, where five bicycles are available for anyone working at the business park, through a partnership with nearby Dream Bikes.
Healthy food is another key aspect of Schlitz Park’s wellness strategy, with Milwaukee caterer Davians providing healthy food options for tenants every weekday.
In addition, a variety of health-positive events are held in and around the Schlitz Park campus, Grunau said, including the Milwaukee River Challenge, a crew race on the Milwaukee river that had almost 800 rowers from all over the Midwest, a portion of the “Tour of America’s Dairyland” bicycle tour, and numerous company and charity bikes, runs and walks.
In addition, an outdoor vita course with different stations for people to do a variety of exercises, will be created at Schlitz Park by the end of the year.
“(Workplace wellness) is bigger today than it was last year, and it’ll be bigger next year,” Grunau said.