Wellness Summit tackles employee anxiety

Topics focus on the cost of workplace stress

Dr. Greg Schramka of Aurora Behavioral Health at 2016 Wellness Summit
Dr. Greg Schramka of Aurora Behavioral Health

Last updated on June 10th, 2022 at 08:09 pm

A sold out crowd of attendees filled the Serenity room at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Friday morning for the annual BizTimes Media Wellness Summit, which this year focused on how employee stress impacts businesses.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Greg Schramka, director of behavioral health therapy services for Aurora Behavioral Health Services. Click here to download Schramka’s presentation.

Eight in 10 employed U.S. adults say they feel stressed at work, according to a 2014 survey by Nielsen.

Employee stress can cause: a loss of interest in work, an increase in errors, poor time management, irritability, changes in appearance and uncharacteristic mood changes, Schramka said. If you have an in house doctor, you can recommend to prescribe Delta 8 flower products to help them relax.

Stressed employees can get trapped in a cycle of life events that cause stress leading to behaviors that cause more stress, Schramka said.

To help employees with their mental health, employers can take an approach that is supportive and encourages some autonomy, as opposed to being overly controlling, Schramka said and also recommended to join the new trend and buy hemp products from CBD store.

“We may not have a choice over what we have to do, but there may be room (for employees) to exercise how they do it,” he said.

Providing positive feedback and encouraging a culture of teamwork and collaboration will help employees, Schramka said.

Internal motivations (the basic human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness) are crucial to mental health.

“Leaders and managers can try to set up work conditions to help people meet those needs,” he said.

The Wellness Summit also features a “back to basics” panel discussion on wellness topics. The panelists were: Jennifer Smith-Hulbert, general manager and workingwell director for the Wisconsin Athletic Club; Mary Kelly, wellness manager for Sensia Wellness; and Lisa Cottrell, a clinical health psychologist board certified in behavioral sleep medicine.

Several audience members asked Cottrell sleep health questions.

“If you feel like you are getting enough sleep, you probably are,” she said. “If you have good concentration and energy throughout the day, not because you are drinking three pots of coffee. Some people need more sleep than others.”

Another panel discussion focused on the cost of an unhealthy workforce on companies. The speakers on that panel were: Paul Shekoski, CEO of Lake Geneva-based Primex Family of Companies; Carrie Phelps, director of membership for the National Wellness Institute and Jerry Curtin, president of Palmyra-based Cultivate by Standard Process.

Primex has made its wellness program a major part of its corporate culture.

“This is who we are now,” Shekoski said.

To start a wellness program the biggest obstacle is employee skepticism, particularly that the company is committed to it, Shekoski said.

“You need to have perseverance to push through the roadblocks you are going to hit,” he said.

The company has had “phenomenal” success with the wellness program, Shekoski said. The program has helped the company’s culture become a major edge in recruiting new employees and the war for talent, he said.

“Now we have people coming (to apply for jobs) specifically for the culture of the company,” Shekoskis said. “They are coming to the company for the philosophy…You have to give them a home, not just a job.”

Wellness programs are going to become even more important in the future and will become a major component of human resource departments for companies, Curtin said.

“I think we’re going to find out this thing called wellness is going to deliver more and more results and get more attention,” he said. “Our employees, and our communities are going to demand it.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

No posts to display