Message from the Chair

CSAETrill17072018a“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Attributed to Stephen Hawking

The best way to see our great country, and get to know its people, is to move, and often.

When you have moved as many times as me and lived in as many places and provinces that I have had the pleasure to plant ephemeral roots, you truly get a sense of how vast and complex Canada is.

We recently moved into new work space just down the hall from our existing offices. We needed more square footage to create capacity and hire additional staff. Truth be told, this is the second time in a year that we have moved and I realized that in order to avoid another stressful move in twelve months time, I had better come up with a workplace strategy.

According to the experts in corporate real estate, a solid workplace strategy can have a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. Workplace strategy takes into account how people work and how they use their space. It also encourages efficiencies and helps to manage change through communications and training.

Because Essentient is a flat organization with a multitude of projects being managed at any given time I decided to create an open work plan that eliminated office walls, encouraged collaboration and promoted wellness with the addition of sit/stand desks and natural light. Sounds good, but I still had to sell this to my staff.

I was pleasantly surprised at how agreeable my team was in embracing our new workplace arrangement and I am optimistic that it will contribute to greater productivity and employee satisfaction.

What I think this illustrates is that we are often so afraid of introducing change to staff, to our boards or to our members. But, if we can articulate the strategy behind the change, it makes selling it and getting everyone to adapt to it so much easier. Plus, if we don’t change, how can we improve?

Getting back to the topic about my frequent moves across Canada, someone asked me once “where do you call home?” My answer to that is, home is wherever I happen to be. Fortunately for me, my home is Canada.

Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE
Chair – CSAE Trillium
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