How We Work: an analysis of workplace trends and a glimpse into the future

As an Ottawa-based company that works with Canadian businesses every day, we at Versature have an opportunity to be front and centre when it comes to hearing about the latest trends in the way companies work, communicate and connect. Here are some of the top trends we see — plus a vision of what we see in the future!

Collaboration & team building

Team or company huddles

They can be called standups or lightning meetings, but we’ve found that regular huddles are at the core of our corporate culture at Versature. A company huddle may not be feasible depending on the size of the organization, but whether you choose in-person or virtual huddles, these meetings are a great way to stay connected, especially with a remote workforce. Our Versature huddle is every day at 11:52. It’s timed that way by design so we can deliver information concisely and focus on news that involves other teams. Each team member gives an update on up to three things they’re working on as well as updates on our metrics and key performance indicators to ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s a simple approach that brings teams and the company together.

Versature's daily huddle
Open office environments

Some claim it’s not possible to be productive in an open office environment while others argue that open concepts promote team building and collaboration. From a corporate culture perspective, placing people in traditional cubicles can lead to isolation and a lack of communication. With that said, some employees work best in workspaces with more privacy. The goal is to hit a happy middle ground with an environment that fosters collaboration and encourages productivity. It may not make sense for a busy call centre to have an open concept design; the background noise does not create a great user experience for anyone dealing with your company. The marketing team, however, may enjoy having more space and the ability to have impromptu brainstorming sessions that only require a chair to roll over to the shared workspace. It's always worth an experiment — start with the teams that rely on collaboration most to get their work done well.

Presence awareness

Being connected and knowing who is available when you need them is the key to efficiency. With tools like Slack, email, chat or even desktop or mobile phones, presence awareness enables you to see if a co-worker is available with a quick visual indicator. Knowing at a glance whether your colleague is on the phone, in a meeting, available or offline saves time and enables you to connect with team members using the most effective method for improved communication and collaboration.


Work from anywhere

Gone are the days when everyone was expected to be in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flexible approaches to where you work enable employees to optimize their own and their employer’s time by working remotely to beat traffic, connecting on the road between meetings or even working from home. There is no doubt that face time is required to maintain effective working relationships, but in real life (IRL) connection doesn’t necessarily have to be structured or mandated to create a great team and successful company or to produce the best products and services. The key here is to hire the best people who can work both independently and as a team and thrive in both in-person and remote environments.

Working from home - Versature
Office privacy pods

With open office environments, privacy can sometimes be challenging to find. One may need to take a call with a customer uninterrupted, connect with a satellite office or even take a personal call. Companies are getting very creative with privacy pods to provide employees with quiet areas to accommodate their needs. Consider using:

  • Simple canopy chairs that block everything else out.
  • Semi-private pods with comfortable seating areas and ergonomic desks that have visibility to the office when standing.
  • Built-in sitting squares right in office walls and hallways.
  • Actual phone booths to take a call.

The possibilities are only limited by the imagination, but the benefits to your employees’ ability to get their work done the way they want is endless.

Informal work spaces

Employees don’t necessarily need walls around them to have a meeting, nor do they always need to be working from their desk or cubicle to get the job done right. Informal workspaces provide a more relaxed way to interact and collaborate with team members or just get a change of scenery to be inspired or work differently. Consider a living-room-style setup with couches, coffee table, and a monitor for collaboration purposes. Cafe style setups in the office kitchen enable employees to share ideas over a coffee or tea. Turn an entire wall into a whiteboard to hold ideation sessions, journey mapping or technical architecture sessions. The great thing about these types of information work areas is that they typically don’t take up too much space, and won’t break the bank.


Taking mental health seriously

Employees are at their best when their minds and bodies are both in tip-top shape. If you want your employees to do their best work, you need to invest in their wellness. Forward-thinking companies are including coverage and resources to promote mental health and eliminate the taboo associated with talking about mental wellness. Organizations are speaking openly about mental health and proactively providing resources to employees including meditation and yoga programs, access to professionals onsite or other wellness programs built into their corporate culture. This trend demonstrates organizations taking a valuable step forward in supporting employees and developing a strong, inclusive corporate culture of acceptance.

Versature's games room
Keeping fit

One of the great things about living in the nation's capital is our proximity to green space, outdoor fitness opportunities and even yoga on Parliament Hill! Even employers without such easy access to green space are getting into the game by providing in-house fitness breaks, challenges and classes. These types of activities are also great ways to build teams and introduce openings for positive competition between individuals. At Versature, we take these types of perks seriously with walk-and-talk meetings outside the office for our one-on-one meetings, hockey in our backyard in the winter and volleyball in the summer.

Hockey at Versature
Healthy eating & group meals

Ever have a craving in the middle of the day? What about having a bowl of fruit always available to give a mid-morning or afternoon energy boost? Maybe some energy bars in the kitchen for those who need a quick boost? Additionally, nothing bonds teams more than sharing a meal together. Bring in a slow cooker and have some chili, or, if your team is feeling adventurous, a group cooking lesson. Introducing opportunities to prepare and share a meal together encourages team cohesion and makes for a fun group activity.

What’s next?

Gamified on-boarding & education

No one wants to sit around for a week of training to ramp up when they start a new role, take on a new responsibility or learn a new skill. With an ever-increasing sophistication, learning tools will make this process exciting and competitive, so that educational content is fun, interesting and the results are measurable. Available on any device, these “smart” tools will recognize skill levels, ensuring that time isn’t wasted learning skills one already knows. If someone is struggling, the tools will go deeper to educate the user with different learning techniques and methods of understanding. And, if the user demonstrates proficiency in the topic, the game will allow the user to continue or “unlock” new modules to continue their educational journey.

In real life (IRL) connection doesn’t necessarily have to be structured or mandated to create a great team.
Alexa as your office assistant

What if everyone had an assistant? What if all you had to do was speak into your phone to gain full access to your online life? Ultimately, technologies like Alexa for Business go beyond administrative tasks such as ordering products, creating or cancelling meetings, or checking the weather and can find documents, facts, figures and internal company information that you wouldn’t otherwise find online. The technology is getting close to give everyone their own personal assistant to handle their personal and professional lives.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is such a broad term and the capabilities are so vast. You can guarantee that if you have a business need, there is an AI tool to help you. AI has amazing potential to help us work better, smarter and more efficiently, and is already doing it today. Whether you are analyzing sales pipeline data to determine the probability of deals closing, programmatically buying online advertising based on changing conditions in the market or detecting fraudulent behaviour patterns inside and outside of your company — AI can help you work better and smarter.

Anastasia Valentine, Chief Marketing Officer, Versature

Anastasia Valentine

Chief Marketing Officer, Versature

Anastasia Valentine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Versature leading the marketing and sales organizations. She is an award-winning product strategist and brings a wealth of experience to the Versature team. Anastasia has a solid track record of over 20 years of experience bringing products to market from idea through to commercialization globally. She has held leadership, technical and marketing roles in organizations such as Sandbox, Cognos, IBM, Jetform/Adobe and with technology startup companies. She leads the multi-disciplined marketing and sales teams at Versature using a customer-centric and data-driven approach to provide long-term strategic vision and day-to-day tactical direction. Anastasia is a strong advocate for women in STEM and a regular keynote speaker at industry conferences.

Versature | Twitter | LinkedIn

Related articles

Motivating employees in the workplace

These four essential tips will help you enhance employee motivation.

read more
5 Tips to retain your talent pool

With the labour market becoming increasingly competitive, employers are finding it challenging to retain their talent. Employees are keeping an eye out for better opportunities, or are contacted by headhunters with offers too good to refuse.

read more


This article is part of our Lead Magazine, issue 22. Like what you see? Sign up to receive more!

* indicates required