Gartner Research

Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center Primer for 2022

Published: 04 February 2022


To win the war for talent, executive leaders must implement postpandemic work models that address employees’ need for autonomy and the business’s need for performance. Getting the balance right requires experimentation to realize both talent and business outcomes.


The Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center helps leaders design postpandemic work to prevail in the talent war, deliver digital acceleration in 2022 and harness long-term disruptive work trends.

Topics in this initiative include:

  • Human-Centric Work Design: Boost engagement, productivity and well-being by giving employees more autonomy over their work and work environment.

  • Managing in a Hybrid World: Develop new skills needed to support and manage employees equitably in a hybrid work environment.

  • Reshaping the Culture: Preserve and evolve culture to thrive in a hybrid work environment, while laying the groundwork to adapt to future uncertainties.

  • Rethinking the Workplace: Modify the office to create an equitable, engaging and highly utilized workplace for the postpandemic, hybrid work era.

  • Shifting Talent and Skills: Determine new employee expectations, skills and competencies and how enterprises can attract, retain and upskill workers to keep pace with future-of-work trends.

  • Digital Enablement: Implement the technologies and practices needed for hybrid work and digital employee experience today, while harnessing hyperautomation and future metaverse trends.

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Figure 1. Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center Overview

Boards of directors have made digital acceleration their top business priority in the recovery from the pandemic. Succeeding with the enterprise’s business objectives requires attracting and retaining talent with digital skills. However, the pandemic era caused employees to reassess their expectations, and in many countries, large numbers of workers have quit their jobs in search of higher pay or betterbalance between their personal and professional needselsewhere. Employees with digital skills have the most leverage. Most enterprises can’t outbid digital giants and big multinationals in offering large salaries, but they can compete by offering more attractive work models.

The future of work lies with hybrid models, combining remote work with on-location work. Unfortunately, the form of “always on” remote and hybrid work enterprises adopted during the pandemic contributed to employee burnout, exacerbating the “great resignation.” Instead of rigid hybrid models (e.g., everyone comes into the office Wednesdays and Thursdays) that simply extend office-centric practices online, executive leaders must adopt work designs that are flexible in more than just location and can therefore include frontline workers. Human-centric designs balance the individual’s desire for autonomy and flexibility, the team’s need for performance, and the business’s need to drive results. Human-centric designs outperform rigid hybrid office-centric models by as much as 44% on worker fatigue, 45% on intent to stay and 28% on employee performance.

Leaders must find the right hybrid work design for their organization by taking an agile adaptive approach. They should start by defining the business and talent outcomes they wish to achieve. Then they should experiment with a work design aimed at those outcomes, gather data on how well it performed, adjust the design and run the experiment again. The organization must learn from both successes and failures, persisting until it finds an effective human-centric work design. Enterprises will also need this design agility to take advantage of long-term disruptive trends like hyperautomation, the gig economy and the metaverse.


Enterprises that effectively reinvent work to give employees the right amount of flexibility in a human-centric model can realize talent and business outcomes superior to those of competitors that return to prepandemic work practices. Talent outcomes include:

  • Boosted well-being (including reduced fatigue)

  • Increased talent attraction and retention

  • Improved diversity, equity and inclusion

Business outcomes include:

  • Increased performance

  • Greater collaboration and innovation

  • Improved business agility

Implementing a successful future-of-work model must address multiple, interlocking factors. Our research in this area addresses the following topics:

Human-Centric Work Design

In the war for talent, human-centric work design will be aunique differentiator between employers who attract and employers who alienate their talent. Both frontline and office workers want a more human approach to work. The normalization of remote work has made it clear that for many employees, location should not be at the center of how work gets done. Organizations must transition from a location-centric model to a human-centric work model, which puts the individual at the center of work design. Flexibility becomes the norm, not the exception, and individuals must balance multiple sets of needs in designing their work patterns. The workforce must experiment and learn from failure as it adapts to a more agile and fluid way of working. Organizations must design collaboration intentionally by addressing how, where and when teams must come together.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How do we implement flexibility across the organization?

  • How do we enable team collaboration and innovation in a hybrid model?

  • How do we design the employee experience in a hybrid environment?

  • How do we safeguard team health and employee well-being through hybrid work design?

  • How do we incorporate more inclusive work patterns in our work design?

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Planned Research
  • Future of work reinvented: Human-centric work design

  • Employee preferences for returning to the workplace

  • The state of employee sentiment on hybrid work

  • Creating a human-centric employee experience

  • The new norms required for hybrid work

  • Protecting employee well-being in a hybrid setup

  • Effective collaboration in a hybrid environment

Managing in a Hybrid World

As the stewards of sustainable performance, managers face intense pressure to maintain team engagement and performance in the hybrid world. Geographically dispersed employees, teams and leaders must collaborate in a new operating model. As work and personal lives become more integrated, managers must navigate difficult conversations and protect well-being to deliver on today’s more human-centric employee value proposition. Finally, managers can no longer rely on visibility to manage performance, and they must shift their focus to assessing business and teamoutcomes rather than productivity alone. Executives must evolve managers’ roles, equip them with new skills, and provide them with new support to drive team performance and engagement in the hybrid world.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How does a manager’s role change in the hybrid world?

  • How should leaders drive performance and innovation in the hybrid world?

  • How should managers work with their teams?

  • How can managers adopt more inclusive behaviors in the hybrid workplace?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Rethink manager role design for hybrid work

  • Reignite employee engagement in the remote hybrid organization

  • Developing future-ready leaders

  • How Connector managers are leading in the new work environment

  • New leadership imperatives for the hybrid world

  • Automation and the manager role

Reshaping the Culture

The transition toa hybrid work environment, along with other shifts in the employee/employer relationship, raises new questions for executive leaders about how to shape a culture that adapts and thrives in an uncertain future. More varied experiences, fewer in-person touchpoints and less time in employer-controlled office spaces challenge long-held assumptions of how organizations shape behavioral norms and help employees feel connected to one another. Executive leaders must confront the limitations of an office-centric model that has dominated beliefs about culture by identifying these rituals and adapting them for new working environments.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • What are the myths and realities of how we shape culture in a hybrid environment?

  • What about our culture needs to change and what do we keep to optimize hybrid work for us?

  • How do we help leaders examine their in-office biases and adapt their mindsets to create the culture we want?

  • How do we help employees feel connected to a part of the organization’s culture in a hybrid environment?

  • How can I reshape behavioral norms to mitigate employee burnout and stress?

  • How do we change our in-office rituals to work in a hybrid environment?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Design rituals to enhance culture for hybrid work

  • Ignore burnout at your peril

  • High performance in a geographically dispersed workforce

  • Culture in a hybrid world

  • Demonstrating the business iImpact of culture

Rethinking the Workplace

The new hybrid human-centric work model will change the purpose of the office, along with its design and the organization’s real estate portfolio. Offices will no longer be the place where most employees go to do all types of work. Instead, hybrid employees will choose to come to the office for certain types of work activities, such as in-person collaboration, socialization or onboarding. Frontline workers also need flexibility and support. Hybrid workplaces need to be more flexible, too, since the space needs ofemployees may change over time. Organizations will need to create a workplace strategy that meets the particular needs of employees in each office. To do so, leaders will need to rely on observational insights, usage data, and experimentation in order to ensure that they are providing all employees with the spaces they need when they need them.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • What is the purpose of our office and other locations in the hybrid future of work?

  • How should I rightsize my real estate portfolio?

  • How will the postpandemic workplace be designed?

  • What are the considerations, risks and opportunities in bringing employees back to traditional workspaces?

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Planned Research
  • Introducing hybrid offices? Prepare for constant change

  • How to avoid empty-office fridays with hybrid work

  • Key benchmarks for the hybrid workplace

  • Strategies for extending flexibility to hourly supply chain employees

  • Future of work reinvented: Hourly supply chain roles need support and flexibility, too

  • 3 outdated assumptions that damage your hybrid work design

  • Expert Insight Video: The future of hybrid working

  • 3 myths for hybrid working, debunked in 3 minutes

  • How to create an inclusive hybrid workplace

Shifting Talent and Skills

Future of work implications on talent and skills are among the most profound. Employees are rethinking what they want out of work. Many organizational leaders are facing high rates of attrition and hiring challenges in their teams, due to a number of labor market tensions in key talent domains and geographies. This war for talent requires employers to reinvest in new ways to attract and retain talent. They need to find creative solutions for filling critical skills gaps. In some sectors, to meet this talent challenge, automation is accelerating with more robots and AI completing work alongside human workers. Talent marketplaces, gig models and other data-driven approaches have become critical responses for organizing work; connecting talent to work opportunities. Flexible working, as a preferred model, requires new skills and new ways of working collaboratively, plus new ways to measure well-being and engagement. Leaders and employees must dramatically increase the pace of upskilling and reskilling to match the pace that work is transforming.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How do I attract, retain and motivate top talent in a hybrid world?

  • How do I identify and acquire the new skills and competencies to keep pace with the future of work shifts?

  • How will the future of work impact workforce planning?

  • How do I access and leverage the global talent marketplace if location is no longer a constraint?

  • How can I foster well-being and reduce work-related stress and burnout?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Top competencies for working in a hybrid work environment

  • What employees want from work coming out of the pandemic

  • How to find the skills you need when hiring is not an option

  • Skills-based talent management, talent marketplaces and gig-style work

  • Using labor market insights and skills data for strategic workforce planning

  • Upskilling and reskilling practices including technologies to enable agile learning

  • Solutions for finding technology talent

  • How to deal with employee burnout

Digital Enablement

For most organizations, the existing computing infrastructure — with some augmentation — was sufficient to support the pivot to remote work. As leaders now seek enduring solutions for hybrid work, attention is turning to how technology can support a radically flexible work experience for both office and frontline workers. Applications for coordinating when and where employees work, tools and hardware to support hybrid meetings, and services to help navigate repurposed office space are high on the list of priorities. Investments in automating processes, which were kicked into high gear by the pandemic, will continue into the realm of hyperautomation. Hybrid work patterns have raised the profile of technologies that enable employees to work together seamlessly, whether they are remote or in office. Consequently there is a growing interest in a more “virtualized” work experience. This trend points to the longer-term evolution to avatars and metaverse-based work experiences, where many activities take place in a virtual world.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • What applications and personal productivity tools best support hybrid work?

  • What changes to infrastructure and operations are needed for hybrid work?

  • How do we coordinate hybrid work patterns and on-site resources?

  • What is the path to the metaverse and the implications for the work experience?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Human-centric digital enablement: Strategy and execution

  • Building conference rooms to accommodate hybrid work

  • The Metaverse: What is it and why should I care?

  • How to optimize and support hybrid work with technology

  • Day in the life of a hybrid employee (journey map)

  • Optimizing work processes with hyperautomation

Suggested First Steps

Essential Reading

Tools and Toolkits


The 2021 Gartner Hybrid Work Employee Survey included 4,264 employees from across the world, representing various industries and organizational sizes.


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