Gartner Research

Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center Primer for 2023

Published: 02 February 2023


A tightening economy requires a new focus on employee performance and enterprise productivity, while competing for top talent remains a concern. Executive leaders can achieve breakthroughs with human-centric work models and AI-enabled automation by taking an adaptive data-driven approach.


Designing work models to attract and retain top talent, boost employee performance and increase productivity will be crucial in 2023.

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 the new manager skills needed to support employees equitably and deliver sustainable performance in a hybrid work environment.

  • Reshaping the Culture: Preserve and evolve the 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 better suited to the hybrid work environment.

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

  • Digital Enablement: Invest in the digital employee experience and workforce digital dexterity to boost business results, while also harnessing hyperautomation, AI and future metaverse trends.

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Figure 1: Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center Overview

The 2023 Gartner Board of Directors Survey on Business Strategy in an Uncertain World Survey lists “transforming ways of working and talent strategies” within the top two areas where nonexecutive boards of directors are willing to take more risks to increase growth and profitability (see ).Succeeding with the enterprise’s business objectives requires taking risks — or at least trying new things — particularly to attract and retain talent with digital skills. Executive leaders must rethink the employee experience both for the employee’s sake and for the enterprise’s. Work models that give employees the flexibility they want can also create sustained employee performance and lift enterprise productivity.

The most effective future of work models are human-centric, combining flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management. 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 work designs combine the individual’s desire for autonomy and flexibility, the team’s need for performance, and the business’s need to drive results.According to the 2022 Gartner Future of Work Reinvented Implementation Survey, human-centric work designs make it 3.1 times less likely for an employee to report fatigue, 3.2 times more likely to have high intent to stay with the organization and 3.8 times more likely to exhibit high performance.

Leaders must find the right human-centric work design for their organization by taking an agile adaptive approach, particularly over the next 12-18 months. 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 the most effective work design.Enterprises will also need this design agility to take advantage of other work trends. This includes the gig economy, skills-based workforce models, talent marketplaces and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled task automation in an environment where machines and humans work more closely together.


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 pre COVID-19 pandemic work practices. Talent outcomes include boosted well-being (essential to sustained performance), increased talent attraction and retention, improved diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and higher employee and team performance. Business outcomes include increased productivity and business performance, greater collaboration and innovation, and 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 a competitive labor market, human-centric work design will continue to differentiate employers who attract talent from those who alienate talent. Organizations must adopt a human-centric work model, which puts individuals at the center of work design and embraces flexibility as the norm. They will need to optimize their use of in-office and remote workspaces and enable employees to design work patterns that balance varied needs to fuel performance while preventing fatigue and burnout.

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

  • How do we maximize productivity and performance in a hybrid environment?

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

  • How do we design a compelling employee experience in a hybrid model?

  • How do we protect employee well-being and inclusion through hybrid work design?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Implementing a human-centric work model that delivers talent and business outcomes

  • Navigating the return-to-office process successfully

  • Identifying the moments that matter for in-person employee experiences

  • Protecting well-being and reducing fatigue in a hybrid work environment

  • Optimizing collaboration across asynchronous and synchronous work modes

  • Making meetings more effective and inclusive in a hybrid environment

Managing in a Hybrid World

Managers face intense pressure to maintain team engagement and productivity. In the hybrid world, they have a more critical role to play than ever. They are often the primary, if not only, colleague their direct reports interact with regularly. Indeed, according to the 2022 Gartner Culture in a Hybrid World Employee Survey, 60% of hybrid employees said their direct manager was their primary connection to their company’s culture. At the same time, the demands of today’s working environment have strained many managers with expanding responsibilities, wider spans of control, and depleted team resources. Senior leaders direct them to implement corporate strategy, particularly regarding hybrid work, while their employees expect them to provide a sense of purpose, flexibility, and career opportunities. These pressures do not always align. 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 should a manager’s role evolve in today’s hybrid world?

  • How can leaders drive sustainable performance in the hybrid world?

  • How should managers foster collaboration and well-being on their teams?

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

  • How can executives provide the upskilling and support managers need today?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Rethinking manager role design for today’s environment

  • Analyzing how managers can prevent burnout in the hybrid organization

  • Developing future-ready leaders

  • Examining how connector managers are leading in the new work environment

  • Investigating new management imperatives for the hybrid world

  • Leveraging technology for manager skills development

  • Helping managers close their own digital dexterity gap

Reshaping the Culture

As organizations find new ways to connect and collaborate in the hybrid world, they also uncover new challenges to ensuring employee connectedness to culture. Executive leaders must confront the limitations of legacy thinking and work models when fostering the culture their organizations desire by identifying key behavioral norms and reshaping them for modern working environments.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • Does hybrid work damage or enhance cultural connectedness?

  • What do we need to change versus keep about our culture to optimize hybrid work models?

  • How can leaders drop outdated assumptions and adapt their mindsets about culture?

  • What makes employees feel connected to the organization’s culture in a hybrid environment?

  • How can leaders reshape behavioral norms to mitigate burnout and foster collaboration?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Fostering an inclusive hybrid culture

  • Identifying key on-site moments for organizational culture

  • Driving culture change in a hybrid world

  • Developing tools to maintain culture connectedness in a hybrid work environment

Rethinking the Workplace

The new workplace role is shifting from the default for all work to a space for connection.The challenge that leaders face is orchestrating new in-person “moments that matter” so employees seek the workplace and are more productive. Achieving this requires rethinking location-centric metrics beyond workplace utilization to human-centric KPIs and the role the office plays in workforce engagement and performance. Leaders’ current focus on culture and morale magnifies the importance of the workplace to support employee satisfaction, well-being and performance.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • What is the new purpose of the office and how do we reinvent the workplace?

  • How can office space be optimized and reallocated within an affordable budget?

  • What are the new KPIs for corporate real estate?

  • What technology investments can optimize the workplace experience and performance?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Determining the new value proposition and role of the office on a hybrid work environment

  • Identifying new KPIs to manage corporate real estate

  • Leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) to drive corporate real estate decisions

  • Developing a workplace experience application market guide and vendor selection tool

  • Exploring how digital workplace leaders support hybrid work and in-person experiences

Shifting Talent and Skills

Shifting talent expectations demand the need to measure, design, experiment with and improve employee experience. Everywhere, leaders need to rethink how roles and responsibilities are defined, and what combination of skills and competencies are needed. In some sectors automation is accelerating with more robots and AI completing work alongside human workers. Many organizations turn to skills-based approaches, talent marketplaces, gig models and other data-driven approaches to help in organizing work and connecting talent to work opportunities. Both leaders and employees must dramatically increase the pace of employee 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 demanding flexibility in a hybrid world?

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

  • How do I prepare for the future of work impacting workforce planning and organizational design?

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

  • How do I take advantage of skills-based workforce planning, gig and talent marketplace trends?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Delivering on your employee experience vision

  • Examining skills-based talent management, talent marketplaces and gig-style work

  • Using AI-enabled skills management platforms

  • Upskilling and reskilling practices including technologies to enable agile learning

  • Developing solutions for finding technology talent

  • Emerging organizational models to support demands for flexible work

Digital Enablement

Business leaders must plan and implement a 2023 agenda that improves the digital employee experience and the broader employee experience. This assumes a deeper partnership between the IT organization and adjacent business units like communications, HR and facilities management to remove digital friction in work activities. IT insights, disciplines and tooling can positively impact many aspects of the employee experience. Leaders should also experiment with and employ other digital enablement trends including hyperautomation, robots and AI to eliminate tedious tasks and improve enterprise productivity.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How does the digital employee experience support the overall employee experience?

  • What is the potential for metaverse technologies as part of our future of work strategy?

  • What impact does workforce digital dexterity have on the future of work?

  • How can IT coordinate activities with relevant business units to maximize technology impact?

  • What applications and personal productivity tools best support hybrid work?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Developing an “our way of working” narrative to improve the digital employee experience

  • Measuring and improve workforce digital dexterity

  • Rolling out a digital “enablement continuum” to facilitate worker digital dexterity

  • Analyzing metaverse trends including a Hype Cycle and future of work implications

  • Developing tools and practices to best support and optimize hybrid work

  • Examining roles and responsibilities for the digital employee experience

  • Leading digital employee experience

Suggested First Steps

Essential Reading


2023 Gartner Board Of Directors Survey on Business Strategy in an Uncertain World. This survey was conducted to understand the new approaches adopted by nonexecutive boards of directors (BoDs) to drive growth in a rapidly changing business environment. The survey also sought to understand the BoDs’ focus on investments in digital acceleration, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).The survey was conducted online from June through July 2022 among 281 respondents from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Respondents came from all industries, except governments, nonprofits, charities and NGOs, and from organizations with $50 million or more in annual revenue. Respondents were required to be a board director or a member of a corporate board of directors. If respondents served on multiple boards, they answered for the largest company, defined by its annual revenue, for which they are a board member. Disclaimer: The results of this survey do not represent global findings or the market as a whole, but reflect the sentiments of the respondents and companies surveyed.

2022 Gartner Future of Work Reinvented Implementation Survey. This study was conducted to pinpoint real-world postpandemic hybrid work design and implementation leading practices that will drive common talent and business outcomes. The research was conducted online during June 2022 among 401 respondents from North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Of 401 respondents, 250 were at employee level (entry-level/midlevelnonmanagers/individual contributors), while 151 were leaders (directors and above). Respondents were screened for the nature of their work, as only knowledge workers were screened for the survey. Disclaimer: The results of this study do not represent global findings or the market as a whole, but reflect the sentiment of the respondents and companies surveyed.

2022 Gartner Culture in a Hybrid World Employee Survey. This survey was conducted in December 2021. It included responses from 6,758 employees (n = 3,876 hybrid knowledge workers). The survey focused on employees’ experiences and opinions related to their organization’s culture and their connectedness to it, with representation from various geographies, industries and functions. The survey was designed and developed by Gartner’s HR practice research team.

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