Skip navigation
employee working remotely Alamy

The Journey to Your Future of Work

Don't expect to return to the pre-pandemic office, not only because employees don't want to return to it, but also because it's not a good use of financial resources anymore.

Each day I talk with organizations who are trying to navigate the journey of their future of work. Uniformly they ask, what are other organizations doing? What best practices are emerging? The challenge is that there are no best practices … yet. We simply aren't at the stage in which they emerge. Everyone is in the same boat, trying to figure out how to row confidently in the right direction. But we do have data and the data tells us that we will not "return to normal", aka the pre-pandemic office, for a variety of reasons.

Of course, the most common reason trotted out is that employees don't want to return to losing hours of their life to commutes, not to mention the cost of transit, parking, and fuel.

But, more importantly, it's simply not a good use of financial resources anymore. Real estate costs are in the top 3 expenditures for most organizations. Organizations are hyper-fixated on the productivity of employees while (accounting for a 3×2 hybrid model) allowing their offices to be vacant 40-60% of the time! Ask yourself, where would it be acceptable to plan for 40% waste in any other expenditure?

Instead of continuing to operate with a sunk-cost fallacy, organizations must pivot to a value-based methodology by accepting that navigating the journey to their future of work will require investment in:

GartnerGartner Journey to Future of Work chart

  • Listening
    • What do you know about employee sentiment?
    • How does the office fit into your organizational goals?
  • Enticing
    • What is the value proposition of your office?
    • What investments are critical for re-entry?
  • Expecting
    • How can you model the behaviors you want to see?
    • How can you support managers in embracing flexibility?
  • Measuring
    • How can you measure workspace usage?
    • What's going well (and not so well) for employees?
  • Adapting
    • How should you adapt your goals and expectations for the office?
    • Should you make an additional investment in smart office?

And only then… Transforming

Clients can learn more with Using the Enterprise Value Equation to Make Return to Workplace Decisions. This presentation provides executive leaders with a framework for return to office decisions and their impact.

Tori Paulman 

This article originally appeared on the Gartner Blog Network.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.