How can employers re-engage a post-pandemic workforce?

category - strategy
type - features
category - workplace
The pandemic’s disruption of the way we work has established a new set of employee attitudes and expectations shaping the future of work. Joe Portman, senior strategist at The Future Laboratory, presents the key strategic take-outs from our Work States Futures macrotrend to find out how businesses need to respond

We have just launched our latest thinking on the future of work and employment, Work States Futures, which introduced our five Work States framework that has been designed to help businesses facilitate and optimise for the five fundamental working mind states that are key to the future of work.

State 1: Inspiration and Intent
State 2: Collaboration and Culture
State 3: Learning and Leadership
State 4: Focus and Flow
State 5: Rejuvenation and Resilience
The pandemic might be in our rear-view mirror, but in its wake it leaves a significant change in how we live, work and connect. Employers have been left questioning how to meet the demands of workers who have been shaped by the flexibility of remote working.

For 40% of workers, a flexible work schedule is a top motivator for staying in a position (source: McKinsey & Co). And even more damning, 64% of workers around the world say they would think about a new job if they had to go back to the office full-time (source: ADP Research Institute). 
The mismatched expectations of businesses seeking to encourage a return to the office and employees finding greater balance due to remote working are cited as a key motivator when considering one’s future in a position. Another motivation uncovered in our research is the role of purpose and meaning in employees’ lives. 
More than half of workers are questioning the purpose of their jobs and the role that work should play in their lives (source: Gartner). This shift in attitude has left many with ambitions for unobtrusive, low-stress work that pays well, but importantly, allows them to pursue meaning elsewhere in their lives. This contrasts with the career-focused nature of workers in the past and creates a new dynamic for employers when trying to attract talent.

While remote working provides employees with more time to seek meaning in their lives outside of work, it also introduces a set of challenges in how they collaborate with colleagues, both physically and digitally. 

The global team collaboration software market is projected to hit £33.10bn ($40.79bn, €37.10bn) in 2028, increasing at a CAGR of 13.2% during the forecast period, 2022–2028 (source: Fortune Business Insights).

In terms of physical environments, companies are turning to data to design better spaces that serve the functional needs of hybrid teams. Data integration start-up Fivetran’s US headquarters were designed based on employee data. With hybrid workers in mind, the company created spaces for ‘non-daily work’ and ‘onsite offsites’, such as team meetings and community events. The design includes brainstorming areas and lounges that create a motivating buzz of activity even when the office isn’t heavily populated.

Published by:

29 March 2023

Author: Joe Portman

Image: Lyonesse Pictures Office. Design by Kii Inc, Japan


Space10 Library. Photography by Seth Nicolas, Denmark

These concepts are a sample of the drivers behind our Work States framework, which is unpacked in the full report and includes a full set of drivers, framework, case studies and foresight.

Key thought-starters for luxury and hospitality brands and businesses: 

Flexibility facilitation
As people re-evaluate the role of employment, seeing it as a route to unlock meaning in other parts of their lives, once temporary working arrangements have become an essential factor in employee retention. To attract and retain the best talent, companies need to adopt and maintain flexible remote working strategies that cater for the changing role of employment in employees’ lives.

Values alignment
With the flexibility of remote working helping employees find purpose outside of work, companies that could once rely on a workforce to ‘over-deliver’ and ‘go the extra mile’ are now faced with the challenge of driving employee re-engagement. As employees search for meaning in their lives, how can employers use company values to reframe meaning at work?

Spatial design
As hybrid working becomes the new normal, companies must reconsider the role of physical office space in facilitating and complementing the new needs of a phygital workforce. Beyond digital conferencing and connectivity, how can employers use office space to drive collaboration, creativity and re-ignite culture?

Our team of strategists have developed a wide-ranging set of strategic decision-making tools to help provide future-first solutions for our clients. If you would like to discuss how our Redemptive Diets macrotrend could support future planning for your brand, or if you have any questions about embedding our macrotrends into your business, send us a message at We look forward to accelerating into the future with you.

Get our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox


Want to learn more about how you can apply these key implications to your business?

Strategic foresight is the most valuable tool you can adopt to identify and chart a course for future growth and long-term prosperity. Our strategic services employ this future-first approach.

Members of LS:N Global can read more about the strategic implications of the Work States Futures macrotrend as well as new downloadable strategic worksheets.

Discover our strategic services