How to Win in Business

6 ways work is changing and 6 skills that will help you succeed

Five job trends to watch out for in 2017

Technology is rapidly changing the way humans work.

Tech icon Elon Musk says that robots will replace so many human jobs that the government will have to pay a basic living wage. At the same time, most Americans aren't worried that robots will replace their job — robots, they believe, will only replace other people's jobs.

Even if your job won't be replaced by a robot anytime soon, it's better to know what's coming than to be caught unaware. Here are six trends you can expect to see in offices of the future and six skills you should focus on developing to be successful.


1. "Smart drugs"

Nootropics, or "smart drugs," will become mainstream in 2017 because "the robots are edging us out," says futurist Faith Popcorn, the founder and CEO of the consultancy Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve. "When you come to work you have to be enhanced, you have to be on the edge, you have to be able to work longer and harder.

"You have to be able to become more important to your company."

Photo by Xinhua News Agency

2. Side hustles

People "need more money than they are being paid," says Popcorn. And they don't trust their employers. "People are saying, 'I want to have two or three hooks in the water. I don't want to devote myself to one company.'"

3. Constant professional reinvention

"Millennials will switch careers a dozen times or more in their career, so they will need to reinvent themselves constantly," says SC Moatti, a technology visionary, venture capital investor, and bestselling author. "They will need to exert their creativity to line up interesting opportunity on an ongoing basis."

4. Fewer perks

To lure top talent, Silicon Valley offers free meals, dog-friendly offices, video games, on site yoga classes and unlimited vacation. But employers will probably pull back. "When you look at the data of what keeps employees satisfied long term, it is always the core, traditional benefits," says Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, the chief economist of job marketplace Glassdoor.

Core, traditional perks include retirement benefits, great health insurance and a paid time off policy. "That hasn't really changed at all," he says.

5. No work-life balance

"People are going to be working 24 hours a day," says Popcorn. Technology has enabled global, constant communication. The WeLive spaces that WeWork launched are indicative of this trend towards work and life integration, she says. "There is no line between work and play."

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6. More crying

"The female entry into the workplace has brought emotional intelligence into the workplace and that comes with emotion," says Popcorn. "There is a lot of anxiety about the future, there is a lot of stress-related burnout and we are seeing more emotion being displayed in the workplace."


1. The ability to see a situation from many angles

"In the future, he or she who can hold multiple perspectives consistently will be able to navigate and thrive," says Cheryl Cran, a leadership and management coach and author of "The Art of Change Leadership: Driving Transformation In a Fast Paced World."

2. Curiosity

"Curiosity helps someone stay in a place of openness, which allows the brain to go beyond its own mental models and be able to see things differently," says Laura Garnett, a management consultant who works with the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies and startups alike.

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3. Communication

"Master communicators have solid listening skills, the ability to tune into a person with focus and the ability to articulate clearly while being both candid and caring," says Cran. "As technology continues to infiltrate how we work, our human interaction skills need to be 'upgraded.'"

4. People skills

More than ever before, it's who you know, not what you know. "Switching jobs and companies is becoming the norm. What's left is people and relationships," says Moatti. "Successful careers will be built on the ability to build trust, which comes by demonstrating loyalty over long periods of time."

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5. Flexibility

"Being able to ride the wave ... really, it's very similar to riding a wave on a surfboard: You got to balance, you have got to be okay with the ups and the downs, and you have to figure out how to stay standing," says Jody Greenstone Miller, the co-founder and CEO of Business Talent Group, an independent consultant and executive marketplace for project-based work.

"I think that set of skills is more what I would call internal skills that you need to keep yourself moving forward and not freaking out."

6. The ability to play well with others

"Learning how to treat everyone like a work colleague and not differentiate based on any of these other external factors I think is a very important new skill to have," says Miller. "It's collaboration, but it's collaboration plus."

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