3 workplace trends will dominate the future

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Smart Office: 3 Future Workplace Trends

The workplace is changing--rapidly. By staying ahead of these trends, you can make sure your business remains the leader of the pack.

While the "future of work" may feel like a phrase related to a far more advanced or revolutionary description of the modern workplace, the reality is that workers (and leading companies) already are embracing the futuristic trends shaping the way we think about work.

The momentum surrounding the rapidly changing workforce suggests business leaders have to start thinking now about how they will scale and respond to these trends to continue attracting and retaining the right talent. And this is absolutely true.

Here are three trends that are sure to shape your future workplace--if they haven't started to already.

1. Extremely Flexible Work Arrangements

The rise of technology and flexible work through the on-demand economy is putting pressure on companies to offer more appealing options when it comes to flexibility. That's why many companies have baked flexibility into their culture and policies.

At Dell, for example, 25 percent of employees work from home on a regular basis, and the company is aiming for 50 percent to work remotely by 2020. For the high-tech startup Treehouse, the normal workweek is Monday through Thursday--even the CEO only works four days a week.

While your business may not be equipped to offer such extreme versions of flexible work, understanding what the future of flexibility could look like can help you start thinking about how flexibility fits into your business.

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1. More vacation time 

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2. Flex time (ability to work from home and at different hours)

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3. A better official title for your position 

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4. Commuting reimbursement 

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5. A severance package

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6. Designated office space

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7. Continued education tuition reimbursement

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2. Required Tech Skills for Roles Not Traditionally Related to Tech

Technology is at the heart of any rapidly changing business or industry. This is why software skills, or even just software experience, has become a key requirement for roles in nearly every industry.

Even jobs previously seen as relatively low skill or entry level often require specialized software experience. For companies thinking about the future of their recruiting programs, it means candidates with the right combination of skills will become increasingly hard to find and recruiting teams will need creative strategies to attract them.

3. Disappearing and Emerging Jobs

While many types of jobs have disappeared and others are endangered by automation, the future of work will include a slew of new technology-related roles and skill sets. Research may suggest that nearly half of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing due to automation, but this should inspire business leaders to think about what will come next.

The Internet of Things is the most recent example of the new types of roles needed to create the technology that is driving connectedness and creating massive amounts of data. Right now it's looking like virtual reality and 5G are gaining momentum, but when and how you respond to these technology developments depends on where you see them falling into your future of work.

No one can deny the workplace is changing, but keeping ahead of these trends can help position your company for success tomorrow and beyond.

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Snake milkers extract venom from some of the world's most dangerous snakes, like rattlesnakes and cobras. The extracted venom is often used to create antivenom for hospital or laboratory use, and can be sold for up to $1,000 per gram.

Source: Kentucky Reptile Zoo 

Photo: Getty

Professional bridesmaids are there to assist brides on their big day. Jen Glantz, the cofounder of Bridesmaid for Hire, a company that offers 'undercover bridesmaid' and personal assistant-type services to brides and their wedding parties, charges anywhere from $300 to $2,000 per wedding.

Source: Business Insider

Photo: Getty

Iceberg mover became a profession after the disastrous sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The International Ice Patrol (IIP), which was founded a year later, is operated by the US Coast Guard. It tracks the location of icebergs and provides safe routes around them. If necessary, the iceberg will be towed out of the area.

Source: The US Department of Homeland Security 

Photo: Getty

Professional mourners attend funerals and grieve for the deceased. A company in England called Rent A Mourner specializes in the industry, offering mourners for two hours for roughly $70.

Sources: RentaMourner.co.uk and Business Insider 

Photo: RubberBall Productions

Dog surfing instructors, who you can find at certain ocean resorts, are people you pay to teach you and your dog to surf. Some locations even offer classes strictly for dogs.

Source: AnimalCenter.org

Photo: Getty

Professional mermaids can make a decent amount of money performing at parties and teaching others how to "swim like a mermaid." They typically charge $300 per hour at birthday parties. But becoming a licensed mermaid and learning how to start your own mermaid business is pricey. Montreal-based company Aqua Mermaid charges entrepreneurs $3,800 for a 5-day training course.

Source: ca.aquamermaid.com

Photo: Getty

Face feelers, also known as 'sensory scientists,' are trained to use their hands and judge the effectiveness of products like lotions, facial cleansers, and razors. Face feelers work part-time, but they can earn up to $25 per hour.

Source: ABC News

Photo: Getty

Professional cuddlers charge up to $80 an hour to snuggle with strangers. The downside: This work comes with its share of emotional burdens, says Portland-based cuddler Samantha Hess.

Source: Business Insider

Photo: Getty

Professional TV watcher is a real job — but it's not necessarily as easy as it sounds. According to an Investopedia.com article, pro TV watchers 'usually scan through different shows and news clips, and find the right clips that can be used on a television show or news program.' The article also says when Jimmy Kimmel was looking for a TV watcher back in 2005, his show was offering pay of $500 to $600 per week.

Source: Investopedia.com

Photo: Getty

Ash portrait artists get creative with the remains of our loved ones. Following cremation, some people choose to hire these artists to create a token of remembrance, like a necklace or glass sculpture.

Source: ArtFromAshes.com

Photo: Getty

Breath odor evaluators typically work for companies that produce gum, mints, toothpaste, or mouthwash. They evaluate the effectiveness of these products and offer feedback to the manufacturers.

Source: EveryWayToMakeMoney.com

Photo: Shutterstock

Dog food tasters (human ones) are hired by pet food companies to test the quality of their products. They also evaluate the nutritional value, and usually spit out the food once they taste it.

Source: InsideJobs.com

Photo: Getty

Chicken sexers determine the sex of a chick, relying heavily on intuition. Usually hired by commercial hatcheries, these professionals (who are more common in the UK and Japan) make up to $60,000 a year.

Sources: NBC News and Business Insider

Photo: River seal/Flickr

Professional line-standers do one thing most of us have no patience for: wait in line. These professionals are especially busy during big sales (think Black Friday) and product launches (new iPhone releases, for example). Rates vary, but one professional line-stander told Business Insider he earns up to $1,000 a week.

Source: Business Insider 

Photo: Getty

Fortune cookie writer is a real job, done by real people. Fortune cookie manufacturers usually hire freelancers or in-house writers to come up with inspiring or witty fortunes. EHow.com estimates that these professionals earn around $40,000 a year.

Source: eHow.com

Photo: Julie Thurston

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