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Sarah Green Carmichael

What’s the Point of the Office Again?

The workplace offers the opportunity for social display, not improved productivity.

Face-to-face collaboration has value, but it isn’t necessarily more efficient.

Face-to-face collaboration has value, but it isn’t necessarily more efficient.

Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with managers and employees about returning to the workplace. Behind every person’s individual concern is one overarching, almost philosophical conundrum: What’s the point of the office?

“That’s the right question,” says Alexandra Samuel, co-author of “Remote, Inc.” “And any organization that isn’t asking that question is going to run into trouble because every employee’s thinking it.”