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Expert Voices

The case for the office in the age of remote work

Justworks' office in New York City. Photo: Brian Ferry

Automation, remote work and the budding migration from cities to suburbs are all changing how we define the workplace. These trends have heightened the tensions between what technology enables and what workers most need.

This clash is driving the debate between remote and in-office work. It's now possible to work from anywhere, but doing so risks losing the subtle aspects of face-to-face communication like tone and body language and the culture-strengthening effects of personal conversations. Virtual conferencing brings further limitations, from overbooked rooms to tech snags.

In-office work, on the other hand, can mean high facilities costs and a narrower talent pool, but allows for the most effective collaboration. At Justworks we've made it easier than ever to hire people from around the country, yet have still seen our greatest successes delivered by teams working together in person. I've found that the benefits of quality, collaborative work outweigh the costs, particularly for our sales and marketing groups.

The bottom line: It's up to employers and employees to determine the right balance between newly available technologies and their most important needs. But in many cases, the flexibility of remote work comes at a high a cost to team dynamics and corporate culture.