Well actually, no we don’t not without some reason to do so.
Been through the cycle of debate with the family recently about business travel …. I’m in the oil, gas & energy business, I travel a lot, air-travel is very energy intensive, the global energy business is approaching crises in consumption and supply security, why do I travel when there are so many means of remote communication, why is working from home not the same as going into the office, etc ….
Day to day workplace communications are of course largely social; probably less than 20% is actually (directly) business related, but that 20% is close to useless without the relationships established by the 80% social interaction. Once relationships are established, then of course, the value of the remote communications increases, but the social loss remains real.
With business relationships, the situation is even more acute. Without prior day to day social interaction with your human supplier / customer, a contract to supply complex goods and services, one which relies on exchange of information during the supply process, has almost no chance of being viable without face-to-face establishment of understanding and trust. (Interesting documentary on a new Silicon Valley boom last night, where new business prospectuses are traded with venture capitalists, none of which could happen without face to face meetings at Buck’s Coffee Shop.)
Mark Federman answers the question here “Is Information Really Power“. Well of course, not without trust. The downside, the hygiene factor is real, lack of information can represent a lack of power, but the upside is not so clear cut. The value of any information needs trust in its credibility, the quality of content or intent or both. This is also my agenda – how can information content be treated as objectively meaningful without trust in the less objective / more subjective quality of communication intent.