Whenever I am asked if the office will disappear, I resort to one psychological fact. Human beings are social animals who need physical
contact to thrive.
Consider how important the handshake is upon being introduced in a
business context. Or, how language conveys the importance of physical
presence in idioms such as “let’s get in touch” or “he failed to grasp the
import of my remarks.” One of the findings of a 10-year study by the
MacArthur Foundation is that those who live longest are those who
continually have interactions with people (outside physical/medical
conditions) or meetings with larger organizational groups. 
In the middle of the workday, talking to a real, live person can give us
a surge of energy. “In-person contact stimulates an emotional reaction,”
says Lawrence Honig, a neurologist at Columbia University, adding that
hormones are higher when people are face-to-face. And research studies
indicated that face-to-face contact stimulates the attention and pleasure
neurotransmitter dopamine, as well as serotonin, a neurotransmitter that
reduces fear and worry. People seem to be hard-wired to need other
Edward M. Hallowell, a noted psychiatrist and author of The Human Moment
at Work in the Harvard Business Review relates this story: A CEO in
speaking about his business once said, “high tech requires high touch.”
He explained that every time his company made another part of its operations
virtual—moving salespeople entirely into the field, for instance—
the company’s culture suffered. So he had developed a policy that required
all virtual teams to come into the office at least once a month for
unstructured face time.
“It’s like what happened when banks introduced ATMs,” the CEO said.
“Once people didn’t know Alice behind the counter or any of the lending
agents behind those glass walls…there was no familiarity, no trust.” The
CEO and Hallowell conclude that for a business to do well, you can’t have
tech, without contact—they have to work together. 
Mobile Workers: Social Beings
As a parallel line of thought, the authors of Distributed Work note that communication is more than an exchange of data. Information exchange is indeed a key goal of communication, but by focusing exclusively on information, “we overlook the social processes that scaffold information exchange,” as well as the context that frames it. Conducting interviews with people collaborating across organizational boundaries in 12 companies, workers talked about “the importance of shared bodily activities in facilitating social bonding and showing commitment: touching, eating and drinking together, engaging in mutually meaningful experiences in
a common physical space, and ‘showing up’ in person.” 
After all, what is more engaging? Watching a lecture on-screen or attending a lecture surrounded by people who respond to the speaker with laughter or comments? Perhaps making eye contact with the speaker? How does the physical proximity of the speaker affect the presentation? And how does talking with others over coffee afterwards enrich the experience and perhaps add something to the ideas presented?
Socializing is important as a foundation for collaboration, making a strong case for the office as a site of interaction. Not to be dismissed as inconsequential chats in the hall, socializing creates common bonds and a sense of collective identity and collegiality. In the office, people talk, laugh, listen, show, celebrate, mentor and establish the trust necessary
for productive discussions, cocreating and sharing knowledge in order to reach a goal.