Many New Jersey companies are still allowing employees to work part-time from home, but they do want at least some face-to-face contact to take place in the office.

Tom Bracken, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, believes Zoom meetings can sometimes be appropriate but there is a hunger for face-to-face interactions in the business community.

“I have been to more in-person events, parties, meetings in the last month than I can remember being squeezed into any one month in many, many years," he said.

It's important

He said across the Garden State, many business people understand the value of face-to-face interactions, and from what he’s heard and seen “the meetings have been well populated, people are very anxious to be meeting with each other and talking with each other.”

Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said “being in a room with decision makers, where you can feel energy, where you can see body language that you can’t see in one dimension continues to be important.”

co-workers in office
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She pointed out that company managers and bosses are looking at “when is the right time to have an efficiency, a Zoom or one-dimensional meeting, and what is the right time to show up in person, because it is that exact transaction or relationship that requires it to be in person.”

Younger workers like virtual

Siekerka said workers in their 20s and 30s may be perfectly happy sticking with Zoom or Teams because “they don’t know anything else and they were brought up functioning in it, however other generations know the importance of being in a room with someone, shaking a hand, the sidebar discussion.”

Bracken agreed many younger workers are accustomed to conducting business transactions online but he stressed having them involved in more face-to-face meetings “will change the attitude from I only want to have a Zoom meeting versus I now see the importance of in-person meetings.”

Bracken also pointed out that having employees back in the office at least some of the time is also beneficial to many nearby mom-and-pop businesses because workers will do some shopping or go out to eat during their lunch hours and support those businesses.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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