As a service tech these kind of discussions are always fascinating for me.
I am in a weird kind of place where a lot of the downsides of remote work apply to me (invisible to management) yet because my house isn't a big ol' warehouse I still have to go into the office so none of the upsides of remote work apply. That can be a tricky to navigate and the previous head tech was not successful at navigating the issues, so far I have had more success but still limited.
A big part of my increased level of success is how I have embraced communications tech, nothing fancy but I have slack installed on my phone, am quick to respond to texts or emails and unless I am driving or have my hands full will answer phone calls, if I am then I return the call as soon as I can. The previous head tech hated technology calling him on his flip phone which he refused to upgrade was the only way to get him in the field.
To answer your question Lamplighter we will frequently have side chats share memes and generally keep up a running commentary we even have "office" politics where there are group texts that will leave out one or two people. It's not uncommon for someone to have an issue or make a comment on one of those threads which will ultimately lead to a solution or change to how things are done much like your coffee pot conversations.
If companies are serious about keeping their corporate culture in the age of remote work look to any successful company with a fleet of field service guys. They probably licked the problem back in the day when a Nextel was high tech.