These are not hypotheticals - there have been numerous points in my career, ranging from being a sole technical cofounder to working in a 50K+ employee company, where a chance meeting has saved me weeks-to-months of implementation effort. And in each of those cases, the solution they suggested was not something I would've thought to look for on my own, because my starting assumption was that it needed code to solve. And similarly, it probably would not have been spotted until the feature was done and the time spent, because usually your coworkers' assumption when you embark on writing a solution is that the solution is necessary.
These behaviors are simply not constrained by the environment, not anymore.
I've seen many examples that exactly the same problem as you've written happens even in co-located team, so it's a problem of lack of communication, not of being co-located (or not).