In this new era of remote work and physical distancing, large group, in-person professional networking events have been put on hold. The same is true for in-person, internal, in-company interactions that foster the development of meaningful connections and relationships. While some people are desperately pining away for the return of happy hours, coffee breaks, and professional conferences, many others are relieved that they are no longer pressured to network. In fact, it’s fair to say that many hate instrumental networking — they are uncomfortable with its seemingly self-promoting, transactional nature, and research finds that some people quite literally find it icky. In remote work situations, where people cannot rely on impromptu elevator conversations or water cooler chats with coworkers, the answer isn’t to turn inward. In fact, the need for networking is even more important. During challenging economic times, both external and internal networking can provide energizing social connections, firm and industry insight, personal affirmation, social support, and access to career opportunities. In particular, our interactions with people whose backgrounds and perspectives differ from our own helps us to become smarter, more creative, and better equipped to solve difficult problems. Read more at Harvard Business Review.