Can you confirm what version of Survey123 Connect and also what OS version you are using?
If you navigate back to the home screen which has all your surveys (My Survey Designs), and then select the same survey to open it again, do the shortcuts on left hand panel appear?
Further to my previous reply, I have been able to replicate the issue by deleting the xls file out of the survey folder.
In your case I assume you are not doing this, which means something else must be locking or causing the file not to be able to be read by Connect. Are you opening many xls files at same time, possibly having surveys with same name and therefore same xls file name but in different folders.
Once you save the xls file after it automatically opens and then close it, do the icons appear again?
I am using 2.4.6, It seems to come and go. I actually also had an older version installed I didnt realize too. I uninstalled that. It seems to be ok for now. I was leaving another survey form open as I created another (I wanted to reference some pieces) so maybe that also was an issue.
Sounds like the issue is related to having multiple versions of Survey123 installed. Note that Survey123 does not support multiple installations, therefore please ensure you uninstall the old version first before installing the latest version.
You can have multiple Excel workbooks open for different surveys if you want to reference them (no different to opening files via Excel at same time, provided they do not have exact same filename) so that shouldn't impact Survey123.