When times changed, and indoor workplaces no longer could function as they had before the pandemic, some companies adjusted seamlessly.
At least, that's how it might look from the outside.
Employees at FCCI Insurance Group, who might have socialized over cocktails after work, now conduct virtual happy hours.
"In all our regions and locations, we are connecting all of our teammates to be social in a good way, so that we're not just talking about business," said Lisa Krouse, executive vice president of FCCI's Sarasota office.
They conduct face-to-face meetings at an appropriate distance, but make a point of checking with the other party first to learn their attitudes and cautionary steps so as not to offend them, Krouse said.
The transition has been far from smooth in businesses far and wide, sometimes for different reasons.
Just beneath the surface at FCCI, the disruptions appear to be less dire but equally real as COVID-19 cases are multiplying in Florida.
"It's been a learning experience for us," Krouse said. "COVID has forced families who have college kids at home, school-aged children at home, and perhaps working spouses at home all together sharing a computer. So I think the challenge has been to transition ourselves to this place, which is now one of uncertainty."
Darlene Brown has seen many workers discouraged by either not having the devices to communicate with employers over the internet or the skills to do so.
"They don't want to say, 'I can't do it.' They've been there for so many years," said Brown, the chief executive officer of the Multicultural Health Institute in Newtown.
People working remotely without the internet feel like they're on thin ice, and Brown hasn't seen employers trying to help them.
"They've got mouths to feed," Brown said.
The clients of Sarasota criminal lawyer Lucas Fleming are dealing with so much stress, some can't cope with communicating on Zoom or similar technologies.
"They have cellphones that have a FaceTime option to it," Fleming said. "But they'd rather talk on the phone."
Heather Kasten, the chief executive officer of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, said the pandemic and sudden adjustments have brought out the best in companies.
"I think it's there's a silver lining, it's the companies have really had to come up with solutions really immediately. I think, before COVID, it was like, 'Well, let's see, we'll talk about plans and what the future looks like.' Now they have to come up with solutions, think outside the box and still connect with customers."
This story comes from Aspirations Journalism, an initiative of The Patterson Foundation and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to inform, inspire and engage the community to take action on issues related to digital access.