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Hawaii remote workers discover challenges and rewards

For many professionals, Hawaii is like a dream spot for remote work. However, to work from home in Aloha, you need more than a plane ticket and a laptop.

The pandemic has devastated the state’s economy. According to the Hawaii Tourism Board, the number of visitors from August 2019 to August of the following year decreased by 97.6%. Employment in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector, which accounts for one in five jobs, fell by 53% between February and August 2020, according to the Pew Center.

Tourism is on a recovery trend, thanks in part to state initiatives such as pre-arrival coronavirus testing for visitors and marketing campaigns to attract remote workers. The number of visitors in April reached about 500,000, compared to about 4,500 in April 2020.

One program called Moving company and Shakas (Named after the friendly Y-shaped hand gesture, which means “loose” with the thumb and little finger extended), was launched in December with a local business leader. We offer free airfares to remote workers who promise to stay for at least a month and participate in volunteer activities. The program’s 50 spots attracted 90,000 applications. Applications for the second round will begin this month.

Like anywhere else, reliable Wi-Fi is a Lithomas test for many. Some parts of the Hawaiian Islands, especially rural areas, lack robust broadband or cellular infrastructure. Based in the Seattle area, which owns and operates a software development company, 45-year-old Tomasz Janczuk picks three big island hotels where he and his family lived for a month, based on the strength of Wi-Fi. I was surprised.

Tomasyanchuk in Pu’uhonua Ohonau Nau National Historical Park in Honaunau, Hawaii. Janczuk chose a hotel in Hawaii based on the strength of Wi-Fi.


Karolina Janczuk

During an off-road excursion, Janczuk received a call from an employee about the company’s outage. He had to pull and climb over his jeep for enough reception to help troubleshoot the problem. “If you don’t have Wi-Fi, you’ll have to rely on your cell phone, which is pretty uneven,” said Janczuk, who also had a hotspot.

Some workers find that Hawaii’s magnificent environment (which attracted them in the first place) can be distracting. Jasmine Frank, a social media strategist at an advertising agency in Kansas City, Missouri, began working in mid-May from a palm-filled backyard in her aunt’s house in the mountainous city of Mililani on Oahu. Frank, 30, initially said that the first five to ten minutes of the conference call were with a colleague who praised her career. “So, there was a point like,” OK, take this to the corner and make it look like you’re at home. ” ”

Frank got into the habit of packing laptops on a beach trip to handle end-of-day requests from colleagues. “Someone’Oh, can I call you?’You seem to be’of course’when you’re on the beach with a towel or flying by the side of a mountain,” she said. It was.

Frank will return to Kansas City soon, but will return to Hawaii at the end of the summer. Her company will resume work in the office in the fall.

The program, which takes remote workers to Hawaii, has collected 90,000 applications at 50 spots. There are hammocks and laptops on the top, beachside and on Kauai.


Getty Images

For some people, such as Minda Hearts, Hawaii and remotework do not match. After being quarantined in Harlem’s apartment for over a year, 39-year-old workplace equity consultant Hearts told her, “I really need a beach. I need self-care.” She always dreamed of seeing Hawaii, and the pandemic longed for her to trade New York for the series of islands where surfing was born. After receiving his second Covid vaccination in April, Hearts found it easy to move his work setup to Honolulu for a few weeks.

She was wrong. Most client meetings started on the East Coast. I mean, I had to get up at 3am to get ready. (Hawaii, which does not employ daylight savings time, is five to six hours behind Eastern Standard Time.) By late afternoon, she couldn’t do more than look at the view from the balcony and could hit the beach. There were few. “I just kept telling myself,’You’re almost there, you’re almost all day,'” Hearts said. “I was more tired in Hawaii than in New York.” A week later, she returned home 14 days earlier than planned.

Others, such as Mike Panara Jr., a 34-year-old software salesman based in Haddonfield, NJ, have discovered an opportunity in Hawaii, which has the longest life expectancy in the United States.

In March at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Mike Panara Jr. learned to surf while in Hawaii.


Mike Panara Junior

After saving money during the blockade, Panara decided to live and work in Waikiki, a neighborhood in Honolulu, in February and March of this year. His rent in Hawaii was $ 1,400 per month, the same amount he paid in New Jersey. Panara said it wasn’t a problem to get up early in the morning to keep up with her colleagues returning home. Because it gave him time to explore the land and learn to surf. In June, he cleaned up his apartment and signed a 10-month lease for the location in Honolulu. He will be an official resident of Hawaii by the end of the month.

Earlier, he said, “We lived for work.” “Every day is surrounded by work. After work, I wear Netflix, take a short walk and wait for the next day. In Hawaii, we worked to live.”

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Hawaii remote workers discover challenges and rewards

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