Rising early is necessary because the company he works for is in New York City, five hours ahead of Maui, where he is renting a home with a backyard that’s near the beach.
“It’s a little hard with the time zone difference,” he said. “But generally I have a much better quality of life.”
The pandemic is giving many workers the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere. Now that Hawaii’s economy is reeling from dramatically fewer tourists, a group of state officials and community leaders wants more people like Berger to help provide an alternative to relying on short-term visitors.
Coinciding with the approach of winter in other parts of the U.S., “Movers & Shakas” — a reference to the Hawaii term for the “hang loose” hand gesture — launches as a campaign to attract former residents and those from elsewhere to set up remote offices with a view. They’re touting Hawaii’s paradisiacal and safety attributes: among the lowest rates per capita of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The first 50 applicants approved starting this week receive a free, roundtrip ticket to Honolulu. Applicants pledge to respect Hawaii’s culture and natural resources and participants must commit several hours a week to helping a local nonprofit.
It didn’t take much to convince Abbey Tizzano to leave behind her Austin, Texas, apartment to join four Silicon Valley friends in a rented house in Kahala, Honolulu’s version of Beverly Hills.
She had never been to Hawaii before. She booked a one-way ticket, arrived in September and quarantined for 14 days, complying with the state’s rules at the time for arriving travelers. She’s keeping Central time zone hours while working in account management for a software company, allowing her to end the work day early enough to enjoy long hikes along mountain ridges or walk five minutes to the beach.
“It’s like I live two lives right now. There’s the corporate side for ... the early mornings,” Tizzano said. “And then there’s just like the Hawaii lifestyle after I get off work around noon or 1 p.m.”
Neighbors tell the remote workers they’re a welcome change from the bachelor and bachelorette parties the luxury home normally hosts, she said.
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