Working Remotely in Hawaii Sounds Enchanting, But There Are Unique Challenges

"Photo of a young woman sitting on a remote Hawaiian beach with a laptop, typing.
jhorrocks / Getty Images/iStockphoto

When a vast majority of the white-collar work force went remote last year, life changed in ways many people wouldn’t imagine. Employers found that remote workers can be productive, connected and engaged. Employees discovered they could work from virtually anywhere. And, now that the pandemic is winding down, many employees are taking the opportunity to do just that.

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Working remotely in a tropical paradise like Hawaii may seem like a dream to those fleeing bigger cities or suburbs, but workers are discovering some challenges they hadn’t considered, including spotty WiFi, time zone differences and distractions stemming from what attracted them to the islands in the first place — gorgeous beaches and a leisurely lifestyle, the Wall Street Journal reported.

People who are considering remote work in Hawaii should choose their location based on the strength of the broadband network available in the area. Rural regions may not have reliable WiFi. These same places may also lack cellular infrastructure, which means workers may not be able to rely on a mobile hotspot to tether their laptop to their smartphone, either.

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If you plan to work from the beach — or even your own backyard — you might face another challenge. Jasmyn Franks, a social media strategist for a firm in Kansas City, Missouri, found her Oahu backyard oasis to be the focus of the first 10 minutes of conference calls with her Midwest-based co-workers, which turned out to be more of a distraction than a benefit.

For many remote workers in Hawaii, time zone differences make it hard to balance work and still enjoy the beach life that drew them to the Islands. East coast meetings have early start times for Islanders, leaving many too exhausted to enjoy their surroundings after a long workday that may begin as early as 3 a.m.

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The Hawaiian Islands are doing what they can to attract remote workers to the state, where the local economy, largely driven by tourism, has been suffering since the pandemic. The Movers and Shakas program, for instance, provides free airfare to remote workers willing to stay at least one month and, during their trip, also participate in volunteer activities for local nonprofits and start-ups. Workers will also participate in group community building activities such as clean-up days, as well as networking events.

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Hawaii can represent a diverse change-of-pace for remote workers from the mainland, but you probably won’t have as much time to enjoy the beauty of the region as you would on a long vacation. If you’re considering a move, you can make it work with the right preparation and perspective.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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