HONOLULU – software developer Raymond Berger starts his working day at 5 a.m. before the sun rises over Hawaii.
Getting up early is necessary because the company he works for is in New York City, five hours from Maui, where he rents a house with a garden near the beach.
“With the time zone difference, it’s a little difficult,” he said, living in Hawaii and working in New York. “But in general I have a much better quality of life.”
The pandemic gives many workers the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere. Now that Hawaii’s economy has been hit by dramatically fewer tourists, a group of state officials and community leaders want more people like Berger to offer an alternative to dependence on short-term visitors.
At the same time as the upcoming winter in other parts of the USA, “Movers & Shakas” – a reference to the Hawaiian term for the “Hang Loose” hand gesture – started on Sunday as a campaign to encourage former residents and people from other countries to start a business gain remote offices with a view.
They extol Hawaii’s paradisiacal and safety features: Among the lowest per capita rates of COVID-19 infection in the country.
The first 50 applicants approved starting Sunday will receive a free round-trip air ticket to Honolulu. Applicants are committed to respecting Hawaii’s culture and natural resources, and participants are required to dedicate several hours per week to helping a local nonprofit.
It didn’t take much for Abbey Tizzano to leave her Austin, Texas apartment and join four Silicon Valley friends in a rented house in Kahala, Honolulu’s version of Beverly Hills.
While working in the account management department of a software company, she keeps the hours in the central time zone so she can finish the work day early enough to go on long hikes along the ridge or a five-minute walk to the beach.
“It’s like I’m living two lives right now. There’s the company page for … the early hours of the morning, ”said Tizzano. “And then there’s just like the Hawaiian lifestyle after I’m home from work around noon or 1pm.”