The 5 things you need to know about working remotely from Hawaii

Are you a tech worker who’s been recently forced to work remotely — possibly forever — and now you’re “stuck” in a city that’s too expensive and no longer fun?

If so, you’re not alone. Many techies are itching to migrate to warmer and more relaxing places…like Hawaii.

For many years, I’ve been one of the rare and blessed people to have my work based in Silicon Valley while still living in my home state of Hawaii.

Here are a few of my tips for making the best of your time here:

Be kind, be authentic, be generous

Hawaii’s culture is warm and communal, but it’s also complex and hard to understand if you haven’t spent considerable time here. Many people who move to Hawaii end up moving away because they don’t feel like they fit in.

To help with this, I’ve written about how to move to Hawaii here and here. But if I could offer some universal advice, I’d say:

  • Be kind: follow the golden rule
  • Be authentic: no need to change who you are to try to fit in, just be yourself
  • Be generous: share what you have or what you know. Many resources are scarce in Hawaii and a little giving goes a long way

Hawaii’s cost of living is high, but doable

If you’re coming from a place like New York or San Francisco, paying big bucks for living costs is nothing new.

Hawaii has sticker shock, too — but it’s a little different here. Housing is expensive, but nowhere near what you’ll pay in San Francisco.

Where you really get hit is at the grocery store — it can be up to triple the price! But then again, you get year-round access to fresh grown fruits and veggies at local farmers markets.

You are 100% guaranteed to become healthier

No matter how many hours you spend on the Mainland staying in shape — whether it’s run, bike, hike, cross train, F45, lift weights, whatever — you will feel 3x healthier doing the same activities — and more — in Hawaii.

Want to know why? It’s simple: in Hawaii, you move your body more, you sweat more, you spend more time outdoors, there’s more sun and the ocean has a magical way of cleansing out toxins.

You net more results with less effort.

Learn to balance work with life

When I’ve lived and worked in San Francisco, I noticed many people struggling with this thing called “work-life balance,” which basically means, “I work too much and don’t have a life.”

Hawaii has the opposite problem. The “life” part can be so enjoyable here that the “work” part tends to lose its priority and appeal (try this out on a perfect beach day in December…I would know).

Getting too comfortable in Hawaii is inevitable. Just make sure your work gets done. Deal?

The time difference can be a blessing

We don’t observe Daylight Savings Time here in Hawaii, which means it’s either 2 or 3 hours behind the West Coast depending on the time of year.

This is great news if your work is based on the West Coast. For some reason, the day seems to start earlier here in Hawaii — we wake up with the sun, go to work earlier, get off earlier, etc. I used to start my days at 6am and be done at 2pm. Not bad!

If your job is based in the Central or Eastern time zones, you’ll have to either be a really early riser, or make alternate arrangements.

In either case, you’ll live.

Image credits: Kalen Emsley, Icons8 Team, Fiona Smallwood, Fiona Smallwood, varintsai, blakta2, Muhammad Taha Khan, aliarda, Vivek Kumar


A hui hou

There is no word for goodbye in Hawaiian. Instead, we say a hui hou which means “until we meet again.” When all of this passes, we will continue to provide our same warm hospitality, aloha and commitment to your comfort and happiness. Contact us anytime at or (808) 240-1311. A hui hou!

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.