For some, working from home is the ‘new normal’ — and the workforce is embracing it
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For more than a decade, Shauna Pantohan would make the hours-long commute to her Bank of Hawaii office downtown.
She says the pandemic was a blessing in disguise.
“I could roll out of bed and have stretchy pants on the bottom and then a nice top bottom top,” Pantohan said.
Bank of Hawaii is just one of many companies leaning more towards letting their employees work from home.
According to a recent survey, 34% of business leaders and employees reported that they are doing more remote work compared to before the pandemic.
Pantohan says that her flexible schedule allows her to go into the office twice a week, which she said gives her the social fulfillment that she needs to feel a part of the company.
Jim Polk, Bank of Hawaii Vice Chair and Chief Banking Officer, says that prior to the pandemic, the company had about 1,200 employees in their downtown tower location.
Now, they only have about 400 employees – with most of them working from home or in a hybrid shift style.
He says the option for much of their employees to have a hybrid schedule won’t end anytime soon.
“There’s the benefit that accrues to our employees who can work remote like that, that’s an attractive perk for hiring and retaining talent,” Polk said.
Scott Murakami, the economic development coordinator at the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, says the finance, tech, science, insurance, real estate and education industries are most likely to keep up remote work.
“But what the data from our survey suggested is on the employee side, about, I think it was about 90% of the respondents really felt that, that they enjoyed the working remotely,” Murakami said.
He says there are also mainland workers who have been able to move to Hawaii because of their remote mainland job.
Flexible schedules, dueled with Hawaii’s pristine beauty, has attracted digital creators such as Joanna Hope Lai.
Hope Lai says she moved here while remote working at a mainland tech company, but has since switched to owning her own business.
“What I like about working from home and working remotely is you can control your own schedule, and you have more agency,” Hope Lai said.
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