Posted on April 29, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

HONOLULU – According to a report released today by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) of Hawaiian Businesses and Employees, approximately 198,224 (42.4%) salaried employees in the private sector were working remotely as of August 31. 2021, including 20,636 working from out of state.

The report is based on the results of two different surveys conducted by DBEDT with the assistance of the Hawaiian research firm Anthology Research, between September 2021 and January 2022, on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workplace practices. distance, experiences and plans from the point of view of the employer and the employee. The Hawaiian Employer Survey received a total of 1,661 responses from private businesses based in Hawaii and the Hawaiian Civilian Labor Force Survey received a total of 5,451 responses from salaried employees in the private sector, independent contractors, state and county government employees, and federal civilian employees.

The report was funded by an endowment from the general fund to the DBEDT by the 2020 legislature.

The main findings of the report are summarized below. See the full report HERE.

Hawaiian Employer Survey

15.3% of Hawaiian companies already had a long-term remote work policy in place before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, while an additional 23.4% of companies implemented a policy due to the pandemic. The percentage of companies continuing to offer remote work as an option to their employees as of August 31, 2021 has been reduced to 32.2%, compared to 38.7% of those companies with a remote work policy in place at a given time since the start of the pandemic in March. 2020. 56.7% of companies surveyed did not offer remote work because the work could not be done remotely.

Companies in Honolulu County were the most likely to have a remote work policy at some point since March 2020 (44.2%), compared to Maui County (29.0%), County of Hawaii (28.8%) and Kaua’i County (25.5%).

Industries with the highest incidence of companies with remote workers included scientific and technical professional services (75.7%), finance and insurance (75.5%) and information (62.8%). ).

Among companies that offered remote work, 51.2% made financial investments primarily in hardware for use by employees (89.3% of those with financial investments), new communication/collaboration software (82.2%) and increased network security measures (60.9%).

A large majority of private Hawaiian employers reported positive (30.5%) or neutral (49.8%) experiences with remote work compared to working from an office, citing long-term benefits for employee satisfaction, reduced operational costs and incentives to recruit and retain talent, including off-island talent. The top concerns raised by companies included the difficulty of collaboration and teamwork, monitoring and supervision of remote workers, maintaining security and compliance for remote workers, technical challenges due to unreliable internet connectivity and difficulty maintaining corporate culture.

Despite these concerns, 65.7% of private Hawaiian companies that offered remote work indicated their intention to continue doing so after the pandemic. 22.9% said they were undecided, while the remaining 11.3% ruled out remote work altogether. Among companies that intend to pursue a remote work policy, 24.2% anticipate a reduction in office space as they adapt to a future remote work environment.

Among all private employers surveyed, the top recommendation to better facilitate remote working in the state was improved broadband infrastructure (43.2%), followed by greater awareness of best practices for offer remote work opportunities to employees (41.0%). 32% of respondents said nothing would make remote working easier, while 19.9% ​​thought an increase in remote work centers/coworking places would.

Hawaii Civilian Labor Force Survey

59.6% of the Hawaiian civilian workforce ages 18 and older worked remotely at some point between the start of the pandemic and August 31, 2021. Of these, 83.7% did so in direct consequence of their employer’s response to the pandemic. Additionally, 23.6% said they worked exclusively remotely, while 23.4% said they worked on a hybrid basis, at the time of the survey. The remaining 53% of the adult civilian population working remotely in Hawaii had returned to the office exclusively at the time of the survey.

Professions with the highest incidence of telecommuters at the time of the survey included IT and math (71.1%), arts, design, entertainment, sports and media (69.5%), community and social services (67.5%), law (65.9%) and architecture and engineering (65.2%). Those who were either self-employed or non-profit employees in the private sector were the most likely to work remotely at the time of the survey (52.7% and 52.1%, respectively), compared to government state (48.0%), private for-profit (46.9%), federal government (44.2%) and county government (34.6%).

Those who have experienced working remotely reported high satisfaction ratings (90.9% somewhat or very satisfied overall) and a preference for working remotely over the office (79.6% somewhat or strongly agree), citing advantages such as not having to travel, flexible working hours and the freedom to live anywhere. Many also cited concerns about working remotely, such as missing out on the social and networking aspects of being in the office and being at a disadvantage for promotions or advancements.

60.6% of women said they had worked remotely at some point since the start of the pandemic, compared to 57.9% of men. People earning more than $50,000 in annual income were the most likely to have worked remotely (66.2% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 and 76.4% of those earning more than $100,000 , compared to 45.1% of those earning less than $50,000). Workers with a bachelor’s or graduate degree also tend to work remotely (72.2%) compared to those without a bachelor’s degree (48.2%).

While more than 90% of remote workers were satisfied with their experience, only 43.5% expect their employers to allow them to work remotely, either fully or partially.

Similar to employers, the top recommendation among all civilian respondents working to better facilitate remote working in the state was improving broadband infrastructure (65.3%), 27.7% of remote workers indicating that their home internet was too unstable to work remotely from home. Respondents indicated that greater awareness of best practices for providing remote work opportunities to employees (47.9%) and an increase in remote work centers/coworking locations (36.9%) would also support more remote work.

Statement from DBEDT Director Mike McCartney

The data collected from this study provides insight into Hawaii’s changing economic landscape that employers and employees are facing in large part as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What we learned was that certain industries were naturally more resilient and able to minimize the impacts of the pandemic due to the nature of the work. Companies that have invested in their digital infrastructure may be able to reap the benefits beyond the pandemic, from the ability to continue to offer remote working as an incentive for employees to access expanded markets through platforms. for the export of products and services.

As we continue to learn to live with the COVID-19 virus, our economic recovery will especially accelerate over the next few months, thanks in large part to the return of tourism. We hope that the results of this study will help facilitate a constructive dialogue between Hawaiian companies and their employees to determine their future working arrangements.

Insights from this study also point to Hawaii’s growth opportunities, as well as gaps and challenges, as the global economy shifts to the digital economy. While remote work is not, in and of itself, an industry that can be developed to advance the economic prosperity of the state and its people, its study has informed DBEDT’s strategy moving forward to develop a holistic, relevant and globally competitive economy.

This study was made possible by dedicated Legislature 2020 Economic Resilience funding. DBEDT will continue to study and conduct demonstration projects in accordance with its statute on topics such as remote working, which can refine economic development programs to strengthen Hawaii’s participation in the global digital economy and, in doing so, support a more diverse and resilient economy. economy. DBEDT remains committed to working with the legislature, counties, businesses, investors, labor organizations and communities to adjust its strategy to steer Hawaii’s economy toward sustainable economic prosperity for all.

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About the Department for Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade benefits. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaiian economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunity for all Hawaiian citizens. Through its attached agencies, the ministry promotes planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing in high-quality living environments, and promotes job growth in the employment sector. innovation.

Media Contact:

Dr Eugene Tian

Economic Research and Analysis Division

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
(808) 586-2470

[email protected]

Charlene Chan

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
(808) 824-0134

[email protected]


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