Some People Worked From Home During Covid. These People Moved to a Tropical Island.

“If you’re working from home, why not try working from paradise instead?”

That’s the question posed by the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba on its One Happy Workation website, which tempts the lockdown-weary with such idyllic scenes as a barefoot guy in shorts, shirt and tie sitting at a desk under a thatched umbrella surrounded by white sand and turquoise waters.

Throughout the darkest days of the pandemic—when much of the world remained trapped at home—resorts in Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Maldives and other islands sought to attract visitors for extended stays with “Work From Paradise” marketing campaigns, showing beach scenes from a parallel universe.

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Some islands, hit hard by the plunge in tourism, went even further, offering new “digital nomad visas” for visitors to work remotely for up to a year or more, much longer than typical tourist visas, in places like Barbados, Bermuda and Anguilla. (Most of these visas require a hefty fee plus proof of income or a healthy bank account.)

But how many people actually flew to remote islands and worked from thatched huts in the midst of the pandemic? And as the world starts to open back up, are they returning to their offices—or are they staying in paradise? How do bosses react when they figure out the Bora Bora background in a Zoom call is real?

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