Best cities for remote workers 2021: Here are the top 100 destinations for remote workers
If there is one lesson we learned from this pandemic, it is that remote work is critical to the existence of any business. The pandemic has now accelerated the future of remote work. Before the pandemic began in February 2020, only about 2 percent of the U.S. workforce was working remotely, by May 2020, that number had jumped to close to 70 percent.
In a connected world, you can take your work with you wherever you go. No longer confined to the office, the benefits of remote work are starting to be fully realized. For businesses, it can not only reduce costs by eliminating expensive office expenditure whilst allowing you to stay in touch online. It can also lead to more productive staff.
For employees, it provides us with the flexibility to fit work around our busy lives. With the option to work wherever we chose, employees can head to a local café, stay at home, or take advantage of fast business broadband in the office. It’s a growing trend that offers a necessary helping hand when trying to meet the demands of modern life.
Remote work means working from anywhere, not just working from home. But anywhere is a big place. With so many options, how can you choose? The newly released report from Remote, a San Francisco-based tech startup that offers international payroll and other services for employees and contractors, helps us to answer this question.
Today, Remote has launched a one-of-a-kind Best Destinations for Remote Work report. The report showcases the top 100 global destinations for remote workers. The report takes into consideration cost of living, technology capabilities (i.e. internet connection), openness, safety, and quality of life, amongst other incentives, to rank the top destinations globally that offer remote workers a great place to live and work.
Based on the analysis of internet infrastructure, attractiveness, safety, quality of life, openness, and the cost of living for every country in the world, Toronto, Madrid, and Auckland top the list as the best places to work remotely. 12 of the top 20 remote work destinations are based in Europe, whilst London ranks low in 78th place due to its high cost of living.
The report is paired with an interactive tool that enables users to create their own custom lists because not everyone has the same priorities! For example, perhaps top internet speeds are non-negotiable for you. Or perhaps you want to keep the cost of living low.
Remote’s “Best Destinations for Remote Work” is an in-depth statistical analysis and evaluation of every country in the world and all 50 U.S. states across seven relevant categories: internet infrastructure, attractiveness, safety, quality of life, openness, cost of living, and special incentives for remote workers. To inform overall scores and rankings, Remote incorporated user-defined weights to each of the seven categories.
When attributing equal weights to all seven components, the top 10 destinations for remote work are:
1) Toronto, Canada
2) Madrid, Spain
3) Auckland, New Zealand
4) Madeira, Portugal
5) Helsinki, Finland
6) Svalbard, Norway
7) Berlin, Germany
8) Valparaiso, Chile
9) Dublin, Ireland
10) Sydney, Australia
Looking specifically at European countries, the top 10 destinations for remote work are:
1) Madrid, Spain
2) Madeira, Portugal
3) Helsinki, Finland
4) Svalbard, Norway
5) Berlin, Germany
6) Dublin, Ireland
7) Stockholm, Sweden
8) Valletta, Malta
9) Bucharest, Romania
10) Copenhagen, Denmark
London ranks low down the list in 78th place. Whilst London scored high for openness, safety and the quality of life, London’s overall score was brought down due to the increased cost of living in the UK city versus other global destinations.
Some key findings from the report include:
● Auckland, New Zealand; Honolulu, Hawaii; Sydney, Australia; and Reykjavik, Iceland are among the top destinations with the best quality of life for remote workers.
● The most open-minded places are Stockholm, Sweden; Toronto, Canada; and Amsterdam/Netherlands.
● Aruba offers the best incentives for digital nomads through its “One Happy Workation” program.
● Emilia-Romagna, Italy has the largest cash incentive, paying young families (under 40 years old) almost £25,000 to relocate.
● None of the top 10 cities were located in the U.S., with heavy representation across Europe and Oceania.
● Topeka, Kansas, provides up to £3,660 in funds to rent in one’s first year and up to £7,340 in funds for a home purchase as a relocation incentive.
● Colorado grants employers cash awards for each remote worker employed in an eligible rural county outside the county where the project is based.
● Remote workers in Cabo Verde are exempt from income tax.
● Ecuador offers a professional visa that offers the lowest monthly income requirement of any country at almost £300.
“For a long time, workers were restricted to living near major urban hubs if they wanted to access the best job opportunities. The freedom to work from anywhere opens the door for employees to choose their home – or travel – without compromising their work,” said Remote’s CEO and co-founder Job van der Voort. “With so many possibilities, our interactive ranking tool aims to find the perfect destination for everyone based on what they value most. We’re excited to share this truly global database and interactive tool to empower remote workers and global employers.”
The rankings in the Best Destinations report were developed for Remote by MetroSight, an economics research institute focusing on urban developments, populations, and labor.
They were determined using 25 series of data on countries and U.S. states which span seven components: (i) internet infrastructure, (ii) attractiveness (broadly defined), (iii) safety, (iv) quality of life, (v) openness, (vi) cost of living, and (vii) incentives for remote workers. The data were obtained from reputable secondary sources and typically reflect the situation circa 2019, the only exception being data on incentives for remote workers which were compiled directly from primary sources in June 2021.
Data on each of the components were statistically transformed into a set of seven component-specific scores which allow apples-to-apples comparison between observations for countries and U.S. states and across the components. The synthesis into a single overall score to inform the rankings incorporates user-defined importance weights for each component. Rather than using a weighted average which could, for example, allow a destination to compensate for very poor safety with very fast internet, a utility function is used which rewards destinations’ well-roundedness across the components.
Founded in 2019 by Job van der Voort and Marcelo Lebre, Remote offers international payroll, benefits, and compliance services for distributed employees and contractors. The company takes care of global payroll, benefits, compliance, and taxes, so businesses can focus on people. Remote also takes care of international payroll, benefits, taxes, stock options, and compliance in dozens of countries.