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The best global cities for remote working - study

The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped work practices around the globe. Since the huge shift to remote working, people have been able to work from anywhere they desire, and a relocation trend is growing because of this. 

Office for National Statistics reported that 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home in April 2020. Of those people, 86% did so as a direct result of the pandemic. Since then, many businesses have become more accustomed to working from home practices so there is a strong possibility these numbers have multiplied.

Omer Kucukdere, founder and CEO at on-demand housing platform Nestpick, adds:  ”Moreover, high-earners are leaving business-focused cities to live in places that offer better day-to-day lifestyles, taking their purchasing power with them. This trend will only become more popular as time goes on, so we believe that we will see more and more cities adapting to these new working conditions, and benefitting from the economic boost that these workers inject into their economies.”


But where are the best cities to work from home? Nestpick.com has released a study showing the top 75 cities worldwide for remote workers.

Working from home generally requires a decent laptop and a reliable internet connection. Yet there are other critical factors that should be considered when working abroad. In the recent study, remote working suitability was determined according to legislation, costs, liveability, digital nomad visas, remote working infrastructure, and more.

Costs and infrastructure

To work comfortably, the total cost, availability of home office space, and set-up necessities should be considered. The speed of the internet connection could vary depending on the chosen location. Analysing this beforehand will minimise factors that could decrease productivity.

Istanbul, the world’s fifth-largest city, was ranked number one for the best cost of living with a score of 99.47%. Medellin came second scoring 99.01%, Marrakesh third with 98.3%, Buenos Aires next with 97.84% and beautiful Bali came fifth at 97.63%.

On average, Rio de Janeiro has the most affordable home office space (€119 per month), followed by Saint Petersburg (€139), and Istanbul (€169).

Omer Kucukdere observes: “As we see in the study, a number of cities have recognised this new reality and have made a point of creating special visas to attract foreign-employed workers to their cities, which has created a win-win situation for the local economy and the incoming employees. It’s our hope that the results of the study will inspire other governments to take note and follow in their footsteps.”

The study also analysed whether countries offered employees remote working infrastructure such as tax deductions and regulations. You can see the top ten cities in this category below:

Ranking City Score
1 Bern 100.00
2 San Francisco 99.90
3 Edinburgh 98.40
4 Glasgow 98.40
5 London 98.40
6 Brussels 97.00
7 New York 96.60
8 Singapore 95.60
9 Los Angeles 93.20
10 Helsinki 93.00


Legislation and freedom

Living safely and freely is often a deciding factor when moving abroad, so the level of basic human rights and freedoms was also analysed. Inclusivity of minorities, security, support for gender equality, and the LGBT+ community are all important factors that were considered.

The 10 cities that offer ‘Digital Nomad’ Visas include Zagreb, Prague, Lisbon, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Athens, Sydney, Melbourne, Dubai, and Mexico City.


Nestpick.com explored various elements that make a city a great place to live. Access to culture, leisure events, the weather, air, noise, and pollution were all analysed. Melbourne is the highest-ranking city in this category, scoring highly on safety, healthcare, culture, and activities.

Although the vaccine rollout is in full force, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the way we live. The percentage of the populations that are fully vaccinated was considered an indicator of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Boston, one of the most well-liked cities in America, had the highest Covid-19 vaccination rate of 63.31%, Honolulu came second with 58.94%, Seattle came third with 54.89%, New York had 54.15% vaccination rate, and Pittsburgh had a 53.4% vaccination rate.

The top cities across all categories

According to the costs, infrastructure, legislation, freedoms, and liveability all 75 cities were ranked. You can see the top 10 cities below:

Ranking City Score
1 Melbourne 100.00
2 Dubai 96.64
3 Sydney 92.62
4 Tallinn 88.11
5 London 87.18
6 Tokyo 86.81
7 Singapore 85.50
8 Glasgow 84.74
9 Montreal 84.07
10 Berlin 82.88

“One of the biggest fears was that there would be a drop in productivity, but many studies have shown the exact opposite - that giving employees the freedom and flexibility to work remotely actually increases output,” Kucukdere added.

“In fact, it’s been so successful that many major companies have decided to adopt a ‘work-from-anywhere’ policy either part or full time, and only a minority are planning to obligate their employees to return to the office permanently. The location-centric approach to working is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. It’s now up to governments to adapt to this new landscape by introducing new legislation that helps attract high-wage earners to their cities.”


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