A new study has revealed the best cities to live in and work remotely from, based on data on legislation, costs and overall liveability.
The on-demand housing platform Nestpick investigated the 75 best cities in the world for working remotely. Melbourne and Sydney came first and third respectively.
The scores indicates which cities are best prepared to attract a new breed of remote workers by using digital nomad visas, remote working infrastructure and more.
Melbourne scored highly on liveability factors like safety, healthcare and culture and leisure activities. The top 10 also included major international cities like Tokyo in Japan, London in England, Berlin in Germany and Singapore.
Melbourne’s score was boosted by its remote working infrastructure and the presence of a specific ‘Digital Nomad’ Visa.
Only 10 cities in the study offer this visa. The cities were Zagreb in Croatia, Prague in the Czech Republic, Lisbon in Portugal, Reykjavik in Iceland, Tallinn in Estonia, Athens in Greece, and Australia’s Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Dubai, UAE and Mexico City.
On average, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro has the most affordable Home Office Space (approx. AU$188 per month), followed by Russia’s Saint Petersburg (approx. AU$220 p/m), and Turkey’s capital Istanbul (approx. AU$268 p/m). Melbourne ranked 34th out of 75 in this sector.
Bari, Italy received 100 per cent for accomodation availability. The port city was followed by Zagreb, Croatia and Warsaw, Poland were ranked second and third, respectively. Melbourne came 39th in this sector.
COVID-19 vaccination rates were also taken into consideration. At the time of the study, US cities held the top eight positions, including Boston, Honolulu, Seattle, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, Melbourne ranked 67 out of 75 in this sector.
Las Palmas has the best overall weather conditions in the study, while Tallinn has the best combined noise, air and light pollution score. Melbourne ranked 19th for weather and 37th for pollution.
Nestpick Founder and CEO Omer Kucukdere explained the resulting index offers insight into a broad range of factors to reveal the cities best prepared to attract this new breed of work-from-anywhere resident.
“In the past, one of the main reasons people relocated to a new city was employment. However, there are many other factors beyond work that are integral for those deciding to make a move, ranging from lifestyle preferences to logistical factors such as better healthcare and the cost of living, ” Mr Kucukdere said.
“The global pandemic has also caused many people to reassess their personal priorities, revealing the benefits of remote working flexibility and provoking the question “is it really possible to work from anywhere?” What we’ve seen through our study, however, is that technology and employers have moved faster than infrastructure, with many legal barriers still in place for migrants who want to bring their job with them,” Mr Kucukdere said.
“The pandemic has also proved to many companies that remote working is not only a possibility but actually something practical that can be beneficial to everyone involved. The technology has been available for a while now, but it took seeing it in action for companies to truly feel comfortable with the idea.
“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. 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,” he said.
Mr Kucukdere explained the increasing prevalence of remote working has opened up new possibilities that mean employees don’t necessarily have to choose between the place they desire to live in and their dream job, which is likely to increase employee satisfaction and retention going forward.
“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,” Mr Kucukdere said.
”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.”