The 15 best cities for remote working – global index

The idea of working from the comfort of your own home, or while sipping a freshly ground coffee at the nearest cafe is a tempting one. So, it’s no wonder so many Brits are now working remotely for part or all of the week.

Advancements in technology such as video web conferencing, mean you no longer need to be tied to the office desk or stuck for hours in rush hour traffic to complete your job role successfully. Remote working offers more choice in the way employees work, helping to create balance between work and home life.

It can even open up new job opportunities in areas of the world you might not have considered before. But where exactly is the best location to live as a remote worker?

Taking the 15 of the top cities for urban work life, according to InterNation’s most recent Expat City Ranking Report we’ve compared factors, such as a cost of living, average salary, internet speed,  the price of coffee and cost of public transport to find out which cities around the world are best suited to remote workers.

Each city was scored and ranked accordingly, to give the top 15 cities around the world for remote working, with Prague topping the list.

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark (Score = 32/75)

Like many other Scandinavian countries, Denmark has a good quality of life and high wages – particularly Copenhagen. Again, this comes with a higher cost of living and an expensive commute. However, remote workers can avoid this by working from home and enjoying the country’s fast internet for completing tasks and video calling into the office.

  • Cost of Living Index = 87.93
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,537.22
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 20.10 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £4.19
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.85
  1. Zurich, Switzerland (Score = 34/75)

Workers in Zurich receive the highest monthly wages in our entire list and despite a high cost of living, the quality of life here is high too.

Zurich was the birthplace of the Swiss stock market and finance dominates the job market here. Expats will find most job opportunities in wealth management, accounting, tax, banking and business consultancy according to Expatica.

  • Cost of Living Index = 128.14
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £4,430.79
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 21.70 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £3.75
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £3.27
  1. Manama, Bahrain (Score = 35/75)

Manama is seen as one of the most liberal cities in the Gulf region, it has a thriving food scene, plus bars and restaurants do serve alcohol. There is plenty to do in the city, from luxury shopping experiences to the Bahrain Grand Prix and religious points of interest.

If you’re looking to work in this trade hub and oil-rich city you will need a work visa, residency permit and a CPR identification card.

  • Cost of Living Index = 55.56
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £984.75
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = N/A (Data not published in report)
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £3.55
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £0.60
  1. Basel, Switzerland (Score = 36/75)

Basel in Switzerland has made our top list due to its fast internet speed and high wages. The average monthly salary here is £4006.97, almost twice of that in London. Though this does reflect in the higher cost of living too.

  • Cost of Living Index = 126.8
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £4,006.97
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 21.70 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £4.12
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.74
  1. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (Score = 38/75)

Almost half of the population here is foreign, meaning you won’t feel like an outsider as the city is used to welcoming those from outside its borders. French, German and Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch) are the main languages spoken here and being able to speak multiple languages here is the norm.

  • Cost of Living Index = 86.79
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,888.18
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 11.60 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.78
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £1.77
  1. Stockholm, Sweden (Score = 38/75)

Sweden has the fastest average internet speed out of all of the countries in our list, meaning working from home shouldn’t be a problem. This is good news for remote workers as a one-way ticket using local public transport will set you back £3.11.

  • Cost of Living Index = 78.91
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,260.86
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 22.50 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £3.22
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £3.11
  1. Hamburg, Germany (Score = 38/75)

Hamburg is the wealthiest city in Germany and has a high employment rate (92.1% according to InterNations). This is a good sign for those looking to work for companies based in Hamburg.

The cost of living here is also lower than in London which scores 81.47 on the cost of living index.

  • Cost of Living Index = 72.28
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £1,990.02
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 15.30 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.45
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.83
  1. Beijing, China (Score = 40/75)

Beijing is the type of place you either love or hate as such a busy city can be overwhelming for some. I you love it though, working remotely can be a good way to avoid the stress of the commute while appreciating the hustle and bustle at other times. Public transport here is good, however, if you don’t speak Chinese it can be tricky to get around.

The cost of living in Beijing is low, meaning that if you receive a UK-sized wage, your money will go much further.

  • Cost of Living Index = 43.78
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £966.53
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 7.60 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £3.19
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £0.46
  1. Frankfurt, Germany (Score = 41/75)

This heavily urbanised city, with an impressive skyline is the perfect location to live for city types. Frankfurt is also home to the third largest airport in Europe making it super connected to the rest of the world.

With one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, it is a great place to be if you work in the financial sector.

  • Cost of Living Index = 71.58
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,331.47
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 15.30 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.37
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.56
  1. Munich, Germany (Score = 42/75)

Munich has one of Germany’s lowest unemployment rates with industries such as IT, automotive engineering, aerospace, life sciences, finance and media being the most prevalent (according to ExpatArrivals.com).

It’s not just the thriving economy that makes the city a great place to work though. Folk music and beer fans can enjoy events such as the internationally-renowned Oktoberfest, an annual folk festival which draws in tourists from around the world.

  • Cost of Living Index = 73.92
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,217.51
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 15.30 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.56
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.48
  1. London, United Kingdom (Score = 42/75)

London is a bustling international business hub, but with so many people commuting to and from work each day, plus thousands of tourists riding the rails, the commute can become stressful for workers. High wages and a thriving cultural and entertainment scene make it a great place to live, so remote working for some or all of the week could help to create the perfect balance.

  • Cost of Living Index = 81.47
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,461.94
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 16.90 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.71
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.50
  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands (Score = 43/75)

This modern, forward-thinking city is home to a range of Dutch and international companies, including some of the biggest names in the world such as Shell and Unilever. If you’re looking to live in the city while working for a UK-based company, Amsterdam is just over an hour’s flight from London, making it a great place to live for Brits who need to flit between countries.

  • Cost of Living Index = 82.36
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,198.74
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 17.40 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.48
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.56
  1. Auckland, New Zealand (Score = 44/75)

As the main business hub in New Zealand, Auckland has plenty to offer in terms of job opportunities. It’s not all about work here though, the city has an abundance of open spaces and you’ll find that the locals are mad on sport – from netball to cricket and rugby to tennis. You’ll find a good balance between work and play here.

  • Cost of Living Index = 76.64
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £2,041.02
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 14.70 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £2.29
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £2.06
  1. Johannesburg, South Africa (Score = 45/75)

Johannesburg is the largest and wealthiest city in South Africa. Its recent regeneration has brought jobs back to the city and new road improvements mean it is no longer the most congested place in South Africa (Cape Town have taken that title according to Tom Tom’s Traffic Index).

The city is also the home to the cheapest coffee in our list at just £1.44 per cup. This is music to any remote workers’ ears when looking for a change of scenery, plus there are plenty of coffee shops and co-working spaces to choose from too!

  • Cost of Living Index = 46.13
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £1,132.89
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 6.70 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £1.44
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £0.89
  1. Prague, Czech Republic (Score = 52/75)

Prague came out as the best place for remote workers, mainly down to the low cost of living. Though wages reflect this, the city’s relaxed feel and the fact that EU citizens do not need a work permit, make it a great choice for digital nomads and expats alike.

  • Cost of Living Index = 47.87
  • Average Monthly Net Salary = £916.55
  • Average Internet Speed (Countrywide) = 16.90 mbps
  • Cost of a Coffee (Cappuccino) = £1.64
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) = £0.82

 

Deciding to work remotely is a big step towards a better work-life balance, whether you want to work from a different location in the same city or from across the world. The factors listed in our top 15 cities for remote working are a great starting point to help guide you and find out which location is best suited to you.

The top list of cities were ranked based on the comparison of various factors such as the Cost of Living Index, that considers every day expenses for a family of four living in a particular city. This was then combined with average internet speeds, the cost of a coffee, salary and public transport.

Method and sources:

Top 15 Cities to compare were taken from the The Expat Insider 2017 survey report, published by InterNations.

 

We then gave each city a score out of 75. This was based on five categories, where the max score in each was 15 = best and 1 = worst.  The five categories were: