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Remote workers index: the best countries for digital nomads

Remote workers index: the best countries for digital nomads

Remote workers index: the best countries for digital nomads

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 realised.

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.

If you’re looking to bring some flexibility to your working life, you don’t even have to stick to the country where your business is based. So where should you head? We conducted some new research to find out.

Methodology

We ran the 20 most populous EU countries through 10 varied ranking factors to find out which best meets the demands of remote workers in 2019. We used the following factors (see the bottom of this post for sources):

  1. Percentage of people currently in remote work
  2. Number of co-working spaces
  3. Number of coffee shops
  4. Average price of coffee
  5. Number of Wi-Fi hotspots
  6. Internet security score
  7. EU Commission Transport score
  8. Happiness Index score
  9. Rent Index score
  10. Cost of living

Each country was given a percentile score across each ranking factor, resulting in the following top 10.

 

digital-nomads-best-european-countries-map.jpgBest European Countries for Digital Nomads

 

1ST: NETHERLANDS

Top 3 Positions:

  • Number of people in remote work: 13.7% (1st overall)
  • EU Commission Transport Score: 1 (1st)
  • Internet Security Score: 11% (2nd)

Overall score: 682

With the highest rate of people in remote work, the Netherlands is leading the way for digital nomads. Aside from their top three performing factors above, the Dutch scored well across the board. Securing a top three spot for Wi-Fi hotspots (3rd), number of coffee shops (3rd), and on the Happiness Index (3rd).

If you do decide to make the short hop over the North Sea, there are one or two areas of consideration. The country came second last on the Rent Index (scoring 34.74) and the Cost of Living (74.83) – making living in the country very expensive.

2ND: GERMANY

Top 3 Positions:

  • Number of Wi-Fi hotspots: 36,890,223 (1st)
  • Number of co-working spaces: 418 (3rd)
  • EU Commission Transport Score: 3 (3rd)

Overall score: 651

Germany is just pipped to first place by their neighbouring rivals. Still, the country makes for a great location for those looking to become remote workers. With good scores on Wi-Fi hotspots and co-working spaces, you’ll never be short of somewhere to pull out your laptop and blast out a quick hour’s work.

Germany only came outside the top ten for three factors, and that’s down to a barrier you could face in Holland, it’s expensive: average price of coffee (11th), the Cost of Living (11th), and Rent Index score (15th).

3RD: SPAIN

Top 3 Positions:

  • Number of co-working spaces: 778 (1st)
  • Average price of coffee: £2.90 (4th)
  • EU Commission Transport score: 5 (5th)

Overall score: 619

Taking the final place on the podium are the Spanish. With a strong performance on transport, good coffee prices and the most co-working spaces around, you’re in a good place to grab a morning coffee and catch the bus to your favourite spot to work.

The country also scores well for Wi-Fi hotspots (6th), Rent Index (8th), and Cost of Living (8th). Spain’s only crux when it comes to remote work is internet security. With 30% of internet users affected by security issues, it’s 16th position is the only time it ranked below 12th.

4TH: UNITED KINGDOM

Top 3 Positions:

  • Number of coffee shops: 12.3 (1st)
  • Cost of living: 660 (2nd)
  • Number of Wi-Fi hotspots: 32,667,355 (2nd)

Overall score: 598

When it comes to meeting the demands of remote workers, us Brits aren’t too bad either. The UK also has the 2nd most co-working spaces and a reasonably secure internet infrastructure (8th).

Despite scoring highly for these factors, only 4% of the UK workforce work remotely, a lowly 14th place. Couple this with high rent (17th) and coffee prices (17th), and the UK will hit your pocket harder than most countries.

5TH: POLAND

Top 3 Positions:

  • Average price of coffee: £2.61 (2nd)
  • Cost of Living: 39.13 (3rd)
  • Rent index score: 14.92 (5th)

Overall score: 580

Nudging their way into the top five is the first of two countries from Eastern Europe. As with many countries from the region, they score particularly well when it comes to your outgoings. Poland’s Cost of Living, Rent Index, and coffee prices are particularly strong.
The Polish do less impressively on their transport score and the overall happiness of their citizens. 16 of the countries in the study have more efficient transport systems, whilst those living in Poland are the 14th happiest out of the 20 countries.

6TH: FRANCE

Top 3 Positions:

  • Average price of coffee: £2.57 (1st)
  • Co-working spaces: 294 (4th)
  • Number of Wi-Fi hotspots: 10,055,930 (4th)

Overall score: 570

Just ten points behind Poland are France, a country that has a real variety of results. Aside from the three top performers above, France is also placed fifth for EU Commission transport score (6), and sixth for the percentage of people in remote work (6.8%).

Holding France back from a really impressive position are two factors. A third of internet users were affected by security issues in 2015, placing them 17th on the internet safety ranking. But that’s not as bad as their Cost of Living score. At 74.85, France comes rock bottom for this factor, making it the most expensive place to live in Europe for remote workers.

7TH: SWEDEN

Top 3 Positions:

  • Average price of coffee: £2.70 (3rd)
  • EU Commission Transport score: 3 (3rd)
  • Happiness Index: 7.315 (4th)

Overall score: 562

We have to go as far down as position seven before a Scandinavian country enters the ranking. Sweden scores well for all the things you’d expect of a Nordic country. As well as happy citizens and an excellent transport system, Sweden also comes in the top eight for the percentage of people in remote work (8th), and the number of Wi-Fi hotspots (9th).

Sweden actually performs solidly throughout. On only two occasions does it come lower than 12th: Cost of Living (13th) and the number of coffee shops (16th).

8TH: AUSTRIA

Top 3 Positions:

  • Percentage of people in remote work: 9.5% (3rd)
  • Happiness Index: 7.139 (5th)
  • Number of coffee shops: 2 (6th)

Overall score: 534

Following closely behind Sweden is Austria, whose position of eighth is only hampered by some high living costs. The Austrians score particularly well for the safety of their internet (19% affected users placed them 7th) and transport links (8th best placed country in the EU Commission’s report).

As we mentioned, some of these bonuses come at a cost. Austria is one of the more expensive EU places to live, evidenced by their 14th position on the Cost of Living scale, and 16th place on the Rent Index.

9TH: DENMARK

Top 3 Positions:

  • Happiness Index: 7.555 (2nd)
  • Percentage of people in remote work: 8.6% (4th)
  • EU Commission Transport score: 6 (5th)

Overall score: 509

Scandinavia returns with Denmark just scraping into our top 10. Again, they score well on the happiness of their people and their transport infrastructure. On top of that, the Danes are already onboard with remote work, with only three countries having a higher percentage of out-of-office workers.

Along with a poor number of co-working spaces (52 spaces puts them in 16th place for this factor), Denmark is also let down by similar factors to their Swedish counterparts. 18th placed for Cost of Living and Rent Index mean Denmark can do no better than 9th.

10TH: CZECH REPUBLIC

Top 3 Positions:

  • Internet Security Score: 10% (1st)
  • Cost of Living: 45.12 (6th)
  • Rent index: 18.27 (7th)

Overall score: 477

Just squeezing its way into our rankings is the second of Eastern Europe’s inclusions. The Czech Republic may have the best internet safety score of the entire study, but it doesn’t have any other factors ranking in the top six.

What it does have, however, is plenty of middle-ground factors – helping it to rise into the top ten. It’s placed well for number of coffee shops (9th), number of Wi-Fi hotspots (10th), and on the Happiness Index (10th).

 

 

As it becomes increasingly easy for us to stay connected wherever we are, employee calls for the ability to work away from the confines of the office will continue to grow. Whether you’re in remote work right now, or you’re thinking about taking up a position in the future, one of the ten countries listed above should be high on your list of possibilities.

 

Where we got the data

  1. Percentage of people currently in remote work - Data from 2017 (source)
  2. Number of co-working spaces – Coworker.com (source)
  3. Number of coffee shops - Starbucks per 1 million inhabitants 2015 (source)
  4. Average price of coffee - Average retail price per pound 2017 (source)
  5. Number of Wi-Fi hotspots - (source)
  6. Internet security score - Internet users affected by security issues 2015 (source)
  7. EU Commission Transport score 2019 – (score)
  8. Happiness Index score – 2018 World Happiness Report (source)
  9. Rent Index score - 2019 Cost of Living Study (source)
  10. Cost of living - 2019 Cost of Living Study (source)
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