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November 20, 2018updated 03 Jan 2019 5:13pm

Thinking of ditching the 9-to-5? These are the best places for digital nomads to live

By Luke Christou

The average workday is no longer eight hours spend in an office cushioned in between a commute on packed public transport.

According to a recent YouGov survey, just 6% of employees in the United Kingdom work the traditional hours of nine to five as employers begin to allow a changing workforce some flexibility.

With millennials demanding not only the right to work when they want, but where they want too, flexible working could soon give way to remote working.

For those thinking of ditching office life to become a digital nomad – somebody who uses technology to earn a living while moving around the world – online home rental company Spotahome has created the Digital Nomad index, a ranking of the best cities for remote workers.

The Digital Nomad index compares 56 cities around the world, looking at factors such as internet speed, access to co-working spaces, free WiFi access, living costs, and the cost of beer.

Best cities for digital nomads

Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been ranked as the best place in the world for digital nomads, selected due to its fast internet speeds, the quality of its co-working spaces, affordable accommodation and acceptance of migrant workers.

Lisbon, Portugal, is placed second. Despite its slow internet speeds, the capital was bumped up the list by cheap beer prices and affordable housing, allowing its digital nomads to play more and work less.

Barcelona, Spain, made up the top three, mixing world-beating co-working spaces and a high acceptance of migrant workers with affordable living costs.

Brisbane, Australia, was the highest ranked city outside of Europe. Despite being home to one of the lowest number of startups out of the 56 cities analysed, Brisbane ranks highly for its green spaces and co-working facilities.

Australasia is also one of the easier areas for migrants to settle down, the index shows. Cities in New Zealand and Australia make up seven of the top 10 cities for migrant acceptance.

Cities best avoided

San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley, is the highest ranked city in the United States. However, those on a shoestring budget should avoid the tech capital, which also ranks lowest on the index for affordable housing.

Somewhat surprisingly, New York is the lowest ranked city in the US. With slow internet speeds, expensive housing, a lack of free WiFi and a poor startup scene, New York ranks 54th out of the 56 cities analysed.

In fact, digital nomads are best off avoiding all big cities, the index shows.

Tokyo, Japan, ranks just one place above New York due to the same problems. Paris, France, ranked 48th, while Milan, Italy, ranked 47th.

Buoyed by the quality of its co-working spaces and startups, London, England, sits somewhat higher in 38th place.

Digital nomad cities: Where does your city rank?

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed artificial intelligence deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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