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Barcelona, Toronto, Beijing named best ‘workcation’ cities in latest study

Working while traveling has exploded with the recognition of distant and hybrid work. If you must take a “workcation,” Barcelona may be the best destination.

That’s in line with IWG, a versatile workplace company, which compared 26 cities all over the world, grading them on a scale of 1 to 10 for the next categories: 

  • Climate
  • Culture
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Food and drink
  • Happiness
  • Broadband speed
  • Availability of flexible workspace

“The categories were chosen to contemplate the optimal environment for working abroad including basic livability requirements,” said Darren Rogers, IWG Singapore’s country manager. 

“There are also aspects that may impact productivity, resembling broadband and the supply of flexible workspaces.”

Barcelona, renowned for its vibrant cultural scene and almost year-round sunshine, got here up on top for those “searching for the proper mix of labor and leisure,” said IWG. 

The demand for hybrid working 'will prevail' in a recession, IWG CEO says

IWG also conducted a survey amongst greater than 1,000 hybrid staff, which found that just about three in five (57%) took workcations previously 12 months — where they prolonged holidays by working from abroad. 

“The horizons of today’s staff are not any longer confined to their very own countries,” added Rogers.

“We have seen that employees across the globe really value the chance to find a way to increase their holidays with workcations and in return, employers are benefitting too, with highly-engaged, completely happy and productive teams.”

Top cities for distant work 

The research found that broadband speed is the primary essential for digital nomads — outranking cost of living and weather. 

“The rise of hybrid work now allows staff to work from wherever they will be the best, even when that is overseas,” Rogers added.

“This is enabled by cloud technology, which requires a reliable, high-quality web connection.” 

More than half of workers interested in 'hush trips' this year

Singapore scored highest for broadband speed (9) followed by New York (8.5) and Hong Kong (8).

Singapore is ranked twenty first on the list, with high scores in other categories like happiness and transport. 

“Singapore can also be Asia’s top financial hub, and the cosmopolitan city houses the world’s best airport, which is commonly seen as a gateway destination to simply access the remainder of Asia, including Southeast Asia,” said IWG. 

Barcelona and Toronto — the highest two cities — registered particularly strong scores in broadband speed and accommodation prices.

Top 10 cities for workcations:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Toronto
  3. Beijing
  4. Milan
  5. New York
  6. Rio De Janeiro
  7. Amsterdam
  8. Paris
  9. Jakarta
  10. Lisbon

For example, the common rent monthly in Barcelona costs $1,158 and $1,769 for Toronto — in comparison with New York’s $3,632 — the most costly on the list. 

The ‘allure’ of Barcelona 

Barcelona’s allure also lies in its “unique combination of sun, sea, sand and cosmopolitan atmosphere,” said IWG.

According to the study, the Spanish city scored well for the fee of transport and has “relatively low price of living” in comparison with other popular European cities.

A cup of coffee in Barcelona costs $2.68 on average, in comparison with $4.92 for Los Angeles and $4.57 for Beijing, IWG added. 

Other than relatively reasonably priced accommodation, Toronto also boasts high scores in happiness and “a wealth of flexible workspaces,” said the study.

“Canada’s largest city offers a various experience for digital nomads, with over 25% of the town covered in forests and a formidable 18% dedicated to parks, providing ample green spaces for rest amidst the bustling urban setting,” the study showed. 

'Digital nomad' visas are easier to get than ever — especially if you're rich

Spain and Canada introduced latest digital nomad programs last 12 months, appealing to working professionals who can perform their jobs anywhere. 

Rounding up the highest three is the Chinese capital of Beijing, also the most effective Asian city for workcations. It “performed exceptionally well” in categories like culture, accommodation, and transport costs, said IWG. 

The city has a complete of 1,484 galleries and museums — the second highest on the list behind New York. Rent costs a mean of $1,204 a month, in line with the study.  

“The city’s world-class art scene, with quite a few galleries and cultural venues, offers a remarkable experience for travelers searching for a glimpse into China’s wealthy heritage and contemporary innovation,” said IWG. 

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