Top 10 destinations for remote working in 2021
The change is happening!
The workplace has changed over the past ten years. Jeans and t-shirts replaced suits, office hierarchies have become friendlier, flatter dynamics, and Starbucks is...well, still Starbucks. However, possibly the most dramatic change, which has accelerated on an irreversible, astronomical scale in the last 6 months, has been the exchange of commutes, cubicles and coffee machines for our living rooms, kitchen-tops and back-gardens.
Remote working is here and it’s here to stay.
This pandemic we’re stuck in has forced businesses into realising something they already knew but couldn’t believe - the best work is not the best because it was written in an office.
Rather than focusing on signing in and clocking off times, the 21st century team can have such a strong flow of communication between one another from remote locations, that output is the only metric that the majority of businesses need to see. And that is where a wonderful empowerment of “laissez-faire” becomes possible in terms of location, environment, and working hours. Simply speaking - the world is becoming our Oyster!
Remote work is beneficial for employees.
Today, around 80 per cent of the workforce wants to work remotely at least some of the time, while 35 percent of employees would switch jobs for the opportunity to work remotely full time.
Remote work became so popular for a reason - flexibility. By working remotely, employees have greater control to harmonise their personal and professional lives. They have the chance to spend more time with their friends and family and replace overcrowded, loud cities with more peaceful scenery.
But, remote working can have major benefits for the company as well.
Studies have shown that working from home is beneficial both for companies as well as their employees, in numerous different ways:
- Save time, improve productivity. Employees don’t spend time commuting to and from the office. This is proven to increase productivity and reduce workplace absenteeism.
- Save Money. While employees save on commuting costs and ordering takeout, companies can save through decreasing sick leave, office rent, and employee turnover.
- Better Talent. Companies can broaden their talent pool since they're not limiting themselves to a local market.
- Better environment. Employees have a chance to create a setup and a schedule that allows them to perform at their best. It's a true win-win.
But where to work from?
With this new freedom there now comes great responsibility - for yourself! It's essential to find the right location that will satisfy your needs and help you make the most of remote living.
We can all think of a couple of scenic paradises at a poolside beach bar or on a mountain slope, but you might very quickly realise you have your nearest grocer 10 miles away and the Wifi can’t download a pdf of your ticket to get out of the place. As well as scenery, you need practicality, people to meet (who speak the same language), and good connections if you need to get moving pronto.
Not all paradises are practical...
The factors that might influence your relocation plan include quality of public transport, price of rent, use of English language, and healthcare costs, to name a few.
At Perchpeek, we have gone and found the ten best cities and countries that cater to the remote worker's needs and create an environment for outperformance.
Let us know what you think!
#10 - Taipei
As a super-exciting country with an affordable cost of living, whilst being close to important business centres, Taipei might be the perfect in-the-middle destination for remote workers seeking to relocate while staying heavily connected.
Whilst Taipei offers a thrilling combo of Chinese and European heritage, and offers amazing life and festivals for people to enjoy, Taiwan also has amazing mountains, forests and coastlines to explore and native Aborignal cultures to experience if one goes a little farther than the major cities.
Expats love Taiwan. According to The Expat Insider, 86 per cent of Taiwan expats say the country's significant draws are people's friendliness, affordability, and a good healthcare system. The Wifi speed is in the global top 20 also, and Taiwan is considered safer than a number of other major East-Asian hubs, like Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
People in Taipei are extremely kind and respectful. According to Veronika, an expat in Taipei, they care about finding the owner of a lost wallet, instead of its contents.”The very first week I was in Taiwan, I forgot my bag, which contained my wallet and mobile, at a public event. Soon after, a stranger started dialing numbers saved in my phone until he figured out who it belonged to. By the time I reached my flat, an email was in my inbox stating, “Please come to pick up your bag!”
As for the cost of living, Taiwan is also comfortably in the lower range. For a one-bedroom apartment in Taipei's city centre, you can expect to pay around $600 per month. Taiwan is well-connected in terms of transport, however many people who decide to live there eventually buy scooters, since it is one of the most popular transportation methods.
A couple of downsides…
Remote workers might experience some challenges while trying to move to Taiwan since this country lacks a residential visa for foreigners not working for Taiwan employers. However, the good news is that due to agreements with multiple other nations, remote workers from EU and EFTA member states, the US, Australia, Japan and many other countries can now stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without any visa.
Another possible obstacle is that English is not commonly used in everyday life, so the language barrier might restrict you to only expat communities.
Crucial for some, irrelevant for others - it’s worth mentioning is the fact that coffee shops don't open in the mornings in Taiwan, and it's more likely you'll be drinking your first morning coffee at home.
Perchpeek Top Tip
There is one place that does serve coffee in the mornings - the old friend - Starbucks! Open at 6am with free Wifi to match. Whatever your feelings towards Starbucks, they might just be a lifesaver in Taiwan.
#9 - Florence
The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is located in the Italian region of Tuscany. It's a charming city with breathtaking architecture without the usual chaos of the metropolis. Of course, cars and scooters pass by; however, the city centre caters far more to pedestrians.
Given its long history, this city offers plenty of hidden secrets waiting to be discovered, which will satisfy adventure-seekers. And even though all of Italy is known for its exceptional taste in food, Tuscany is one of the best-known regions for it.
Harry, a remote worker from the UK, said - “Florence is such an amazing place to set up for a while, you never get tired of the city- and with English you can mostly get around fine. I like to cycle on the city bikes to the Impact Hub working space and get all my work done in a great, clear-headed atmosphere before finding a new corner of the city to spend my evenings. Or I take a bus to the villages surrounding it, there’s often some great live music going on.”
Florence is a well-connected city, with most important destinations reachable by bikes (easily rented Mobil Cycles are everywhere) or on foot. In fact, wandering through the city is an absolute dream, and a personal motor vehicle there might very quickly become obsolete. Italy also offers an excellent healthcare and educational system, which can be a major pro for relocating families.
With a lot of international students and tourists, communicating in English is relatively common. Despite a more reasonable cost of living than Milan or Rome, Florence still has high housing prices. Those who decide to move to Florence should expect to pay around 800 USD for a one-bedroom apartment, with a cost of utilities up to the 100 USD mark.
The bureaucracy when moving to Italy will depend on where you are coming from. U.S. and Canadian residents don't need a visa for a up-to-90-days stay; however, those who plan on sticking there for an extended period will need one. For EU nationals and as it stands, the UK, it’s far simpler.
Perchpeek Top tip
There are a number of strongly rated Italian language schools dotted around the city, and a few words of Italian get you a long way with the locals.
# 8 Sydney
A great climate, beaches, parks, and large expat community make Sydney a great option for relocating workers. It’s a busy and exciting city, and the slightly more laid back version of Western culture (not to mention the exceptional coastline) make this a fun and beautiful place to set up. Plus, if you can arrange a long-haul stay in terms of visas, a good education system and family-friendly suburbs make this city a great choice for anyone moving with a growing family.
Cally, an expat in Sydney said it’s a great place for making friends. “It’s easier than in many cities around the world because “so many people are in the same boat as you are”. She also says there is something in Sydney for every person.
The severe downside is that Sydney is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, according to Insider its behind only Hong Kong and Vancouver. Wages are extremely high in Australia relative to other countries, so working remotely for a foreign company is rarely going to favour someone trying to take advantage of beneficial exchange rates. We recommend operating from an Australian branch of a company or an Australian company wherever possible - it’s an expensive living for digital nomads!
Perchpeek Top Tip
“If you are looking for nightlife, you might choose Newtown. If you love the beach, look at places like Manly and Bondi. If you want more of the city life you can always opt for somewhere like Darlinghurst or Surry Hills." - Cally, a Sydney Expat
Despite the expenses, if you get it right, Sydney can be a remote worker’s dream!
Sydney is easy enough to get around; however the transport systems are somewhat buckling under pressure of population and are frequently congested. In addition to the housing costs, the general costs of living are very expensive, and our recommendation is to be very clear what you’ll be earning in $AUS before you go.
Beautiful architecture, delicious food, and the opportunity to see northern lights. Welcome to Copenhagen! Described by Lonely Planet as “The Epitome of Scandi Cool”, Copenhagen has an absorbing culture, is very pedestrian - and cyclist-friendly, has a fantastic nightlife scene, Denmark in general has a very well-developed expat community.