Free To Roam - Which Cities Are Best Prepared To Offer Digital Nomads A Temporary Home?

20/07/2017 11:09

By this point, everyone has heard of the digital nomad. The concept is an incredible one for those of who have spent their working lives desk-bound, and it could perhaps be viewed as the most significant change to happen within the culture of work during the last century. Twenty years ago, many of us could never have imagined a scenario where we could travel the world and still earn a decent living, doing anything other than working for an airline or the armed forces. But that is precisely what thousands of people are doing today.

Technology has freed the entrepreneur from the bonds of one location and one employer, and allowed them to earn a living while travelling the globe. The ability to offer skills - a wide range of skills - remotely, to a wealth of interested parties, should mean that for the first time freelance workers are truly free to work where and when they choose, but it seems that the digital nomad is far more welcome in some places than they are in others.

PeoplePerHour has watched the rise of the digital nomad with interest, and we wanted to see which destinations could offer the most to those who wished to earn while they travelled. The result is the Nomad Index; created measuring key factors of benefit to travelling workers - from the availability of co working space to the cost of living - the Index has enabled us to rank the top 25 nomad-friendly destinations. And they're not all quite where you would expect them to be.

While the essence of digital nomadism is, at its core, 'have laptop, will travel', having access to a dedicated workspace while travelling can be a distinct advantage; and although the city was outstanding in the vast majority of fields, it's the accessibility of communal workspaces which sets Berlin head and shoulders above other cities, and makes it the number one destination for nomads.

Berlin's place at the top of the nomad tree will surprise nobody; as well as being incredibly popular with tourists, and home to a thriving cultural scene, Germany's capital has developed a commendable reputation for entrepreneurialism in recent years which has turned the city into something of a startup hub.

What will surprise some people however, is that Istanbul and Bangalore take second and third place respectively. While both are fine cities in their own right, neither are known as international business centres, so it's extremely interesting to see that they're both forward looking enough to supply shared working spaces and are generally more adept at catering for the needs for the digital nomad than some of the leading business epicentres of the world. Canada's Vancouver, for example, which is ranked number one for the best provision for new business startups globally, made it to fourth place for digital nomads. Kuala Lumpur, which is the beating heart of Malaysia's business, culture and economic structure, only came 9th, while London - arguably the birthplace of commerce as we know it - only scraped into 20th position, leaving the mighty New York City sitting uncomfortably at number 23.

As mobile technology advances even further and Millennials - and others - grasp the benefits this mobility brings, I see a future where more and more of us work on the go. Who wants to be tied to a desk in a single city, when they can see the world as they work? It's not going to suit everyone, and most people will 'settle down' at some point, with a home and a family, but even then there will be times when digital nomadism finds a place. The progressive cities, the ones which provide communal working spaces, which ensure that there is decent Wi-Fi on tap for those who need it, and which welcome innovation as well as incoming visitors, will be the ones who benefit. After all, who better to promote change by voting with their feet, than the professional, well paid, digital nomad?

The Full PeoplePerHour Digital Nomad Index:
Rank - City
1 - Berlin
2 - Istanbul
3 - Bangalore
4 - Vancouver
5 - Lisbon
6 - Bangkok
7 - San Diego
8 - Tel Aviv
9 - Kuala Lumpur
10 - Athens
11 - Manchester
12 - Melbourne
13 -Miami
14 - Moscow
15 - Amsterdam
16 - Stockholm
17 - LA
18 - Tokyo
19 - Sydney
20 - London
21 - Rome
22 - Singapore
23 - NYC
24 - Paris
25 - San Francisco

Xenios Thrasyvoulou Founder of the UK's leading freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour

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