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

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Working while traveling has exploded with the popularity of remote and hybrid work. If you want to take a “workcation,” Barcelona may just be the ideal destination.

That’s according to IWG, a flexible workplace company, which compared 26 cities around the world, grading them on a scale of 1 to 10 for the following categories: 

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

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

“There are also factors that can impact productivity, such as broadband and the availability of flexible workspaces.”

Barcelona, renowned for its vibrant cultural scene and almost year-round sunshine, came up on top for those “seeking the perfect blend of work and leisure,” said IWG. 

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IWG also conducted a survey among more than 1,000 hybrid workers, which found that almost three in five (57%) took workcations in the past year — where they extended holidays by working from abroad. 

“The horizons of today’s workers are no longer confined to their own countries,” added Rogers.

“We have seen that employees across the globe really value the opportunity to be able to extend their holidays with workcations and in return, employers are benefitting too, with highly-engaged, happy and productive teams.”

Top cities for remote work 

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

“The rise of hybrid work now allows workers to work from wherever they can be the most productive, even if that’s overseas,” Rogers added.

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

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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 cost of transport and has “relatively low cost of living” compared to other popular European cities.

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

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

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

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