Hybrid working has challenged the notion of a single, fixed office address. As businesses champion the 'work from anywhere' ethos, certain cities have emerged as ideal work-life havens. Dive into some of the best cities perfect for this balance, each bringing a unique blend of culture, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.
Hybrid working has seen a widespread shake-up of office life, giving more workers the freedom to work from anywhere. The ability to choose where and when they work best has given rise to the ‘workation’ trend and added to the demand for a digital nomad lifestyle. The knock-on effects have been great for employees and employers alike.
IWG research shows that 76% of ‘work from anywhere’ employees say they have improved work-life balance, while businesses have enjoyed the bottom-line benefits of increased productivity and job satisfaction. Indeed, according to Accenture, 63% of high-growth firms have embraced ‘productivity anywhere’ models of working.
To facilitate this, businesses need networks of flexspaces, like IWG’s, which enable them to support team members in doing their best work, wherever they choose to be based. And there’s an obvious benefit beyond catering to a business’s would-be digital nomads: having a presence in cities where the quality of life is high serves as a way of attracting and retaining a wider pool of top-tier talent.
But what characteristics does a city with great work-life balance have, and which are the best cities for ‘workationers’ and nomads alike?
What makes a city great for work-life balance?
Everyone has their own view on what constitutes a good work-life balance, but when coming up with a list of the best cities to work from around the world, there are a number of specific factors to take into account. IWG’s ‘Work from anywhere’ survey scored cities on the following key criteria, namely:
- Sunshine hours per year
- Number of galleries and museums
- Accommodation costs
- Cost of a monthly transport pass
- Average price of a cup of coffee
- Average cost of lunch
- Broadband speed
- Happiness (according to the Happy City Index)
Scores for each criterion were then added up, and the results ranked. So, which cities scored best?
The top 10 cities for work-life balance – and where to work whilst there
- Barcelona: vibrant culture, incredible food and a one-year digital nomad visa make Barcelona an attractive choice.
Our pick: for workationers looking for post-work downtime and local culture: Regus Plaça de Catalunya. This space overlooks La Rambla, famous for its eateries and entertainment.
- Toronto: a city with an abundance of green space, Toronto gives easy access to Canada’s natural beauty.
Our pick: for digital nomads seeking a convenient cosmopolitan location with easy access to scenic spots: Spaces The Shift. The newly opened and contemporary flexspace is located in the eye-catching EQ Bank Tower, minutes from Toronto Harbour.
- Beijing: replete with history and culture, digitally advanced Beijing has a thriving startup scene.
Our pick: for digital nomads and startup workers who enjoy the bustle and networking opportunities of a financial district: Regus Financial Street Excel Centre. Right in Beijing’s equivalent of Wall Street, this workspace offers inspiring city views and is a 15-minute drive from the Forbidden City.
- New York: The Big Apple scored top marks for both its culture and its state of happiness.
Our pick: for workers looking for a design-conscious, light-filled workspace, served by a historic Art Deco lobby – ideal for welcoming high-end clients: Spaces Chrysler Building. Situated in one of New York’s most iconic buildings, this location offers four floors of high-impact design accessed via an exclusive elevator.
- Milan: fashion and culture enthusiasts flock to Milan, but it’s surprisingly affordable.
Our pick: for workers wanting endless inspiration and artistic prowess, along with a pool of creative talent to tap into: Signature Duomo. Located right next to Piazza del Duomo, this luxurious workspace blends classic and contemporary design, with a rooftop terrace offering a stunning view of Milan’s breathtaking cathedral.
- Rio de Janeiro: affordable cost of living makes Rio a strong contender in the work-from-anywhere stakes.
Our pick: for those wanting a blend of affordable living, laid-back socialising, and proximity to the beach: Regus Rua Visconde de Pirajá 495. This workspace is right in the heart of the world-famous Ipanema.
- Paris: Paris scores a 10/10 for its attractions, continuously ranking as one of the top travel destinations in the world.
Our pick: for workationers seeking history, culture and fine cuisine in between meetings: 40 Rue du Louvre. This space is situated within sight of the most famous: the Louvre. This striking Haussmann-era building is a stunning example of 19th-century architecture.
- Amsterdam: the commercial capital of the Netherlands is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, which perhaps explains its high score for happiness.
Our pick: for a calmer pace of life, which comes courtesy of the many walking, cycling and canal routes. All the big city amenities with a community feel: Piet Heinkade 55. This light-filled location has a tram stop and the city’s largest train station within walking distance.
- Lisbon: Portugal’s capital city must be one of Europe’s hilliest, but public transport here is very affordable – as is the cost of living.
Our pick: for digital nomads and workationers searching for sunshine all year round and a convenient city-centre location: Regus Rua Mouzinho da Silveira. This workspace is at the heart of Lisbon’s business district, it has a private roof terrace and yoga room for balancing work and wellness.
- Jakarta: Indonesia’s sunny capital scores full marks for the affordability of its accommodation, transport and food and drink.
Our pick: for workers wanting the hustle and bustle of a corporate metropolis, surrounded by skyscrapers and monuments: Equity Tower. Found in the heart of the city’s lively ‘Golden Triangle’ business district, this space boasts spectacular skyline views.
Access to the world’s best ‘work from anywhere’ cities
IWG has an unrivalled global network, which means your clients can work, meet, expand and relocate wherever they want. Discover how an IWG partnership connects you to the best ‘work from anywhere’ cities, opening up a world of opportunity for you and your clients.