Jobs and the Future of Work

The world’s best countries for remote working

Remote working in Sella, Spain.

Spain ranks fourth on the Global Remote Work Index 2023. Image: Unsplash/euanacameron

Victoria Masterson
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Future of Work

  • The Global Remote Work Index 2023 ranks 108 countries on their quality as remote working destinations.
  • Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany are the top three countries for remote working.
  • In the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, some employers believe policies to encourage remote working could increase talent availability.

If you’re a remote worker, here’s a tool that can help you find the best countries to work in.

The Global Remote Work Index 2023 ranks 108 countries on what they offer as remote working destinations.

The index measures four main areas that determine the quality of remote working: cybersecurity, economics, infrastructure, and social safety – including safety from crime and access to human rights.

Published by security organization NordLayer, the Global Remote Work Index 2023 is based on data from credible and recognized sources, such as the UN and the World Economic Forum.

Map illustrating the global remote work index.
The Global Remote Work Index 2023 ranks the remote working credentials of 108 countries. Image: NordLayer

Europe leads on remote working

Countries in Northern Europe lead the Global Remote Work Index 2023. The top 10 countries in the index are: Denmark; the Netherlands; Germany, Spain; Sweden; Portugal; Estonia; Lithuania; Ireland and Slovakia.

In fact, European nations make up most of the top 50% of the global remote work index, the authors say.

Top 3 in the Global Remote Work Index 2023

Denmark’s key strengths for remote workers include internet quality, social inclusiveness and healthcare.

In the Netherlands, economic stability is another benefit for remote working. This a largely due to its “appeal as a tourist destination and widespread English usage”, the authors say.

Germany offers a good balance between the cost of living and quality of life, with the world’s most affordable internet service, the Global Remote Work Index 2023 finds.

Table showing the top ten of the Global Remote Work Index
European countries dominate the top 10 of the Global Remote Work Index 2023. Image: NordLayer

The best remote working countries by criteria

Slovakia leads the top 10 remote working countries for cyber safety. This is a criterion that includes the ability to respond to digital threats and the level of cybersecurity legislation.

The United Kingdom ranks top for economic safety in the Global Remote Work Index 2023. This category includes the cost of living, access to healthcare, how easy it is to communicate and quality leisure opportunities.

Singapore is the best country for digital and physical infrastructure such as a stable, fast and widely available internet service and safe infrastructure, such as roads.

Switzerland tops the 2023 Index for social safety, which considers the physical security and protection of remote workers.

Table showing the top ten countries ranked for remote workers in terms for cybersecurity.
Slovakia is the best country for remote workers in terms of cybersecurity. Image: NordLayer

Is the future of jobs remote?

Remote working is a recurring theme in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, which explores how jobs and skills will evolve over the next five years. The report is based on feedback from more than 800 companies employing more than 11 million workers and has different perspectives on the future of remote working.

Figure illustrating the share of organizations surveyed that identify public policies to increase talent availability in the next five years.
About a fifth of respondents to the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 think government policies should promote remote working. Image: World Economic Forum

Around a fifth of respondents think government policies to encourage remote working in countries and across borders could increase the availability of talent in the coming years. Switzerland and sectors including telecommunications are also keen to promote it.

But by far the biggest ask from employers is government funding for training and skills development.

Research suggests employers have been reducing remote working options since the COVID-19 pandemic, though some experts believe flexible working will continue to be prevalent.

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