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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I check out research from the GRWI into the best countries for remote work, with Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany being the leaders.
I work remotely, and because of that I can technically work anywhere I’ve got a plug socket and internet access. That is an aspect of my job I really value, mostly because it means I can be present for my children by working from home most of the time, but also because it affords me the opportunity to travel around with ease as I just take my work with me. Because of this, I’ve always been curious about what opportunities there would be to live and work remotely in other countries, and see the world while I work.
According to new research by the cybersecurity company NordLayer, the company created the Global Remote Work Index (GRWI), the best and worst countries to work remotely have been ranked in terms of four different criteria: cyber safety, economic safety, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. This year, NordLayer evaluated 108 countries compared to 66 last year.
Top Ten Best Countries For Remote Work
- The Netherlands
The full list is available here: https://nordlayer.com/global-remote-work-index/
The index was compiled by assessing and comparing countries using four index dimensions. Under each dimension are various attributes (sub-dimensions) that, combined, help evaluate general remote-work attractiveness:
- Cyber safety — infrastructure, response capacity, and legal measures.
- Economic safety — tourism attractiveness, English language proficiency, cost of living, and healthcare.
- Digital and physical infrastructure — internet quality and affordability, e-infrastructure, e-government, and physical infrastructure.
- Social safety — personal rights, inclusiveness, and safety.
How does the UK rank?
The United Kingdom finds itself at 19 in the general GRWI ranking. It has become less accessible to European workers since Brexit but is still a relatively attractive place for tourists to visit (3), live, and work remotely. It performs superbly regarding economic safety (1) and has a solidly developed physical and digital infrastructure (12).
While its cyber safety (36) and social safety (28) rankings are less impressive, it does perform well in some specific aspects of those rankings, such as personal rights (10) or healthcare (8). However, its social safety index is very low (58), making it quite an unsafe place to stay in.
Cybersecurity ranking in the UK is somewhat controversial because, despite its excellent infrastructure (2), its response capacity is not impressive (23). It does have decent legislation in place (13), but many countries do it even better, leaving the United Kingdom in the 36th place in terms of overall cyber safety ranking. Unfortunately, the Internet here is neither affordable (43) nor good quality (35).
UK vs. Ireland
Compared to its neighbor Ireland (9), the UK lags behind in an overall GRWI ranking. It surpasses Ireland in terms of economic safety (1 vs. 14) and digital and physical infrastructure (12 vs. 27). In particular, it proves to be more tourist-attractive (3 vs. 8), cheaper to live in (78 vs. 88), and has a far better healthcare system (8 vs. 40) than Ireland. Infrastructure-wise, while the internet service is quite a bit more expensive in the UK (43) than in Ireland (18), the UK boasts far better physical infrastructure (2 vs. 14) and e-government (8 vs. 26) while also performing slightly better in terms of internet quality (35 vs. 39).
The United Kingdom gives way to its neighbor regarding cyber safety (36 vs. 15) and social safety (28 vs. 18). It is a difficult contestant to compete with, however, since Ireland is doing particularly well in terms of cybersecurity legal measures (2) and response capacity (8) and boasts an exceptionally inclusive society (2).
Practice good cybersecurity habits
Even though some of the big tech companies recently brought their employees back to the office or introduced a hybrid work model, remote work is here to stay. It’s not just a trend — it is a fundamental shift in how we approach productivity and work-life balance. Embracing remote work empowers our teams to harness their full potential, regardless of geographical boundaries.
-Donatas Tamelis, managing director at NordLayer.
For people interested in remote work, Tamelis recommends practicing several good cybersecurity practices:
- Always use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection and helps protect your personal information from prying eyes. It is especially crucial when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
- Also, ensure that all your devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, have the latest software updates installed. These updates often include security patches that can help protect against known vulnerabilities.
- Be cautious with public Wi-Fi and avoid accessing sensitive information such as online banking or entering passwords on public Wi-Fi networks unless you are using a VPN. Hackers can easily intercept data on unsecured networks.
- Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible for your email accounts, social media profiles, and other online services you use while traveling. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification during login.
- Use strong and unique passwords. Create strong passwords for each of your online accounts and avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a password manager like NordPass to securely store and generate complex passwords.
In the age of remote work, cybersecurity is not just an option. It’s a critical necessity to safeguard our data and protect our organization from evolving cyber threats. Working remotely opens up new opportunities, but it also exposes us to potential security risks. Cybersecurity vigilance is our first line of defense.
-Donatas Tamelis, managing director at NordLayer.
The Global Remote Work Index by NordLayer was conducted based on four dimensions that focus on countries’ cyber safety, economic conditions, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety.
Here you can find the full methodology: https://nordlayer.com/global-remote-work-index/2023/methodology/
NordLayer provides flexible and easy-to-implement cybersecurity tools for businesses of any size or work model developed by the standard of NordVPN. We help organizations secure networks in a stress-free way. NordLayer enhances internet security and modernizes network and resource access with technical improvements aligning with the best regulatory compliance standards. Helping organizations to adopt ZTNA and SWG principles, NordLayer is focused on the Security Service Edge of cybersecurity services. Quick and easy to integrate with existing infrastructure, hardware-free, and designed with ease of scale in mind, NordLayer meets the varying growth pace and ad-hoc cybersecurity requirements of agile businesses and distributed workforces today.
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