GRWI: all roads lead to Europe — the workcation edition

GRWI European workcation edition main cover

European countries are an attractive selection for travelers as the continent consolidates culture, history, variety of climates, and landscapes in one place impossible not to be curious about. Well-developed life standards and uncomplicated commuting options make distances within a hand-reach catch the attention of remote workers too.

NordLayer’s Global Remote Work Index (GRWI) allows users to section data in multiple options. Whether it focuses on global rankings, revealing totaled results of overall scores, or zooms in on specific categories that conclude GRWI rankings of a chosen country.

Despite the selected method, and primarily due to European Union set standards, Europe dominates most remote work rankings, so let’s overview some shortlists together. 

Europe on a global scale

GRWI 3 visuals for blog European workcation edition table

Commonly referred to as the Old World, Europe usually swarms with people. The continent is full of tourists, business representatives, and creators all year round. The time has come, and the remote workers’ era has finally risen.

For locals, workcation policies encouraged short-time relocation to neighboring countries, because why not? For others, hybrid work is an opportunity of a lifetime to travel from another side of the globe to get the feeling of what makes Europe so unique.

Here is the countdown of the five best-ranked GRWI European countries in overall scoring:

5. The Netherlands: a solid hybrid work choice

Neighbor countries of Germany and Belgium, the Netherlands ranks 6th on the GRWI Global rank, and Rank in Europe is 5th, with a total GRWI score of 0.791.

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a popular destination in northwestern Europe, taking the country to 7th place in tourist attraction rankings with English proficiency of 2nd position.

Cybersecurity is only in 17th place on global GRWI rankings, while COVID-19 handling also puts the country in 18th rank. However, economic and social conditions in the Netherlands are 12th, slightly better than Denmark’s (13th).

Digital and physical infrastructure is well-developed (8th), with good quality internet (10th), even though the availability of it is scarce (34th).

E-infrastructure (13th), as well as e-government services (8th), are in good condition. Still, surpassing the famous Netherlands planning would be a challenge — physical infrastructure here ranks 3rd, slightly falling behind Singapore (2nd) and Iceland (1st) in the category.

Being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the Netherlands naturally has a high cost of living (54th). However, with proper budgeting, the experience of a workcation might be worth the expenses.

4. Lithuania: a hidden gem for knowledge workers

One of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania is a TOP 5 country on the global GRWI list and 4th in the European edition. With a GRWI score of 0.794, Lithuania went ahead of its sister countries, Estonia (GRWI score of 0.784) and Latvia (GRWI score of 0.749).

For most people, rarely can someone tell where Lithuania is — no wonder since the tourist attractiveness index gives it 15th place. However, this eastern European country is getting the world’s attention and, more importantly, business investors, making Lithuania a fast-scaling knowledge workers’ hub.

The country of presumably the fastest internet on the planet has its cybersecurity ranking in 2nd GRWI place — Cybersecurity-related infrastructure, crime response capacity, and legal measures divide its rank no lower than 4th ranking.

Internet is highly affordable (3rd), even though the quality of broadband and mobile internet service scored as high as 21st among 66 countries.

Digital and physical infrastructure and COVID response and handling should be revised as both rank only 23rd on the list but not as low as economic and social conditions (33rd).

Despite insufficiencies, the cost of living in Lithuania is the lowest (29th) compared to the remaining TOP 5 European countries on the GRWI list.

The commitment of the Baltic country to quality cybersecurity creates superb conditions for businesses. Traveling workers and IT security managers are relieved from unnecessary headaches about whether it’s a suitable place for remote work.

3. Spain: easy transformation from vacation to workcation

Globally ranked TOP 4, according to GRWI, on the European Remote Work Index list, Spain ranks 3rd top country for remote work with an overall GRWI score of 0.796.

Apparently, rich in architecture, culture, and sunny days, therefore, not surprisingly ranking 1st in tourist attractiveness, Spain also has what to offer in the security department.

Cybersecurity and overall economic and social conditions stand in 10th place among 66 countries on the GRWI list. The shortcomings in internet affordability (33rd) and quality (19th), average English proficiency (33rd), and cost of living (36th) didn’t pull Spain out of revealing encouraging findings for remote workers.

Even the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic were handled quite effectively, ranking 11th on the global list. In regards to paperwork, health, e-services, and legal measures, the systems are in place in this southwestern European country.

So, do you believe Spain is only suitable for siestas and unforgettable vacations? Think again! Spain is a place to enjoy after-office hours and recharge for even more productive and quality work while traveling.

2. Denmark: destination of quality work-life balance

Denmark holds an honorable 2nd place in Global rank and Rank in Europe, not only physically bordering Germany with an overall GRWI score of 0.816.

What’s so special about Denmark? This Nordic country is part of the Scandinavian region, which is well-known for its standard of living, as reflected in GRWI findings.

The Economic and social conditions of GRWI showcase Denmark’s high-level health and education approach. Language proficiency is supreme for a non-native English-speaking country, with 5th place on GRWI, resulting in high tourist attractiveness (9th), incredibly convenient for remote workers.

The total rank puts the Digital and physical infrastructure of Denmark in 4th place with high positions in internet quality (8th), e-infrastructure (6th), and e-government services (4th).

Even though internet quality is reliable, affordability is only in the 12th rank, the same as the total cybersecurity rank. And the expenses of relocating here might seem sky-high, with the cost of living on GRWI ranking 60th.

Denmark is a great country as a remote work destination, even though cybersecurity and the internet need some improvements. Remote work opens the opportunity to experience hygge, the Danish concept of coziness, so why not use the chance?

1. Germany: the wanderlust of remote workers

Germany leads the Global Remote Work Index on the 66 countries listed on both Global rank and Rank in Europe, with a GRWI score of 0.824.

However, a multicultural country was always on the priority list of people relocating due to available work prospects. Moreover, the Tourist attractiveness index placed Germany first, proving there’s much more than a career in this country.

The definition of European standards and the German sense of quality partially explain how this most populous country of central Europe is on the top of GRWI lists.

With an overall cybersecurity score ranking 3rd and socio-economic conditions ranking 5th, Germany has a well-developed infrastructure. Its crime response capacity is 3rd, and the legal measures system ranks 1st, with governmental spending injections to education and health coverage.

Germany is a great place to stay. However, there are some holdbacks for remote workers. The good life can sometimes be expensive — the cost of living in Germany ranks 41st on the GRWI list. And even though the internet is affordable in the country, the quality of mobile and broadband services is relatively low, only 27th on the ranking.

There’s always room for improvement, and Germany isn’t an exception. However, a few drawbacks didn’t hold Germany from becoming the mecca of remote work travelers.

Best by the category: dimension ranking 

GRWI 3 visuals for blog European workcation edition table with top 4 countries

Global Remote Work Index is a complex tool based on many subcategories collected from publicly available data and studies. We just revised which countries have the best scoring as the total outcome.

However, the results spread out a bit differently if we zoom in on every GRWI dimension separately:

Best at COVID response and handling: Finland

Finland has the highest score in Europe regarding pandemic crisis management. Globally, this northern European country is 4th after the USA (1st), Thailand (2nd), and Australia (3rd).

The vaccination rate in Finland is 23rd rank, while the Global Health Security rank placed Finland 6th on the list of GRWI 66 countries.

Room to grow 

Even though the response to COVID-19 was on point and practical, Finland needs to improve its cybersecurity positioning (28th) as a remote work destination. Moreover, it’s an expensive country to visit as the cost of living here ranks 50th.

Best at Cybersecurity: Slovakia

Slovakia blew everyone away with its almost perfect score on cybersecurity. This central European country has ranked overall 1st, holding the best rank in subcategories of cybersecurity response capacity and legal measures.

Therefore, Slovakia tops cybersecurity conditions on both European and global GRWI ranks, not falling behind any other country.

Room to grow 

Despite providing an excellent cybersecurity environment for remote workers, Slovakia has to work on its digital and physical infrastructure, which is ranked 39th. Economic and social conditions are above average compared to all 66 countries, ranking 23rd. However, COVID-19 handling was among the least effective, ranking 47th on the GRWI list.

Best at Physical and digital infrastructure: Denmark

From the perspective of the “best in the Europe region,” Denmark has the most advanced digital and physical infrastructure.

However, among 66 countries, Denmark is only 4th in the dimension. 3rd rank belongs to the United Arab Emirates, Singapore ranks 2nd, and South Korea is the best-performing country in the category. 

Room to grow 

Denmark generally has a good rank as it holds the second-best position on the remote work Index. But there’s always space for improvement, so to become the No. 1 destination for remote workers, this Nordic country has to focus on its cybersecurity systems.

Best at Economic and social conditions: The United Kingdom

According to GRWI, the United Kingdom is the best-ranking country regarding Economic and social conditions.

Although it’s the best score in the European context, in the global ranking, the UK is second, giving 1st place to Canada. In this dimension, TOP 3 is complete with Portugal, another European country.

Room to grow 

The United Kingdom has good socio-economic conditions for residents and visitors, and its COVID handling was evaluated pretty well — 6th in the GRWI rank. However, a very average (33rd) situation is regarding Cybersecurity. Even though the infrastructure is there, response categories and legal measures need improvement to create better remote work conditions.

Excited to explore more?

Now that you’ve got a glimpse of what Europe has to offer, you can dive deeper and find your dream destination. The Global Remote Work Index is here to guide you, making it easy to choose the best country for both your career and your adventures.

Tailor your search to find a remote work haven that aligns with your needs, whether it's top-notch cybersecurity, affordability, or cultural richness. And embark on your journey to the ideal remote work destination today.

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