Global Remote Work Index 2023: methodology & data sources
Welcome to the intricate framework of the Global Remote Work Index 2023. This page takes you behind the scenes, showing you the steps we took to rate the world's best places for remote work. Learn about our detailed method and the reliable data sources that back up our rankings.
Quality assessment for safe remote work
Our index structure involved defining four distinct dimensions. Each of them combines a range of detailed attributes. They were carefully selected to evaluate the appeal of remote work effectively:
Cyber safety, which includes infrastructure, response, and legal measures
Economic safety, encompassing aspects like tourism attractiveness, English proficiency, cost of living, and healthcare
Digital and physical infrastructure, including factors such as internet quality, affordability, e-infrastructure, e-government, physical infrastructure, and co-working spaces
Social safety, including overall safety, personal rights, and inclusiveness subscores.
The selection of index dimensions and attributes was conducted stepwise.
Step 1: theoretical framework construction
We began by defining the index dimensions. This was based on an inductive approach, drawing on the experiences of individuals seeking international remote work opportunities. By considering what aspects or "dimensions" would matter most to these individuals when working abroad, we created a guiding theoretical framework for the subsequent steps.
Step 2: identification of dimensions & attributes
By recognizing four dimensions it provided us with a holistic view of the remote work landscape. Each dimension combines a range of detailed attributes, facilitating the assessment of a country's appeal for remote work.
Step 3: data sourcing & attribute selection
We used our predefined dimensions and theoretical framework as a roadmap to shape our attribute selection process and source reliable data. This approach enabled us to define and select the attributes relevant to each dimension.
Overall, the development of this index started with an understanding of the practical realities of working abroad, coupled with the data available to us. Furthermore, we carefully selected attributes to ensure they were conceptually distinct, capturing different facets of each dimension. This careful selection process helped us avoid duplication and maintain the integrity of our index.
Dimension & attribution selection rationale
Key dimension coverage
We strived to assess various aspects significant to employers and employees comprehensively. These include elements of cyber safety, economic stability, digital and physical infrastructure, and social protection. These four dimensions comprise distinct attributes, providing a robust basis for country comparison. For instance, a country's economic safety is gauged by considering factors like tourism appeal, English proficiency, cost of living, and accessibility of healthcare services.
Our methodology uniquely combines two primary elements. Firstly, it considers the quality of work infrastructure, which involves aspects of cyber safety and digital and physical facilities. Secondly, it evaluates the attractiveness of a location. This two-pronged approach provides a distinct perspective, offering insights you won't find elsewhere.
Selection of data sources
Sources for the index were selected based on three criteria:
Reliability. We only use data from recognized, credible sources. These include international organizations like the UN and World Economic Forum, respected publications such as The Economist, and reputable knowledge platforms like Oxford Insights. Furthermore, we also rely on data from previously published indices.
Recency. We prioritize using the most recent data to keep our index current and relevant. This is why it predominantly comes from 2023 and 2022. Notably, the analysis of this data for the index was conducted in the first half of 2023.
Completeness. The data used must encompass as many countries as feasible. This broad coverage is crucial as it determines the overall scope of our index.
Dimension & attribute discussion
The dimension of cyber security measures the strength of the key infrastructure, cybercrime threat response and the legal values across the countries. The overall weight of the dimension is 0.25.
To compare the infrastructure capacity , we used a country's technical, organizational, and capacity development scores from the Global Security Index. Each attribute is weighted at 0.33.
To compare cybercrime threat response , we used the Incidents and Crisis Management indicators from the National Cyber Security Index. Each attribute is weighted at 0.33.
To compare the existing legal measures among the countries, we used the Baseline cybersecurity indicators data from the National Cybersecurity Index. Each attribute's weight is 0.33.
The dimension of economic safety encompasses the different economic aspects of living and working in a particular country. It refers to the cost of living, healthcare access, easiness of communication and opportunities for quality free time. High performance in economic safety means a healthy, economically sustainable and foreigner-friendly living environment with few communication barriers. The overall weight of the dimension is 0.25.
The English proficiency level was included in the overall index to compare the ease of communication in each country. For this, we used the EF English Proficiency Index 2022. Each attribute weighted at 0.25. English-speaking countries received the maximum score, and so did countries like Jamaica, where English is a de facto official language in education and governance. This sub-dimension is also weighted at 0.25.
The cost of living level was included in the overall index – to evaluate it, we used the Numbeo Cost of living index, which was reversed to benefit the most affordable countries and weighted at 0.25.
The digital and physical infrastructure dimension measures the overall infrastructure needed for quality remote work in a country. The overall weight of the dimension is 0.25.
The Internet affordability sub-dimension combines the mobile and broadband affordability ranks. Internet affordability was calculated by measuring the length of time a person has to work to afford the cheapest mobile or broadband internet access in a country. Mobile and broadband internet affordability is weighted at 0.5 each, and the overall internet affordability sub-dimension is weighted at 0.2.
The sub-dimension of Internet quality merges the mobile and broadband quality indexes. It is weighted at 0.2. To assess the mobile quality index, we used the Digital Quality of Life Index2022, which takes an average mean of the monthly download speed from April 2021 to April 2022 in each country and divides it by the highest global average. The attribute is weighted at 0.5.
Broadband quality was also assessed using the Digital Quality of Life Index 2022, where it was calculated as the mean average speed divided by the largest speed globally. The attribute is weighted at 0.5.
The sub-dimension of e-Infrastructure links a country's ICT adoption index with the individuals using the internet in the country. The attributes are weighted at 0.5 each, while the weight of the sub-dimension is 0.2.
The e-Government sub-dimension blends two key values: the United Nation's Online Service Index, reflecting a government's digital footprint, and the AI Readiness Index, indicating a nation's preparedness to employ AI in public services. These two metrics have an equal weight of 0.5 each, while the sub-dimension overall carries a weight of 0.2 in our index.
This category incorporates both social and physical security aspects of working and living remotely. It combines the components of overall safety from crimes within a country with metrics evaluating equity and access to human rights. A country with a high social safety score has low crime rates as well as high social inclusivity, and a good standard of ensuring human rights protection. The overall weight of the Social Safety dimension is 0.25.
The Safety Index was used to compare the overall safety of each country. The value of the Safety Index is weighted at 0.33.