Best UK Cities for Hybrid Working in 2023

Emily O'Brien
Best UK Cities for Hybrid Working in 2023

This week's blog is a feature from our friends over at BusinessExpert. They've explored the best UK cities for hybrid working, so you don't have to!

Post-COVID-19, remote work is now not only commonplace but a basic requirement that many no longer wish to do without.

Having tasted a work-life balance that’s more in line with family needs and mental well-being, going back to a full commute is non-negotiable for many in the job market. In fact, some people even factor the ease of co-working into their decision of which city to live in.

In this piece, we will look at the best cities for hybrid working in the UK, considering factors such as accessibility, cost of living, quality of life, and technology infrastructure.

We aim to provide a comprehensive guide for individuals looking to make the switch to hybrid working and find the best city to call home.

We’ll reveal which cities might be the best if you’re looking for more than just a place to work. And also which ones you should avoid!

top uk cities for hybrid workers
Our Methodology for Assessing the Best Hybrid Working Cities

Here is what we looked at:

Quality of Life – This is the top priority for many hybrid and remote workers. It includes access to quality healthcare, safe neighbourhoods, a low crime rate, and amenities such as restaurants, parks, and shopping centres.

Cost of Living – Calculated via the prices of various everyday expenses such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, etc, a lower cost of living helps hybrid and remote workers stretch their income further and allows them to save money or put it towards travel and other experiences.

Internet Connectivity – Being flexible means little when you can’t rely on proper access to the Internet. And as 100% of hybrid workers need the Internet to work, living in a city with a High-speed and reliable connection is a must.

The number of Coworking Spaces – Working remotely can sometimes be lonely. Coworking spaces are a popular option for hybrid and remote workers, as they provide a place to work, network, and connect with other like-minded individuals. And the demand is booming.

Cultural Dynamism – As long as you can work from anywhere, you might choose somewhere you’ll have access to a vibrant cultural scene. Having access to inspiration and opportunities for personal growth is something to pay attention to.
Access to Nature – You will only ever find a worker who misses hour-long commutes and endless concrete vistas. Being close to green spaces, hiking trails, or the seaside is the best way to recharge, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being and productivity. This is why we made access to nature one of our top criteria.

Top 10 Cities for Hybrid Working in 2023
Top UK Cities for Hybrid Workers

Edinburgh, Bristol, and Liverpool are our top 3 choices for hybrid and remote workers.

(1) Edinburgh

Quality of Life: Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the UK for quality of life, with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. This combination of cultural, historical, and natural assets makes Edinburgh an attractive place to live and work. In fact, Time out named it the best city in the world in 2022.

Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, received high marks across the board, particularly in the areas of walkability (93%) and being a city where one can freely express their individuality (88%), which are higher scores than most cities globally. The city was also rated 95% for its beauty, which is hardly surprising given its central castle and abundance of lush green spaces.

Cost of Living: Edinburgh’s cost of living is relatively affordable compared to the other large cities in the UK: the accessibility of public transport (£61 for a monthly ticket) or a relatively low average rent (£1200 for a 2-bed property) are making Edinburgh an attractive option for people who want to work and live in a city with a high quality of life, but don’t want to break the bank.

Watch a great video here about the cost of living in Edinburgh:

Internet Connectivity: Edinburgh might be a secular city, but it is Superfast. With 99% of its territory having access to over 24Mbps broadband, you won’t have any trouble jumping on zoom calls wherever you are.

Culture: There is more to Edinburgh than just the narrow streets of the Old Town. Whether you’re more of a classical art lover wanting to stroll in the alleys of the Royal Botanic Garden or you wish to attend the number one arts festival in the World,  Edinburgh is made for you.

Access to Nature: Despite being a bustling city, Edinburgh is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including the beautiful countryside of the Lothians, the rolling hills of the Pentland Hills and the stunning coastlines of East Lothian. Living in Edinburgh, you won’t have any trouble escaping the city for a quick break and enjoying the outdoors.

(2) Bristol

Quality of life: Bristol, the UK’s 10th largest city, is consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the UK for quality of life

Residents of Bristol are commonly referred to as Bristolians. The city boasts a cutting-edge economy centred around innovative media, information technology, electronics, and aerospace. It has earned recognition as the top city for entrepreneurs, according to the Startup Cities Index 2015, and has also been deemed the best city to live in the UK, as reported by the Sunday Times in 2015. Additionally, Bristol was honoured with the title of the European Green Capital by the European Union in 2015.

Cost of living: A recent Budget Direct data places Bristol as the 4th best city in the UK in terms of cost of living.

In Bristol, the average monthly salary after taxes is estimated at £2,874.21. If you’re seeking inner-city living, a one-bedroom rental might cost you approximately £998.33.

Monthly utilities such as electricity, heating, and water for an 85m2 apartment are estimated at £174.53. A monthly transport pass is expected to be £73.91.

The cost of living, including the basic expenses, adds up to £1,246.77, leaving a difference of £1,627.44 when subtracted from the monthly salary.

Internet connectivity: Bristol emerged as a top-performing city for connectivity, ranking 6th in a recent Rootmetrics comparison of internet speed across the 16 most populated cities in the UK. The evaluation was based on a comprehensive analysis of median download speeds collected from four leading mobile network providers, EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone. The city’s robust connectivity, as revealed by the results, positions it as a hub for innovation and growth in the online world.

Culture: Bristol is a thriving hub of culture, having earned a spot among the top five cities in the UK for cultural and creative engagement. According to a report from the European Commission, Bristol stands among the ranks of cultural powerhouses such as Glasgow, London, Brighton, and Manchester. With its dedication to promoting art and creativity, Bristol has solidified its place as one of Europe’s leading cultural cities.

Access to nature: Bristol emerged as a top destination for nature enthusiasts in a recent study conducted by McCarthy Stone. The city was ranked fourth among UK cities, based on a combination of five key factors including the presence of rare species, National Trust sites, and access to outdoor activities. Bristol was particularly noted for its status as the UK’s star city, boasting four major stargazing locations and some of the lowest light pollution levels in the country.

(3) Liverpool

Quality of Life: It is no coincidence Liverpool was once rated the best place to live in the UK. The city combines every attribute of a major European city (historical legacy and architecture, vibrant nightlife, world-class football team…) and every perk of smaller towns, such as walkability, easy access to nature and, of course, affordable cost of living.

Cost of living: Liverpool can easily be summarised as the most affordable large city in the UK, especially if you want to buy.

In March 2022, a study by Halifax placed Liverpool in the 15th position of the most affordable cities in the whole country. The ratio between the average house price (£197 000 VS £357 000 in England and Wales on average) and the average salary (£36 000 VS £40 000 for the rest of the UK) makes it one of the very best places to buy property.

Internet connectivity: Regarding speed, Liverpool compares to its star player Mohammed Salah: it is way above average. The undergoing a £39M investment for a full-fibre gigabit network across the city will guarantee cutting-edge speeds to most of its residents and businesses.

Culture: Liverpool is home to numerous world-class cultural institutions, such as the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Albert Dock, and the Walker Art Gallery.

The city is renowned for its musical heritage, mainly its association with the Beatles, which attracts fans worldwide. The annual Liverpool International Music Festival, the Liverpool Biennial, and the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival are just a fraction of some of the major cultural events that take place in the city, showcasing the diversity of its art scene.

The designation of Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture in 2008 has significantly impacted the development of its cultural scene: the growth in tourist activity and investments has helped Liverpool rise among the most influential cities in the country.

Access to nature: The North-West region is home to the happiest campers in the country. This says a lot about the quality and diversity of natural spaces surrounding Liverpool.

Liverpool is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is close to many areas of natural beauty, including the Lake District, the Wirral Peninsula and the Peak District.

So if you're a remote worker and you're looking for somewhere to put down roots, just know you've got plenty options. Luckily, our Bristol workspace, DeskLodge House, is perfect for remote workers - why not pop in for a tour?

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