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Great Britain’s best (tele) commuter towns

New research from Ready Steady Store shows Bradford tops the list as the best city in the UK for flexible working.

Adapting to a new way of living and working has caused many of us to rethink our current circumstances and where we put down roots. 

If there’s one thing we’ll take away from the pandemic, it’s that we don’t need to be in the office 5 days a week. In fact, a recent YouGov survey found that the majority of people actually want to continue to work from home, at least in some capacity, even once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Similarly, more and more businesses are recognising that, in order to attract talent, flexible working and more remote roles are the way forward.

Which areas of the UK are the best for flexible working?

We decided to discover exactly where the best cities, towns and London boroughs for flexible working in 2021 are, and analysed a variety of factors including: 

  • Number of remote jobs available in a 25-mile radius
  • Life satisfaction out of 10
  • Average number of parks, public gardens or playing fields within 1,000m radius
  • % of Remote working jobs in 25 mile vicinity 
  • Number of networks offering 5G
  • Average cost of living (£)
  • Average cost of two-bed rent 

The best cities for flexible working

Infographic showing the best cities for flexible working in Great Britain

  1. Bradford – 28.3 
  2. Stoke – 28.1 
  3. Newcastle – 26.83
  4. Leicester – 26.83
  5. Leeds – 26.33

Out of all the cities in the UK, Bradford topped the list for flexible working. Given its close proximity to Leeds, which is home to corporations like Channel 4, ASDA and Sky Betting, along with its cheaper housing market, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise.  Bradford also has a lower cost of living, and a good amount of remote jobs available within 25 miles.  All cities in the top five are in the midlands and in the North of England, and rent for a two-bedroom flat is less than £700. 

The best towns for flexible working

Infographic showing the best towns for flexible working in Great Britain

Top 5:

  1. Stockport – 24
  2. Warrington – 23.75
  3. St. Helens – 23.5
  4. Blackburn – 23.5
  5. Gateshead – 21

Many of us are looking to escape to a more rural area, or away from the hustle and bustle of a city. When considering the most popular towns for flexible working, those that topped the list were all located just outside of huge cities like Manchester and Liverpool – proof that, while we’re happy to live slightly further away from urban areas, we still want to be close enough that we can pop into work as and when we fancy it. 

Similarly to cities, the best towns for flexible working are based in the North of England. Rent is much cheaper in these towns, with a two-bed apartment costing just £450 in Blackburn, which has a life satisfaction score of 7.8.

The best London boroughs for flexible working

Infographic showing the best london boroughs for flexible working in Great Britain

Top 5:

  1. Merton – 22.33
  2. Haringey – 20.66
  3. Richmond upon Thames – 20.667
  4. Bromley – 20
  5. Bexley – 19.33

It’s no secret that, even before the pandemic, London was a hotspot for flexible workers. But, with the high cost of living and expensive housing market, it’s not surprising to see that the top three most flexible boroughs are located slightly outside of the centre, in areas that feature a lot of green space and are slightly more removed from the hustle and bustle of the city itself. With a high life satisfaction score, and a huge number of parks and green spaces between them, they’re perfect for living away from the centre of the Big Smoke, but being just a short train ride away.

“With more and more businesses recruiting from a wider pool and many of us now working much more flexibly, it’s no surprise that people are taking advantage of the affordability of smaller towns and cities. What’s interesting to note, however, is that those that topped the list were all located near to major towns or cities. This is proof that it’s not just working from home that’s important, but flexibility as a whole – people want to work from anywhere, but also be able to travel into the office easily a few times a week, so it’s important they’re not too far removed from the city.” – Mehran Chania, CEO of Ready Steady Store

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