Best cities and towns for flexible work revealed


With half of UK workers saying they would quit if denied flexible working once the restrictions ease, a new report has revealed the best cities, towns and London boroughs for flexible working in 2021.

The Flexible Working index* found that Bradford is the best city for flexible work, Stockport the best town, and Merton the best London borough for a balance between working from the office and working from home. This comes after the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, called for employers to ‘normalise’ flexible working.

As people want to be able to work from where they work best, the study looked at:

  • % of jobs within 25-miles open to remote work
  • The cost of living (£)
  • Life satisfaction score
  • Amount of green space within 1,000m radius
  • Average rental cost of a two-bed flat
  • Number of 5G networks

Analysts created a weighted score for all points, which then gave each city an average score on its benefits for flexible working. Two-bed flats were considered as RightMove revealed that there has been an increase in interest for two-bed flats, with people needing extra space for an office.

Out of all of the cities, 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 top 5 cities are:
1 – Bradford
2 – Stoke on Trent
3 – Newcastle
4 – Leicester
5 – Leeds

For towns, Stockport, Warrington and St. Helens were named the best, suggesting that Northerners have it better for flexible working.  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.

The top towns for flexible working are:
1 – Stockport
2 – Warrington
3 – St. Helens
4 – Blackburn
5 – Gateshead

For London boroughs,Merton, Haringey and Richmond-upon-Thames topped the list, with a high number of parks nearby, high life satisfaction scores and reasonable rent.

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.

The top London boroughs for flexible working are:
1 – Merton
2 – Haringey
3 – Richmond upon Thames
4 – Bromley
5 – Bexley

Mehran Charania, Director of Ready Steady Store, said: 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.”

*Conducted by Ready Steady Store


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