What Makes a Great Work-from-home City?

Woman works from home using fibre internet


Cape Town is rated among the world's best work-from-home locations. But what exactly constitutes the ideal setting for remote work, and which other South African locations tick the boxes?


By 2025, Vox estimates that 70% of the global workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, full-time remote work has already become a reality, and South Africa's connected towns and cities are reaping the rewards.


Case in point: Big 7 Travel recently named Cape Town as one of the '50 Best Places for Remote Working in 2021'. The Mother City came in at a (slightly less than) chart-topping #42, based on its sh'wow scenery, quirky neighbourhoods and markets, and its 'incredibly connected expat and digital nomad scene'. The site did, however, make reference to the city's sometimes 'iffy Wi-Fi'. (Good thing there's a Home Fibre comparison tool for that...)


Among its rating criteria, Big 7 Travel looked at cities that offer affordability and stable internet access. Other variables included cities that have the coolest co-working spaces, as well as countries that offer specific digital nomad visas (a.k.a remote working visas).


In case you're unfamiliar with the term, digital nomads are remote workers who frequently travel to and work in different locations, often around the world. Basically, they're living the dream. Having recently launched a Digital Nomad Remote Working campaign, which includes plans to offer digital nomad visas, Cape Town is already capitalising on its appeal to this group. Whether said nomads are domestic or foreign travellers, they're widely seen as the future of the visitor economy.


What makes the perfect work-from-home location?


When you're working from home, you have a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate where 'home' is. If you keep your job no matter where you hang your hat, where will you go? Let's consider what really makes a city – any city (or town, or remote dorpie) – a great choice for remote working.


1. Fibre connection


Say goodbye to 'iffy Wi-Fi' (yeah, we're still sniffy about that). Fibre is the best choice for remote work, as it's not at the mercy of the weather. It offers higher internet speeds, and it boosts digital security while limiting disruption because of the exclusive connection it offers each customer. So when seeking your city, consider the fibre network installations in your area.


2. Transport


Digital nomads need mobility. Considering SA's less-than-streamlined public transport system, this may be a tricky one. But there are options. From the Gautrain (go, Joburg!) to George's new bus system (Go, George! Ahem... that's actually its name), the pickings aren't as slim as you may think. And if you're in it for the long haul, you can always hire a car.


3. Cost of Living


This is where we're winning. International travellers will definitely score when it comes to the relatively weaker rand. Many innovative accommodation establishments are also offering reduced rates for longer stays to revitalise their establishments amidst the pandemic.


There's also been an upswing in interest in small KZN towns like Richards Bay, said to be one of the cheapest places to live in the country; and South Coast gem Pennington, where you can buy a small house for under R1.5 million. The Eastern Cape's Gqeberha (the new name for PE), as well as the picturesque and accessible town of Port Alfred, offer some of the best and most affordable Indian Ocean lifestyles in South Africa.


4. Cafés and Co-working Spaces


Herein lies one of the reasons that Cape Town almost made it to global top 40 territory. The city's café culture and shared workspaces are the stuff of digital nomad dreams. Work in a funky atmosphere and enjoy (not-at-all-iffy) Wi-Fi, and when you're done, go explore the great outdoors!


Whether you're semigrating or staying put, you'll appreciate the importance of a stable fibre connection. Feeling like you're lost in a maze of cable options? Find the clarity you seek with Hippo's Home Fibre comparison tool.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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