Top 10 UK cities for remote work in 2022

A home-working option is the new must-have policy for employees - but is there the infrastructure to support it? Here’s our top UK cities for the modern remote worker.

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For today’s entrepreneurs, ‘work from anywhere’ policies mean even the most rural settings could birth a global franchise.

Still, there is still one foe to conquer in the fight for remote work – and its name is Broadband.

As any small business owner can tell you, download speeds have a huge impact on the stresses and successes of SMEs.

Our experts carried out extensive research into the top ten cities for remote working as part of our Startups Cities Index 2022.

The below results are based on three major considerations: broadband speed, 4G mobile coverage, and 5G preparedness. 

10. Birmingham

Birmingham, UK.

Otherwise known as England’s second city, Birmingham is also the centre of the government’s rail improvement plans with the creation of HS2.

Still, we think the city is already well-connected for digital workers. It was one of the first UK cities to gain access to the 5G network, and scored well for fast and unlimited mobile broadband with 4G.

One title Birmingham will be less happy about taking is for slowest internet speed. Brum’s business owners should research the best small business broadband providers to be able to match the superfast speeds achieved by others in this list.

9. Hull

Hull

Despite its ninth placing, Hullensians are quite far removed from Birmingham when it comes to broadband speed.

The city that gave the world the boiled sweet is now proving its ingenuity in other ways. Indeed, Hull boasts the fastest average internet speed in the UK according to our results.

However, it’s let down by slower than average 4G connectivity, meaning it might be great for home working, but less suitable for those wanting a good small business phone system setup.

8. Leicester

Leicester

Located smack bang in the middle of England, it might not surprise many that Leicester’s best digital area is mobile coverage.

One of the biggest pain points of a remote worker is dialling into crackly Zoom calls on a dodgy phone line. Many have even started looking for low-cost budget conference phones to ease the issue. Luckily, that won’t be a problem for Leicesterians.

The burial place of Richard III came an impressive fourth-place in our ranking of the top cities for 4G coverage – now that really is fit for a king.

7. Bristol

Bristol

Bristol is a thriving technology hub in the South West that has birthed many successful tech startups including Startups-100 listed company Virti.

Supporting this kind of exciting growth requires strong digital infrastructure. So far, the city is providing, coming third in our ranking for internet speed.

That being said, Bristol’s 4G coverage was revealed to be slightly weaker, coming in at fifteenth overall.

6. Newcastle

Newcastle

In sixth place is the beautiful port city of Newcastle, and in true Geordie fashion the area storms ahead to score highest overall for 4G mobile coverage.

Newcastle also came top of our Cities Index 2022 for leisure, thanks to its huge number of retail and hospitality businesses. The city’s fantastic 4G connectivity is a huge benefit to local shops, cafes, and bars.

Customer transactions dramatically speed up when using 4G-supportive small business POS systems, while payments can be taken almost anywhere.

5. Brighton

Brighton

It might be best known for its famous pebbled beaches and gorgeous coastline. But it turns out that Brighton comes out better for surfing the internet than the waves.

The city is a favourite for vloggers and YouTubers and we think it’s obvious why. Brighton comes second for average internet speed and fourteenth for 4G capability.

Given that a large proportion of its population commutes to offices in the capital, we think Brighton is a particularly good spot for small business video conferencing. You can stay connected, without sacrificing those delicious seaside views.

4. Nottingham

Nottingham

Known for its beautiful green forests and natural landscape, Nottingham’s position as the fourth best-connected digital city might surprise some.

Residents have plenty of choice when it comes to broadband providers, with Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT, Plusnet and Sky all offering fibre services – and for some of the best business broadband pricing packages.

3. Coventry

Coventry

Coventry City Council has invested heavily in the city’s digital infrastructure as part of its Digital Coventry strategy. As our results show, it’s paying off. Coventry came in second place for 4G connectivity.

Cloud computing, high speed internet connections, public Wi-Fi and 4G are all fully supported, making it simple for remote and mobile workers to carry out their business.

Coventry also impressed us in the Startups Cities Index 2022 for green credentials – helpful for those looking for ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint.

2. Glasgow

Glasgow

Our runner-up is Glasgow, a global financial and business services hub also known as the world’s friendliest city.

One of the biggest drawbacks to telecommuting is that it can lead to siloed team working, requiring small businesses to invest in small business collaboration software.

Glasgow was our highest-scoring city overall for infrastructure. Its efficient transport system is an excellent example of the way the city provides not just digital support, but also outstanding road networks to help freelancers or those working on-the-go.

1. Liverpool

Liverpool

Our champion, and the top city for remote working in 2022, is Liverpool.

The Beatles’ sang about ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, and Liverpool’s fantastic mobile coverage and superpowered fibre broadband means it definitely won’t.

Liverpool City Region is enjoying a tech renaissance, powered by the many digital startups that have blossomed – in particular those that cluster around the trendy Baltic Triangle or leading science and technology campuses like Sci-Tech Daresbury.

With 5G capability, plus top five finishes for both internet speed and 4G, we think those businesses, or any engaged in hybrid or distance working, are well catered for.

Final thoughts

As the above guide shows, ‘work from anywhere’ is more than a company policy. Staff need to be properly supported with the right digital infrastructure and remote working technology to triumph outside of the office space.

The above locations are all examples of local authorities that are doing it right, with supercharged download speeds and extensive 4G coverage. For small businesses or entrepreneurs based outside of the above 10 cities – don’t worry.

Our guide to the top website builders for small businesses highlights the systems with the fastest server response time, like our top-rated builder: Wix.

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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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