The Rural Working Index

The UK’s Most Desirable Destinations Ranked for Remote Working

The Rural Working Index

The UK’s Most Desirable Destinations Ranked for Remote Working

As the nation’s biggest cities become increasingly unaffordable, workers and freelancers who are able to work remotely have been ditching them in favour of smaller more rural locations.  

Before lockdown, employed Brits were willing to live an average of 23 miles away from their workplace*, but now they are willing to live an average of 56 miles away, freeing them up to explore their favourite areas and potentially get more property for their money

But what are house hunters in the UK looking for in 2020? A recent study published on the HomeOwners Alliance found that one third of buyers (39%) in the market have altered their priorities post-lockdown which included  

  • wanting a bigger garden or at least access to one (63%)
  • wanting to live in a bigger home (43%)
  • access to parking space/ garage (36%)
  • a better home workspace (36%)
  • live closer to parks and green spaces (31%)
  • want to live in a rural area (30%)

But, which of the UK’s most desirable destinations are best for remote working?

From our favourite staycation destinations to tranquil coastal retreats, we’ve scored the UK’s sought-after rural destinations on what matters most when working from home**.  

The average price of a property

Using land registry data and Zoopla, we were able to determine the average price of a home in each location. A lower average property price meant it was more achievable and therefore scored higher on the index. 

Distance to the nearest town or city

Even though 46.6% of us have been able to work from home during the last six months, there will be times when a commute into the city will be required. As such, the distance was scored as a work from home suitability factor. 

Home suitability

We looked at the availability of larger homes (3+ beds), with a garden, home office space and off-street parking to createthe home suitability score. 

Connectivity score 

A recent poll by YouGov discovered that 35% of broadband users in the UK have been dealing with slow broadband during lockdown, so we looked at OfCom to discover if fast broadband was available in these rural locations. 

Clean beach score

For the coastal destinations in the study, we scored them based on the bathing water quality in the area. We counted all beaches and bodies of water rated ‘excellent’ by the Environment Agency. 

Could you work remotely from your favourite staycation destination?  

Taking the UK’s most popular staycation destinations, we scored them across the nine elements that matter most to remote workers**.

The Rural Working Index

Brixham in Devon tops the list due to their affordable houses with space for the whole family. The town can offer a lot of recreational activities, from restaurants looking out to sea to the annual pirate festival, there’s plenty to do. 

Rathlin Island came in last due to poor internet availability. The benefits of being on an island are still great, and it boasts excellent hiking opportunities, however, getting to and from your home from the mainland can be difficult.

Rural relocations: village retreats ranked

Taking a list of the UK’s prettiest villages***, we scored each one based on its suitability for a work from home lifestyle. From broadband speed to home office space, here’s how each village scored. 

The Rural Working Index

The best village location for rural working is Rye in East Sussex, with low priced housing and a wide array of things to do, according to user reviews on TripAdvisor, this village is both rural and happening. 

Plockton in Scotland is the lowest scorer on this list, we couldn’t find any properties in the area that listed an office as part of the property description, which suggests Plockton is not the best destination if you’re looking to make a move to work from home.

The Best Coastal Hideaways for Remote Workers

Bournemouth in Dorset is an extremely high scorer, topping the list of coastal destinations for remote working. Properties within Bournemouth have features perfect for remote working, scoring high for office space and speedy WiFi. With coastal destinations excellent bathing water is a high priority, luckily Bournemouth tops the list with a number of beaches rated ‘excellent’ nearby****.

The Rural Working Index

Camber situated within East Sussex is the lowest scoring place within this list, holding a score of 28, this destination does not have many properties suited for remote working and there is little to do outside of work. 

Live where you Love

According to data from Zoopla**, these are the most affordable locations in the UK right now. 

But are they any good for employees wanting to work from home? Here’s how the most affordable areas in the UK scored based on their work from home credentials.

The Rural Working Index

City Slicker vs Rural Renegade – Which offers the best value for money?

Relocating to the UK’s most desirable locations could save you thousands of pounds, but which locations could save you the most? We’ve taken the five most desirable locations for rural relocations and worked out how much you could save when moving from the nearest big city.

The Rural Working Index

Life outside London – The most popular destinations for London’s expats

There are thousands of Londoners jetting off around the world looking to start a new life in a new country, but which destinations are they picking? Our recent survey discovered the top destinations for Londoners looking for a fresh start!

Life outside of London diagram

Considering a rural relocation?

Here are Emoov’s top tips for making sure a rural relocation run as smoothly as possible:

1. Do your research and ask lots of questions
Whilst you might already have an idea of the area you’d like to move to, it’s worth doing your homework to make sure it’s right for you.

You could start online by joining a Facebook group or forum in the area. See what people already living in the location are saying, as well as signing up for newsletters from community groups in the local area. It’s also worth setting up a Google Alert for the area you’re considering, these will land in your email inbox whenever there is any news published online about the location.

Make a list of pros and cons about different areas on your list and compare the cons to the area you’re currently living in. This can help you make a practical decision, without emotions getting in the way.

2. Book a staycation in the area
If possible, taking a short break or holiday in your target area will give you a true taste of rural living. Explore the area and try to speak to locals who may have some wisdom to share about the practicalities of living in the area.

3. Have you considered renting before you buy?
If you are struggling to find the perfect rural retreat in your preferred area, it might be worth renting for a while to give you plenty of time to find the right property. This way, you’ll also be in a very strong position to make an offer as you’ll have no chain and can negotiate.

4. You will have to make some adjustments
If you’re moving from the bright lights of a big city, you’ll be used to the hustle and bustle, but a rural location often comes with a slower pace of life so that is one adjustment you may have to consider.

You may also have to rely on your car more frequently as public transport might not be as frequent as you’re used to in the city.

5. Don’t forget to enjoy the process
If moving to the countryside is something you have always dreamed of then don’t let the tricky aspects ruin the fun for you. A change of pace and a change of scenery is just what you might need.


Methodology and Sources:

Taking seed lists of the UK’s most desirable living locations, we’ve scored them based on the elements that matter most to remote workers. 

  1. Distance to Town/City (miles) (Via Gomapper)
  2. Commute cost saved per day via car return (Via Journey Price)
  3. Average House Prices APP/Value (Zoopla)
  4. Homes with a Garden (Via RightMove)
  5. Homes with 3+ beds (Via RightMove)
  6. Homes with an office space (Via RightMove)
  7. Things to do (via TripAdvisor)
  8. Off-Road Parking Space eg: Drive (Via RightMove)
  9. Fibre Available (% of properties in the local area who can access fibre broadband via OfCom Connected Nations Report Summer 2020. 

Each location can score a possible 10 points for each criteria, with an overall score of 90 to reveal which of the UK’s new property hotspots are the most suited to a work from home lifestyle.  

Top overseas locations for remote working Londoners taken from OnePoll who surveyed 470 employed people in London between 07/09/2020 and 16/09/2020. 

Sources:  *