Dubai has emerged as one of the best cities in the world to have a ‘workcation’, scoring high as a safe and secure destination, coupled with a robust remote working environment.

Findings by WorkMotion, a Berlin-headquartered HR platform that specialises in remote working, put Dubai in second place, after Barcelona, with an overall score of 99.9, and just 0.1 shy of the top spot. Dubai secured high points for facilitating digital nomads, earning 90.7 for its remote work infrastructure, along with an 87.8 score for its visitor experience.

The study also ranked cities based on the liveability scale where Dubai excelled once again with a 97.6 score for its safety and security, along with a 95.2 ranking for its mobility and 88.5 on the happiness index. However, the city lost out on its access to healthcare, which scored 76.5, while the soaring rents in Dubai also saw its access to housing score plummet to 65.6.

Taxes and the cost of living was also a benchmark in the study, with housing affordability taking Dubai to an 84.7 score, with the food basket scoring 77.7, while the city’s tax-free salary structure elicited a perfect score of 100.

Rise of remote work

According to the WorkMotion data, most of those taking advantage of remote work are single millennials and Gen-Zs taking workations at an average of six months in their host cities. Data also indicated that many foreign workers are now opting for going back home to work remotely.

Dubai has been growing in popularity with workers and corporates that have embraced a more hybrid work culture following the Covid-19 pandemic. The emirate was one of the first cities in the Gulf to capitalise on this growing demand for a hybrid setup by introducing its digital nomad visa scheme in March 2021.

Of the 85 global cities featured as workcation hubs, Prague landed in third place with an overall score of 99.8, followed by Madrid (99.3) and Melbourne (98). Lisbon, which has long been a leading destination for digital nomads, took 7th place with a score of 94.3, losing points over its tax policies with a score of 54.1. Marrakech was the only other city from the Middle East and North Africa region to feature on the list with a score of 70.9.

American technological research and consulting firm Gartner projecting that by the end of 2023, 39% of global knowledge workers will work hybrid, with remote workers representing 9% of all employees worldwide. 

(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Seban Scaria)