Low-cost broadband and modest average house prices have made Swansea the best place in the UK for hybrid workers.
The city took the top spot in a new Hybrid Working Inclusion Index, created by business software specialist The Access Group, followed by Sunderland and Norwich.
Households in Swansea have one of the lowest occupancy rates in the country – with less than a third of homes having three or more people living there, and where average house prices are among the lowest in the country at £193,426.
Superfast broadband in Swansea – essential for hybrid working – is also one of the cheapest at £27.69 per month. In contrast, residents living in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham can expect to pay nearly £40 per month on average.
The Hybrid Working Inclusion Index was compiled using nine data points, which included house prices, salaries, heating costs and access to superfast broadband, as well as household occupancy levels, to create a total score out of 900 – with the lowest score being the most inclusive.
The 10 best locations in the UK for hybrid working were as follows:
|Location||Exclusion index score|
The results of the study showcase the opportunities created by hybrid working and the impact it could play levelling up locations not clustered around London and the Southeast.
At the other end of the scale, Slough – famously the setting for the ‘90s sitcom The Office – scored worst in the Hybrid Working Inclusion Index.
The town has the largest proportion of homes with three or more people at 57%, ahead of the next highest, Luton and Leicester (both 47%).
Slough’s proximity to London means average house prices are among the highest in the UK at £427,065 and it’s also one of the most expensive areas for super-fast broadband at almost £40 per month.
The 10 worst locations in the UK for hybrid working were as follows:
|Location||Exclusion index score|
Commenting on the findings, Claire Scott, Chief Employee Success Officer at The Access Group said: “Government figures suggest that people who worked remotely during the pandemic are overwhelmingly in favour of hybrid working – which is no surprise given the freedom and flexibility it can bring.
“But just as we saw during the pandemic, not everybody’s experience of it is positive.
“In a separate study with the University of Nottingham, we found that just under 59% of employees, many of whom work remotely for at least part of the week, are happy and with hybrid working now a permanent fixture for many, employers and employees may no longer be ‘making it up as they go along’ as they probably were at the start of the pandemic.
She added: “Hybrid working is still in its infancy and there are many questions about how it can work for both businesses and employees. Our index suggests it’s created new barriers for some people that didn’t exist when everyone was office-based, including wide regional variations.
“While employers don’t have control over house prices or broadband providers, by listening to their employees they can put ways of working in place that supports employees to get the best out of hybrid working
“The right technology gives people the freedom to choose a location where they can work most effectively, whether it be at home, the office or a coffee shop, so they don’t get left behind. By facilitating hybrid working, technology that gives people instant access to the information they need, from anywhere, can also drive social mobility, giving people access to a wider job market in major cities without the high cost of living there.”