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Best locations to work remotely: Singapore ranks 28th globally, Malaysia ranks 41st

Best locations to work remotely: Singapore ranks 28th globally, Malaysia ranks 41st

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The Global Remote Work Index revealed the best and worst countries to work remotely in terms of four different criteria: cyber safety, economic safety, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety.

According to the Global Remote Work Index (GRWI), Singapore was ranked the 28th best country globally to work remotely.

Created by cybersecurity company NordLayer last year, the GRWI reveals the best and worst countries to work remotely in terms of four different criteria: cyber safety, economic safety, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. Under each of these dimension are various attributes (sub-dimensions) that, combined, help evaluate general remote-work attractiveness:

  1. Cyber safety: infrastructure, response capacity, and legal measures.
  2. Economic safety: tourism attractiveness, English language proficiency, cost of living, and healthcare.
  3. Digital and physical infrastructure: internet quality and affordability, e-infrastructure, e-government, and physical infrastructure.
  4. Social safety: personal rights, inclusiveness, and safety.

This year, NordLayer evaluated 108 countries compared to 66 last year. The top 10 countries for remote work according to this year’s data are:

  1. Denmark
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Spain
  5. Sweden
  6. Portugal
  7. Estonia
  8. Lithuania
  9. Ireland
  10. Slovakia

Zooming in to Asia, these were the top 10 locations for remote work:

  1. South Korea (ranked 17th globally)
  2. Japan (ranked 22nd globally)
  3. Singapore (ranked 28th globally)
  4. China (ranked 39th globally)
  5. Malaysia (ranked 41st globally)
  6. Thailand (ranked 49th globally)
  7. Vietnam (ranked 59th globally)
  8. India (ranked 64th globally)
  9. Philippines (ranked 68th globally)
  10. Indonesia (ranked 75th globally)

Click here to see the complete list. 

Singapore ranks at 28 in the general GRWI list out of 108 countries studied, particularly attributed to its top digital and physical infrastructure and e-governance. Other great aspects are Singapore’s tourism attractiveness and English language proficiency.

Still, the study identified a room for improvement in terms of Singapore's economic safety and social safety. Singapore lags behind other countries significantly in terms of inclusiveness (31) and especially personal rights (80). The country’s cost of living is also very high compared to other countries (96).

Meanwhile, Malaysia ranks at 41 globally, which the study attributes to its tourism attractiveness (10). Other great aspects are Malaysia’s cybersecurity infrastructure (7) and legal measures (3).

However, despite having a very high cyber safety rank (22), Malaysia also still has a lot of room for improvement economic safety-wise. Similarly, it also needs to improve the country’s social safety (72). Malaysia lags behind other countries significantly in terms of inclusiveness (65), personal rights (59), and particularly the safety index (75). 

How do Singapore and Malaysia fare in the region?

Compared to other countries in the region, Singapore ranked higher than Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

However, Malaysia ranked much higher than Singapore in the economic safety score (33), largely due to its lower cost of living compared to Singapore. Malaysia was also higher in cyber safety ranking (22) because of the country's strong legal system regarding cybercrime (3).

Unsurprisingly, all four countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand) ranked very highly in tourism attractiveness.

Looking at Asia, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore ranked the top in terms of overall GRWI ranking, with China following next.

Donatas Tamelis, Managing Director at NordLayer commented: "Even though some of the big tech companies recently brought their employees back to the office or introduced a hybrid work model, remote work is here to stay. It’s not just a trend — it is a fundamental shift in how we approach productivity and work-life balance. Embracing remote work empowers our teams to harness their full potential, regardless of geographical boundaries."


Lead image / NordLayer

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