This week, the Sunday Times named Stamford in Lincolnshire as the UK’s best place to live. But how does a sleepy market town that initially missed the railway and, arguably, was at its economic peak several hundred years ago, get to be the most attractive place to live in the country?
Clearly, it’s a beautiful and historic part of the world – but the cruel reality of life is that the majority of us have to work to live. And it would be hard to describe Stamford as an industrial metropolis.
Perhaps they’re all commuting somewhere else?
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average Brit does have the seventh-longest commute in the developed world so it’s feasible they’re going further afield. However, that average commute is still only 40 minutes.
Maybe, the answer then, is that proximity to work is no longer the defining influence on where people live that it used to be. Certainly, there’s a growing trend for knowledge workers to move away from city centres.
During the industrial revolution, workers flocked to the centres of industry, with cities like Liverpool growing their population by 60% in just 20 years. The same city, even allowing for the overall explosion in the number of people living in the UK, has seen population shrink by 1.4% in the ten years to 2009.
A study carried out by Mozy recently highlighted that the average boss is happy for their employees to spend a quarter of their week working from home. 73 per cent of bosses are relaxed about employee time keeping and a typical boss will overlook regular lateness of around half an hour, content that their employees start their working days long before they arrive at their desks.
Cloud access tools are enabling workers to be productive team members of a business team regardless of where they are – and this is a more-likely reason why we Brits are selecting towns like Stamford and fellow high scorers, Kendal, Wye and Thornbury as our ideal homes.
What was once remote and impractical is now a remote worker’s dream.