Since launching in September 2017, founder Meesen Brown has helped hundreds of women make the cross-continental leap to temporary adventures in Europe and Asia. What’s more, she’s managed to make their transition from desk-bound 9-5 to flexible remote work feel effortless, with a unique dedication to her client’s mental and physical well-being.
While a work station overlooking Balinese rice paddies or the tiled streets of Lisbon is a dream scenario for many of us, leaving the stability and familiarity of home can be challenging. Behere‘s services make it easier for women to maintain their self-care routines and rituals on the road, so that each new stop begins to feel like a home away from home. We caught up with Brown to discuss exactly how she helps women thrive no matter where they’re based.
Culture Trip: In what ways does Behere differ from other companies that facilitate remote work?
Meesen Brown: Besides the obvious difference of being solely for women, Behere is unique in providing true flexibility, that enables women to choose which locations and months they want to join. It is a more sustainable way to maintain a flexible lifestyle and connect with existing, likeminded communities in different locations. Behere is not just about meeting other people in our community, but also connecting and adding value to communities that already exist.
A key aspect of Behere is feeling like you’re actually ‘living’ in new cities as opposed to just traveling. We know how important having a comfortable home is, that’s why all our members receive private, fully furnished apartments with kitchens and bathrooms, so they have their own space to relax, cook, sleep, unwind, etc. In addition, we provide access to creative workspaces, to connect with others in each city and expand global networks. We also provide gym and fitness class access, so members can maintain their routines. Further, we have a local Community Host in each city that is a friendly face to connect with on the ground. We also organize events in each of our locations to meet other like-minded women in comfortable surroundings.
CT: I love that you include gym memberships. Why did you decide that was something you wanted to offer your women?
MB: I’ve experienced first-hand that when traveling or moving often, fitness is usually the first thing that slips from your routine – whether you’re just too busy getting organized, trying to stay on top of work, juggling a new social life or unable to find the right gym/ studio for you. I wanted to be able to provide a way to maintain your routine and lifestyle, to feel healthy, at home and productive.
Fitness is such a critical part of our routines and contributes to better overall physical and mental health. It is helpful to your overall productivity to continue your routine, especially maintaining the things that keep you balanced and “you.” Joining gyms and fitness studios is also a great way to meet like-minded people in the community and feel that you are developing a deeper connection to that city and its people.
CT: Why do you think there’s such a demand for female-focused experiences right now?
MB: I think women now, more than ever, value flexibility and are embracing it more. With the 9–5 work structure becoming an old paradigm—riddled with sexual harassment, unequal pay, sexism and lack of inclusiveness—women are looking for ways to live and work on their own terms. Whether it’s because they’re sick of toxic work environments, don’t resonate with the 9-5 or just want more autonomy, more and more women are choosing flexible lifestyles.
I think creating an opportunity and supportive infrastructure for women to feel safe and comfortable in new environments is crucial. With this, women feel much more open to stepping outside the box and experiencing new places, people and cultures. Women also see the value in creating real connections with others, and having a space to feel comfortable and confident doing so. Additionally, there’s a heavy emphasis being placed on the value of experiences over things, and women are playing a major role in this, choosing to travel more, and invest in opportunities that provide them with more long-term happiness and fulfillment.
CT: In what ways do you feel Behere is helping women readdress work/life balance?
MB: Work-life balance is a tricky phrase, one I believe really doesn’t exist. It has become ‘work-life’ integration and figuring out how we can better integrate our work with our lives, in a healthy way. With 50% of the American workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020, we can see the need to find a flexible solution that fits our needs.
Embracing flexibility gives women the opportunity to create lifestyles that better meet their needs and wants. Why be stuck in a cubicle, emailing people across the hall, when you could be working from a cafe in Barcelona or answering emails from a workspace in Thailand? We know great work can be done from anywhere, and giving people the flexibility and freedom to follow their desires and do this, will reward companies exponentially. Behere helps women find this work-life ‘balance’ through providing a healthy, flexible foundation in new cities. It enables women to create lifestyles they truly love, while exploring cities around the world and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.
It also gives women the opportunity to see that there is more in life than simply work and that having a life they love—one filled with adventure, and actually living their dreams—is possible.