“Dear Boss,” the letter begins. “Working remotely isn’t like going on vacation, it’s a way to increase employee morale, creativity, performance, and passion. It also allows for ‘outside the box’ experiences that provide new market insights.”
This letter, helpfully provided by brand-new startup Behere, is designed to help the harried employee who dreams of busting out of the confines of their cubicle to work and live in another country make a compelling case to their boss to let them do it. Behere offers the stats to back it up including the tantalizing twin carrots of a promise of productivity (93% of employees are more productive outside of the office because there are fewer distractions) and cost savings (an average $11,000 a year per flexible employee), according to the latest report by Global Workplace Analytics.
The concept of digital nomads is over 20 years old, and the recent surge of popularity for living and working abroad has led some companies to capitalize on the fact that most people don’t want to do the legwork required to make their living elsewhere. Startups like Roam, Outsite, and Remote Year offer varying degrees of handholding for digital nomad wannabes including accommodations and access to coworking sites. Behere aims to do all that and more–for women only.
It’s the brainchild of cofounder and CEO Meesen Brown, who’s been wander-working since 2015 after leaving a job in corporate finance and doing a stint at a nonprofit in Australia. At the latter company, she recalls, “Working alongside an amazing team of strong women, I felt inspired,” which prompted her to rethink the trajectory of her career. “I realized the best way for me to grow–both personally and professionally–was to work and learn while traveling around the world.”
She wasn’t alone. In her travels, Brown encountered other women who were meeting the not insignificant challenge of reconstructing a worklife outside their home country. And there was an opportunity to serve more. A 2016 PwC survey of 9,000 women in more than 70 countries revealed that a majority (71%) of female millennials want to work abroad during their career.
We shared a day in Lisbon today on our stories. This stunning city, built upon seven hills and filled with tiled walls, has many gorgeous lookout points, like this one. If you watched our stories you’ll know the answer to this – is Lisbon the oldest capital city in the world? . . ???? @thesandypauline
Brown observed startups like Remote Year cope with growing pains as they added more cohorts to the groups that spent each month in a different city. She also remembers what it was like to often be the only woman in a coworking space. Behere was designed to smooth some of those bumps for future female globetrotters.
As such, Behere starts by allowing members flexibility as to how long they want to stay in a given place (a minimum of one month), and then go through a verification process. “It enables you to be in total control of your life instead of being on a group tour,” she points out. Behere arranges for short-term apartments, a coworking space, and gym memberships, as well as access to a local community manager who walks them through the city and helps them connect to events, language exchange programs, and more. Brown says that each community manager speaks English and has worked abroad, and some are employed in the hospitality industry, so they are well-versed in traveler’s needs.
Monthly payments start at $1,400 with a $1,000 deposit. This is less expensive than Remote Year’s $2,000 per month fee with a $5,000 deposit, but as Behere cofounder and COO Thomas Maher says, “It’s lower than living in Manhattan or San Francisco.” And while Behere offers a place in Prague that was recently named a top city to live in for the “young and broke” by relocation company MoveHub, they also added pricier Bangkok as well as off-the-beaten-track places such as Canguu in Bali or Split in Croatia.
The important thing, Brown stresses, is community. Having dedicated workspace and a place to go to the gym can help, but meeting locals and getting involved in various efforts and events can cement that experience even more. Says Brown, “It’s a way to feel like a part [of the city] instead of just taking some great photos and moving on.”