A significant factor in expats' integration into Turkish society is acclimating to and thriving within the country's professional landscape. With Turkey emerging as a budding player in the global market and attracting foreign investments, the demand for expat talent is growing. As an expat seeking to carve your professional niche in the Turkish market, familiarising yourself with the country's work culture, business etiquette, and communication styles is essential. You must gain a clear understanding of the professional environment and develop strategies to adapt and excel in your new workspace, enabling you to experience a fulfilling and rewarding career in Turkey.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the Turkish work culture, discussing various aspects such as work environments, business etiquette, communication styles, and practical tips for adapting and flourishing in your new professional setting. This guide aims to provide expats with the information they need to transition smoothly into Turkey's work culture and establish a successful career in their chosen field.

At Ikamet, we understand the challenges expats face when moving to a new country and navigating an unfamiliar work culture. We’ll help you overcome these challenges by providing resources to acquaint you with your new professional environment better. So, continue reading and confidently navigate and thrive in Turkey's work culture as you embark on an exciting new chapter in your life and career.

Diving into the Turkish Work Environment

As an expat in Turkey, acclimatising to the country's work environment is crucial for an enriching professional experience. You must understand the following to adapt well to the overall work environment in Turkey.

1. Business Hierarchy

In the Turkish work culture, the organisational structure is generally hierarchical, with clear lines of authority and decision-making processes. Management tends to be directive, with subordinates respecting and following instructions from their superiors. As an expat employee, be prepared to abide by the organisational structure and report to designated authorities within your company.

2. Work Hours and Holidays

The typical workweek in Turkey consists of 40 hours, usually from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 6 pm. Lunch breaks typically last for an hour and are common between 12 pm and 1 pm. However, work hours may vary depending on the industry and regional customs. Expats should also be aware of Turkish national and religious holidays, as these occasions often lead to business closures.

3. Professional Attire

Formal business attire is the norm in Turkish offices, with men wearing suits and ties and women wearing modest dresses, skirts, or suits. Expats should strive to dress professionally and conservatively to respect the dress codes in their workplace.

Mastering Turkish Business Etiquette

Understanding and implementing proper business etiquette is essential for successful professional relationships in Turkey. Take note of the following:

1. First Impressions Count

In Turkey, making a positive first impression is crucial in forming successful professional relationships. Always introduce yourself with a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Use formal titles, such as "Bay" for Mr. and "Bayan" for Mrs., when addressing your colleagues and business associates.

2. Punctuality and Time Management

While punctuality is valued in Turkish work culture, time management may be more flexible, with meetings and deadlines occasionally not adhered to strictly. Expats should strive to maintain punctuality in their professional lives while understanding that flexibility might be necessary in certain situations.

3. Navigating Business Interactions

Turkish business interactions tend to be relationship-driven. Establishing rapport and trust with your colleagues and business partners is essential. Be prepared to engage in small talk and informal discussions before diving into business matters. Also, be mindful of the Turkish cultural values of politeness, respect and hospitality during your interactions.

Understanding Communication Styles in Turkey

Effective communication is crucial in any professional setting, and expats must understand the preferred communication styles in Turkey. Let’s discuss the role of context, body language, and the importance of the Turkish language in helping you communicate proficiently in your new workspace.

1. High-Context vs. Low-Context Communication

Turkey has a high-context communication style, meaning that understanding the implicit meaning behind spoken words is essential. Communication is often indirect, and non-verbal cues play a crucial role in getting the message across. Expats should be attentive to subtleties and implicit meanings in conversations.

2. The Role of Body Language

Body language is an essential component of communication in Turkish work culture. Ensure you maintain eye contact to demonstrate respect and sincerity. However, avoid excessive or exaggerated gestures that may be perceived as disrespectful.

3. Importance of the Turkish Language

While there might be a growing number of English speakers in Turkey, acquiring a basic understanding of the Turkish language will improve your communication with colleagues and strengthen your cultural integration. Taking language courses or participating in language exchange initiatives can help you develop your language skills.

Adapting to the Work Culture as an Expat in Turkey

Incorporating the following practical tips can help you adapt to the Turkish work culture more smoothly and ensure a successful transition.

1. Take Cultural Training Courses

Participating in cultural training courses can be extremely helpful in understanding the customs, values, and behaviours expected in Turkish workplaces.

2. Seek Mentorship and Guidance

Finding a local colleague or mentor who can offer insights into workplace practices and culture will significantly aid your adaptation.

Embrace the Vibrant Turkish Work Culture with Confidence

Experiencing Turkish work culture can be a fascinating and rewarding journey for expats. By gaining a thorough understanding of the work environment, business etiquette, and communication styles and implementing well-informed adaptation strategies, you will be well-equipped to navigate and thrive in Turkey's professional landscape.

With the right tools and mindset, Turkey expats can create a successful career, embracing the country's vibrant culture and lifestyle. Ikamet is your trusted partner, providing guidance and resources to facilitate a smooth and enjoyable expat experience in your new home.