Working two days a week, I shortly want to mention how my experience was about being at office in Finland and also some differences between Finnish and Turkish work-life that I observed during 3 months of journey.

Finnish people do love their coffee.

The day always starts with fresh coffee not only at home but also at work. Whatever tea is to Turkish people, I can say coffee is the same for Finnish people.

In the offices, there is usually ”coffee break” that every employee gathers around with their coffee and chit-chat before starting the workday. These talks usually relax one in my opinion because having laughter all together boosts the motivation so that you can focus on your work more afterwards. In Turkey, you might not see this kind of routine in every work place. Also, the breaks are usually for smoking, which is when people might get together outside.

Conversations during the chit-chat in Finland are never as interfering as in Turkey. In Turkey, sometimes you might get some detailed questions about your own private life, or a questions that you think it is too early to ask from someone you have just met. In that aspect, personal space is the key in Finland.

Moreover, these chit-chats do not guarantee that you are about to be very close friends. In other words; while it is really easy to get close and start friendship by sharing more to each other in Turkey, it might not be as easy in Finland. Based on the culture in Turkey, colleagues tend to meet outside go to places together more and by this way they try really hard to get closer to build a friendship.

Not Mr./ Ms. or Mrs.

Another thing that I have observed among colleagues is how they address to each other, which is also another aspect of culture certainly. No matter what is the difference between the ages/positions, people are usually addressed by their names contrary to how it is in Turkey. As in Germany, colleagues should consider some differences in age/position at work before addressing anyone by only their name in Turkey.

Another difference and what is really important to Finnish people and also a fact culturally in general, is the punctuality. By this, I do not mean it is not important to Turkish people but as it is well known, in Turkey, it is much more crowded and there is almost always traffic, which might be sometimes difficult to able to catch events on time. However, snow might seem like a bit of a problem for Finland, in fact, it is not. Even though the roads might be slippery sometimes, they never get blocked or unavailable.

It is never difficult for a Finn to cycle to work in snowstorm with their philosophy of Sisu, which is something that Turkish people would find really difficult to do due to the climate / lifestyle.

Life in Finland is much more relaxed and it is not that hectic at all in this respect. Also, same thing can be said about working hours in Finland. In Turkey, work life and working hours cannot be considered the same because it is usually working late hours with stress, trying to deliver projects before due date, or being asked to do more shift than 8 hours in so many cases in Turkey, while there is no such big surprises in work-life in Finland. If there is, then you earn what you deserve in better ways compared to working extra hours in Turkey.

Another thing I noticed how many meetings can fit in a day and how important they can be to Finnish people. When the pandemic started, almost all the meetings, even teaching, became online but when it slowed down and the world went back to ´new normal routine´, those online meetings lost its importance in Turkey and again turned into face to face. I cannot say the same thing for work-life in Finland yet since ´the new normal´ meaning Working Online still remains for many. Online or face to face, I also noticed that meetings might last a lot longer than the ones being held in Turkey with more discussion time.

Furthermore, it is very okay to be standing and working that way in the office in Finland. It is usually considered as ”desk job” in Turkey where you sit in front of computer for long hours and get the work done. Speaking of desks, it is very popular to have ´adjustable desks/tables´in Finland at schools / offices etc. It means that you can adjust the height of your table higher or lower, which is super practical.

When you work in such places, it is certainly easy for one to say; work environment can be very relaxed and entertaining compared to many work environments in Turkey. In general I can say; even though you might be mistaken or make a mistake about what your task, the stress that is usually in the work life of Turkey does not exist in Finland. In this respect, respect is always mutual.

And lastly…

If you are a foreigner like me speaking English; you are never lost thanks to Finnish people and their language skills. Learning Finnish might be challenging or sometimes it might not be easy to say what you truly want to say but knowing that whenever you switch to English, the person in front of you understands you and the communication still goes on.




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Hi are you interested in living and working in Seinäjoki?

Portti Anu
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