Feature: Turkey sees boom in coworking spaces amid COVID-19 pandemic, rising prices

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ISTANBUL, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkey is experiencing a boom in coworking spaces, a cost-effective and innovative alternative to the conventional offices, providing a unique opportunity for their users to socialize amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and rising prices.

In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and financial hub, thousands of freelancers, startups, and businesses have adopted the shared working space concept in the past five years.

Turkish entrepreneur Suleyman Coruh believes that "hybrid working is the new normal." He is the director of Plazacubes, a company that offers shared offices in Istanbul, the capital city of Ankara, and the western city of Izmir.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed workers indoors in virtual workspaces, but employers have noticed that it had also eroded the company culture," he told Xinhua.

"As an alternative to the conventional office, we offer a modern workplace, a place for people to connect with their peers, to exchange ideas and thus to end a recluse way of working," he told Xinhua.

His company is the first in Turkey, providing shared office spaces since 2006. "The business is booming, and now there are around 300 companies in this sector," Coruh stressed.

The sharp depreciation of the Turkish currency in 2021 has also pushed many firms and freelancers towards a cheaper option.

"When a client signs a lease, it is shielded from price increases in utility, furniture, and construction. We offer them an entire package, so they only need to come with a laptop, that's all, and the coffee is included," the businessman smilingly added.

Electricity and natural gas prices have seen major hikes in recent months in Turkey, which is heavily reliant on energy imports.

Plazacubes's clients include many multinational firms, such as the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, which is renting an entire floor in one of their Istanbul locations.

"Chinese people are very dedicated to their work, and we offer our services to several Chinese companies who are happy to work with us," he added.

Yalcin Boncuk, the information technology director at Plazacubes, said that the hybrid work model gained momentum over the last few years.

Coworking has become a top choice for those seeking increased flexibility in how and where they work, he noted, adding that small startups and big multinationals can work side by side in a relaxed environment.

Selin Diner, an interior designer, has been using a coworking office since 2018. She said it was one of the best professional decisions she ever made.

"I have found friends here who work like me, and we take part in yoga classes together in the complex," she told Xinhua from her office in the Maltepe district, Istanbul.

"The center is very spacious with a peaceful atmosphere. Working there is very enjoyable for me because there's a real community," she said.

Diner explained that she pays monthly rents to the office, which is much cheaper than renting an entire office and buying office electronics and supplies.

"Rather than signing a lease for an office that's years-long, you can rent an office month to month, and if you want to change a location in the city, you easily can," Diner added. Enditem

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