Spain's productivity problem

The way people work and live in Spain is very different from life in North America. The typical day for a Spanish worker includes a lunch break around 2pm that lasts about two hours, dinner at 10pm and prime time television at midnight. Their work culture is completely their own, but this might all be changing very soon.

Spain is currently in the process of recovering from a big hit to their economy, and that process might just include adapting to the schedules of workers in other European countries. This, however, would force a huge change to the lifestyles of Spanish people.

A new schedule would keep lunch hours to about an hour, getting rid of the iconic siesta altogether. And, the flexible workday would be replaced by a more traditional 9-5.

Another tactic being discussed is to turn their clocks back by an hour. Spain is currently in a timezone with France, Germany and Italy. The switch would put them in the timezone with Portugal and Britain, which is in tune with their natural geographical slot.

"We want to see a more efficient culture," said Ignacio Buqueras, an advocate for switching Spain's timezone. "Spain has to break the bad habits it has accumulated over the past 40 or 50 years."

While the afternoon siesta has deep roots in the Spanish workforce, many are complaining that these long lunches interrupt the workday and force employees to work late into the evening. This gets in the way of family life and an overall work-life balance.

Buqueras thinks changing the Spanish schedule would be great for families and help the country in their economic recovery. "If Spain had a rational timetable, the country would be more productive," he said.

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