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Say Goodbye To Spain's Glorious Three-Hour Lunch Break (citylab.com) 162

An anonymous reader shares a report: Is the typical Spanish daily schedule about to change forever? For decades, campaigners in the country have complained that the average Spaniard's habit of keeping extremely late hours and taking delightfully long lunch breaks was making everyday life harder for citizens. This week, change could finally be on the way, as 110 professional bodies in Catalonia have signed up to a plan to change the region's daily timetable by 2025, shortening the classic three-hour lunch break so that employees can finish work earlier in the evening. Such a change would radically reshape ordinary people's lives -- and controversially, it could drive a wedge between Catalonia and the rest of Spain, where the national government supports similar changes (and has adopted a shorter break for public offices) but hasn't yet fixed a timetable for action. You could call the plan an end to national harmony, a blessed release for hard-pressed workers, or an attack on the Spanish way of life. Whatever you do, however, don't call it the end of the siesta. That's because the beloved and much-misunderstood Spanish tradition of the afternoon nap more or less died out decades ago. What remained is a highly distinctive national timetable not found in any other European country, where it has often been read as a peculiarly exotic form of madness. The average Spanish working day is certainly unusual in shape. After starting work between 8 and 9 a.m., hungry workers hold out for a lunch break scheduled as late as 1:30 or 2:30. As if in compensation for this long wait, many then stay off-duty for a break of up to three hours, filling it with a protracted multi-course lunch and maybe a stop at a "nap bar." Most stores and many businesses close down until the late afternoon, before a final burst of office hours between 5:30 and 8 (or sometimes 4 to 7). Spaniards then head home at an hour when most people in other countries are cleaning up their dinner dishes, rarely getting food on the table any earlier than 10 p.m. This pushes bedtime past midnight for many.
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Say Goodbye To Spain's Glorious Three-Hour Lunch Break

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  • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:46PM (#54847713)

    Because on the surface it sounds completely insane. Stretching out the work day like that so you're not off until well past nightfall most of the year doesn't sound at all appealing.

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:48PM (#54847733) Homepage

      What's insane is that they decided they still need an 8-hour day. Why not 6 hours with a 3-hour break in the middle? I bet it would be more productive (if not at least equal) than 8 hours with a 1-hour break in the middle.

      • What's insane is that they decided they still need an 8-hour day. Why not 6 hours with a 3-hour break in the middle? I bet it would be more productive (if not at least equal) than 8 hours with a 1-hour break in the middle.

        Hell, most people in the US are working at least an 8 hour day, and not taking a lunch break, but instead eating at their desks.

        I"m glad I work from home now...yes, I eat at my "work place"...but I now have freedom to do it in my own kitchen, or if I wanna really have fun, I can fire up

        • I would not want to come back to work after a break like that either. It would also feel like two shifts.

          Regarding the rest of your post, I wish I had your life - or at least work life! I know you worked hard to get to where you are but man, your days just sound amazing.

      • by skids ( 119237 )

        What's insane is the fact that I have to take time off work to do just about everything, because other than restaurants and convenience stores, everyone works the same damn schedule. You'd think if they wanted to restructure things they'd fix that, too, instead of just switching the time of the same damn schedule.

        • This has nothing to do with the hours worked, but with the scheduling. If everyone worked 8-5 with noon-1 off for lunch, there'd be the exact same problem of no time to shop.

      • Unlike money, productivity is conserved. The amount of stuff/services society consumes has to equal the amount it produces. (Actually the amount produced slightly exceeds the amount consumed due to inefficiencies. e.g. losses during transport due to accidents. But the amount consumed cannot exceed the amount produced.)

        While creative tasks can experience increased productivity from shorter hours and longer breaks, they are the exception. The productivity of production and service jobs scales linearly
      • Why not 0 hours? I bet productivity will approach Infinity!
    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:48PM (#54847741) Homepage
      I wouldn't mind a long break in the middle of the day, and maybe a nap. Doesn't sound insane to me at all.
      • I wouldn't mind a long break in the middle of the day, and maybe a nap. Doesn't sound insane to me at all.

        I would. I have children at home to care. If I were to take long breaks, either I'd be home late (and not being able to spend time with my wife and kids), or get up very fucking early for no other reason than to have a long break in the middle of the day.

        Eh, I pass. I can see the appeal to some, though. But for me (or more precisely, my current needs), this is highly inefficient.

    • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:54PM (#54847787)

      Practice started before the invention of AC. Too hot to work, so take a nap.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        One small problem with that. The part of the day that feels hottest is about an hour after sundown as humidity rises sharply. (and ground and buildings radiate).

        A much better approach to avoid working during the hottest parts of the day is a 4am - 12pm workday. Many North American farmers and fishermen work such hours partly for this reason.

        • Your interpreting local conditions as being universal. In a sunnier, lower humidity environment it's hottest about 6 pm, while the sun is still baking and before the sunset breezes kick up.

        • by quintesse ( 654840 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @03:14PM (#54848413)

          Ehm, no it's not. You mustn't have been to Spain but I can tell you the hottest time of day is definitely around 2-5pm and in summer you shouldn't be doing any strenuous exercise outside in the sun until let's say 8pm, which is still hours before sundown, when temperatures will have gone done a lot. There are parts of Spain where just walking outside mid-day is an effort and people are most active early in the morning and in the afternoon.

          • Spain is roughly on the same latitude as the northern half of the US. Spain can get hot no doubt, but to think that the US doesn't or is cooler is pretty naiive or foolish.
            • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @06:13PM (#54849635)

              Spain is roughly on the same latitude as the northern half of the US. Spain can get hot no doubt, but to think that the US doesn't or is cooler is pretty naiive or foolish.

              As is comparing places by latitude. Climates are a complicated thing. If you want to truly appreciate it then you should check out Gran Canaria (technically Spanish but off the coast of Africa). The island is 40km wide and round. Depending where you are on the island it will either be 20deg and permanently cloudy or 37deg and never see a drop of rain.

              Likewise the UK is more northern than Illinois, but it sure as hell doesn't have an average low temperature of -10C during the winter.

              You're right of course, but for the wrong reasons.

              • I'm sitting in Chicago as we speak. Our high was 30+ C and was stickier than a middle school football practice.

                I lived in Germany in '03. I remember the French surgeon general (?) being recalled from vacation because of old people dying. Y'all just lack A/C. Miles ahead in proper building which cools though
                • Having moved from Australia to northern Europe I don't think y'all lack AC is the reason. Rather it's general adjustment to climate. People don't know what to do in extraordinary situations.

                  There's a day above 32deg here, they close the schools and the country piles onto the beach.
                  There's a day above 32deg in Australia people cancel outdoor activities and go inside to avoid the sun.
                  I can't even find SPF30+ sunscreen here.
                  In Australia Slip-Slop-Slap is something that is drummed into our heads. My European co

            • Northern spain is about the same latitude as Hokkaido, Japan. Northern spain rarely sees snow, Hokkaido routinely sees -30 degree C weather and ice floes on the ocean. Comparing by latitude isn't really valid.

              The whole of Europe is warmer than the latitude suggests, if you compare to other parts of the world, thanks to the jet stream. I guess in a similar way to N. California vs East Coast USA. Spain is famously sunny and hot during the afternoons in summer. They also have their clocks set relativel

            • by Ecuador ( 740021 )

              If you go by latitude, Barcelona is at a northerner latitude than NYC. And yet, NYC has lows as cold as -15F (I've been in a couple such winters myself there), while Barcelona has only had 1 day in the last 30 years with a "freezing" temperature (30F).
              Comparing climate by latitude is like comparing engines by their displacement (car analogy FTW!).

          • Ehm, no it's not. You mustn't have been to Spain but I can tell you the hottest time of day is definitely around 2-5pm and in summer you shouldn't be doing any strenuous exercise outside in the sun until let's say 8pm, .

            I'm from Australia and seem to manage it ok. Why are the Spaniards so soft?

        • The hottest part of the day is between 2 and 3 pm, because of thermal inertia. And now they're getting rid of the 3-hour break just as global warming is going to make it a smart move, or in some areas, a matter of life and death. A heat wave killed almost 15,000 in France [livescience.com]. Not normally a place you'd associate with death by heat.

          And it's just going to get worse, when you combine increased high temperatures and an aging population.

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          They moved to that timetable for the collection of grapes for Silicon Valley wineyards. Only when they needed the cooler temperatures for some solar charged/battery powered automation equipment.

    • I can't say for sure because I haven't delved into it but I think it's related to the siesta and climate in most of Spain. Try to practice agriculture (or other jobs like construction) at noon in Andalusia during the summer and you'll experience hell.
      • by Gryle ( 933382 )
        While it is based on climate, the practice actually originated with the ancient Romans and followed their conquest and colonization of various territories. The Italians maintain the practice under the name "riposo". In my experience, it's normally the smaller or independent businesses that maintain the practice. For example, my local butcher, grocer, and mechanic all maintain the practice, as do the smaller downtown "boutique" stores, but the chain shops in the mall and chain supermarkets don't. On the othe
    • Unless you're a bus driver with a four-hour morning shift, a four-hour break, and a four-hour afternoon shift.
      • Actually over land busses in Greece, e.g. make a 2 - 3 hours break and stop at a restaurant so the travelers can have their food and siesta and the driver, too.
        The idiots posting this article seem not to get: the siesta is for every one, except the poor sods working in a shopping mall, serving idiot tourists, who don't get it.
        So in other words: during 12:00 - 15:00 only restaurant stuff, Air traffic controllers, hospital stuff and similar people are working.

    • i don't know, it sounds absolutely fantastic to me. not having to roll out of bed super early, having more time at lunch to eat a proper meal, then time to relax before heading back into work -- letting the 'food coma' pass.

      They probably think our obsession with time is silly too.

      But really.. if something falls into the realm of a tradition, it certainly works on *some* level.

      • not having to roll out of bed super early,

        But, but, but... the summary says:

        After starting work between 8 and 9 a.m.

        which is "super early" to me. (I *get up* at 9am most days, and that's partially due to the insane parking at work. Though that's only about a half hour earlier than I used to get up, to force me to be an early-ish person.)

    • by isj ( 453011 )

      If your work is outdoors then it makes sense due to the midday and afternoon heat. This custom carried over from farmers to office work. My observation from Madrid and Rome is that if there is no AC in the office and its a hot climate/season then people tend to take a longer lunch break.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      France had a similar schedule. Shops are open 9am to 12am. Then it's lunchtime until 2pm. Then the staff are back working until 7pm. Mainly due to the mid day heat.

    • Well, it's only for public-oriented business. That's a lot of course, but far from the majority. Public offices are open usually only in the morning, as are banks. Offices do usually a rather standard 9 to 5.

      And the reason for that is convenience. Convenience for the client, of course. You can leave your office work at at about five, then go shopping till eight or nine, or go to the dentist, without having to ask for permission at work or missing a meeting.

      So the custom remains in the business where there i

    • by pz ( 113803 )

      You're forgetting that if you sleep in the middle of the day, you don't need to sleep as much at night. It isn't that the workday is taking up more of your time; it takes up just as much as it would otherwise.

      And if you're NOT sleeping in the middle of the day, but instead using the long lunch period to do stuff, then you're enjoying the day instead of sitting in an office.

    • It's because in central and southern Spain it can often be like 40C around noon. So back when people worked outdoors in farming and the like it made sense to have an extended break and only resume work when it became cooler again. Now that people do office work in air conditioned buildings it doesn't make sense anymore.

    • What the summary at least fails to mention is that Spain is in the wrong time zone. After the Spanish Revolution they adopted the same timezone as Eastern Europe. They are an hour later than France, England, etc. This is important because the people decided they weren't going to change the time they eat, so they eat an hour later and added an hour of lunch break. And low and behold, on average they say Spanish get 53m less sleep a night. I'm currently in Cartagena doing some work at Navantia. The entire sh
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This might be innocent fun for the business types, but Spain is coming apart at the seams.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:49PM (#54847745)

    The Siesta only works if you work close enough that you can go home during it. If you have to commute long distances to get to work, so that you can't realistically go home during the workday, there's literally zero reason why any rational person should want to take a 3-hour lunch, especially when 2 of those 3 hours could be spent at home with family at the end of the day.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

      The Siesta only works if you work close enough that you can go home during it. If you have to commute long distances to get to work, so that you can't realistically go home during the workday, there's literally zero reason why any rational person should want to take a 3-hour lunch, especially when 2 of those 3 hours could be spent at home with family at the end of the day.

      Yes, but Spain doesn't go with this American idea that a middle-class livestyle requires that you live in a house an hour's commute away from work so you can live as far away as possible from the poor people.

      • Yes, but Spain doesn't go with this American idea that a middle-class livestyle requires that you live in a house an hour's commute away from work so you can live as far away as possible from the poor people.

        Maybe we would if we were the size of Spain.

      • It isn't all poor people we are avoiding... only certain demographics and that is more out of self preservation or at least concern for our children's safety.
    • Take the siesta clocked in, sitting at your desk. Duh. It's like showing up, even though insanely hungover. Why would you use a sick day to be useless? Be useless on the clock, you know you have coworkers that are useless on the clock EVERY DAY.

      The trick is learning to sleep sitting up. Was my senior project in high school.

      • Once you learn to sleep sitting up with your eyes open, meetings become so much more productive.
        • One of the funniest things I ever saw was a great big dude lean over and start snoring 'at 11' while a VP was pontificating at 500 people. He wasn't clowning, he fell asleep...nobody wanted to wake him up though, it was too funny. VP just got madder and madder. Ended up with him yelling at us to wake the dude up, we still didn't really want to, but at that point he'd called us out, so we woke him up...slowly. That place sucked.

    • there's literally zero reason why any rational person should want to take a 3-hour lunch, especially when 2 of those 3 hours could be spent at home with family at the end of the day.

      Hmm...makes perfect sense if you'd rather be doing something other than even MORE time at home trapped with the wife and rug rats.

      Maybe there's a reason for stretching things out...haha.

    • In the rest of the world, people usually don't commute for hours to work :)
      YMMV.

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:57PM (#54847795)
    For a moment I thought said, "California and Spain," and I thought, "When did Cali-Mexico go back to Spain?!"
    • Well it's actually about Catalunya NOT Spain, as the separatists will tell you. They have an (unconstitutional) referendum for leaving occurring in about 6 weeks.

      • Why not let any entity secede, be it UK from EU (Brexit), Scotland or Wales from UK, Catalonia from Spain, Flanders & Waloonia from Belgium, and so on? In the case of Catalonia, would they be leaving just Spain, or the EU as well?

        • Leaving the EU would be one for the politicians and lawyers. I think their hope is to stay in the EU and keep the Euro.

          But in the Catalan case, the current constitution bans any secession, as an indivisible entity under the Spanish crown - which was said to have been agreed to for the sake of harmony with one hand tied behind one's back for fear of a return of the Falangist era.

  • Restaurant hours (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday July 20, 2017 @01:58PM (#54847805)

    One thing that always bewilders US tourists visiting large cities in Spain is that the posted hours at the typical restaurant has it closing at 5 PM, then reopening at 8 PM.

    Conversely, one can always tell if a restaurant caters to tourists: If it's open at 6 PM, it's not catering to the locals!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I remember going to dinner one night in Barcelona. We arrived around 10pm and were afraid they might be closing, as the place was nearly empty. By the end of our meal around 11, the place was packed with a line out the door!

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Not just Spain, the same was true in Greece. It was actually kind of funny for us as tourists. When we arrived in Athens at 7pm nothing was open, we were worried we wouldn't be able to find anything to eat. Turned out that by 9pm the restaurants were just starting to open again.

      Then we went in to a more touristy area, and everywhere we went the restaurants had someone on the sidewalk very aggressively trying to get our business. The only sure-fire way we found to turn them down without them chasing us down

    • Conversely, one can always tell if a restaurant caters to tourists: If it's open at 6 PM, it's not catering to the locals!

      I was at a restaurant last week in Castellon de la Plana and went to get dinner at 9:20pm. I was told politely we are welcome to sit and have drinks but the kitchen doesn't open till 10pm.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:02PM (#54847829)

    This 3-hour break was certainly a good idea pre-air conditioning. I've been to a few Middle Eastern countries that have similar practices - either they start work late, work late then eat dinner at 9 or 10:00 at night, or they'll have a similar long break during the middle of the day.

    Whatever the work arrangements, I'm guessing people who have flexible schedules have a similar issue - they're not able to stop work during the evening and not able to properly wind down. I'm very lucky that I'm not chained to the desk for fixed hours; these days I'm in systems engineering and out of the IT operations craziness except when something needs serious fixing. This is great because I'm a dad - my wife and I share the various kid appointments and appearances, but I have the more flexible job so I try to help out. This isn't so great when I miss 2 or 3 hours in the middle of the day, then have to come home and do the dad thing, and _then_ have to finish up after everyone's asleep. (It's not because someone's cracking the whip over me, but because the work piles up otherwise; much of my job involves reading, writing and trying new things out lately and I have a massive backlog of reading that never gets shorter.)

    I think the key to getting a flexible work schedule right is to not let it turn into an always-on situation, while simultaneously not being a clock-watcher. Like anything, balance is always good. I know people who work for companies with totally out-of-whack work life balance, and they can't go 10 seconds without checking their phone, email and messaging apps because someone is always trying to get a hold of them. Yes, someone always has to be on-call when you're in operations, but it can't be everybody 24 hours a day. That's a way to burn people out quick. People need contiguous, long blocks of sleep to be healthy. If Spanish people aren't able to do that because they have a 3-hour hole in the middle of their day, I can't see any reason not to change.

    • by n329619 ( 4901461 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @11:08PM (#54850769)

      Not to disagree with your main focus on flexible work schedule and how companies shouldn't be clock-watcher, but stating that the 3-hours hole could cause sleep cycle issue might actually in the opposite.

      Providing the 3-hours lunch and nap benefit Spain workers sleep cycle as humans were not meant to have long blocks of sleep. Have you ever felt in an afternoon that it feels great to take a nap? That's the body responding to the natural pattern.

      Humans were meant to have multiple shorter cycle sleeps in the day and night (Biphasic sleep / Interrupted sleep [wikipedia.org] - two periods of nighttime sleep and a nap in the day). It was until industrialization that resulted in wanting people that can work long hour none stop and thus one long hour sleep. We industrialized people sleep one long night, therefore we feel working at 10pm is stressful as we get progressively sleepy and tried. However, their nap made them more energetic thus working at 10pm is not as stressful. Their nap also increases the awake time of the workers therefore actually provide a little more time for work balance.

      So it may still be beneficial to Spain workers. However as it is incompatible with other industrialized world, like what you've said, only the working people of Spain can see if it is working and decide on whether or not they want to abandon their practice.

  • Adjustment needed (Score:5, Informative)

    by johnw ( 3725 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:04PM (#54847851)

    Bear in mind that, because Spain uses central European time, their clocks are between 1 and 3 hours ahead of what you'd get if you used a sundial. Most of Spain is west of the Greenwich meridian, and yet they use a clock time based on them being 15 degrees east of it.

    Thus, when they start dinner at 10 p.m., it's merely 10 p.m. by their oddly set clocks. They're really starting somewhere between 7 and 9 p.m.

    • Thus, when they start dinner at 10 p.m., it's merely 10 p.m. by their oddly set clocks. They're really starting somewhere between 7 and 9 p.m.

      What a peculiar idea. Clock time is entirely arbitrary, as are customary meal times. Spain's odd timezone was a political decision made during the Franco years, but the siesta/business hours custom is much older. The siesta is entirely inappropriate for almost everyone in modern, urban Spain, and will almost certainly disappear within a generation. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Catalan independence/separatism.

      • Re:Adjustment needed (Score:5, Informative)

        by johnw ( 3725 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:25PM (#54847985)

        What a peculiar idea. Clock time is entirely arbitrary,

        It's not clear what you think is a peculiar idea, but to say that clock time is entirely arbitrary is a ludicrous assertion. Clock time is always loosely based on the position of the sun. Spain is unusual in moving quite so far away from where their clocks would have been before the advent of railways required unified times.

        All I was pointing out is that the Spanish don't in fact eat as late in the evening as they appear to.

        The rest of your post doesn't seem to relate in any way to what I said.

        • Re:Adjustment needed (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lurker412 ( 706164 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:48PM (#54848187)
          Spain moved to Central European time to facilitate coordination with Germany during WWII. I believe it was in 1940. It is an hour later than what it was previously. When I say that clock time is arbitrary, I mean just that. There is nothing natural about sunrise being at 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00--it's just what we have agreed on. We could just have easily agreed that sunrise would be at 15:00, and if we had, that would seem "natural."

          You are correct that the rest of the post had nothing to do with yours, but rather was connected with the original post. I live in Spain (and since I'm retired, I do take siestas), and I find it annoying that two separate issues--Spain's geographically inappropriate timezone, and Spain's inconvenient commercial hours--tend to be conflated. It's the siesta schedule that truly affects people, not the odd timezone.
          • by johnw ( 3725 )

            Spain moved to Central European time to facilitate coordination with Germany during WWII. I believe it was in 1940. It is an hour later than what it was previously. When I say that clock time is arbitrary, I mean just that. There is nothing natural about sunrise being at 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00--it's just what we have agreed on. We could just have easily agreed that sunrise would be at 15:00, and if we had, that would seem "natural."

            Well, yes - it's arbitrary in the sense that any old time-keeping system could have been adopted. We could have made hours 83 minutes long, and each minute could be the time it takes a feather to fall 8 feet, but we didn't.

            Instead we went for a system of 24 hours in the day, with 12 noon being the time when the sun is highest in the sky. Spain is unusual in that it diverges a particularly long way from that convention.

            It seems therefore that whilst you're right to say that the human race's timekeeping sys

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          All I was pointing out is that the Spanish don't in fact eat as late in the evening as they appear to.

          Maybe not compared to a neighbouring country, but in comparison to the time they got up in the morning they sure do, and that's really the only important metric.
          The time on the clock *is* relevant if it's consistent from one end of the day to the other.

      • The siesta is entirely inappropriate for almost everyone in modern, urban Spain
        Sorry, that isutter nonsense.
        Siesta is a climate and cuktural habit thing.
        It will never go away.

        Inappropriated for what? Skype calls to USA?
        Rofl ...

    • And they are starting work somewhere between 5 and 7 a.m.
    • Thus, when they start dinner at 10 p.m., it's merely 10 p.m. by their oddly set clocks. They're really starting somewhere between 7 and 9 p.m.

      This. I just got back from Spain and at around 9:30 we were walking to dinner in time for sunset. This may not seem strange to those of you in northern latitudes, but Spain is far from northern.

  • To be honest, the current workday sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and isn't much different from my typical workday if I'm working on my own project or working the jobs I normally accept, except for the 3-hour break part, which is about 2 ½ hours longer than I usually manage.

    So an improvement, actually, over what I'm used to. I don't mind a 12-hour workday or a 7-day workweek. Working 100 12-hour days in a row is not a problem for me. On the other hand, most of the people I know would probably attemp

  • Getting off work at 8 is messed up, but it's still better than the Japanese way. They start at around 8am, break for a ~half hour lunch, and then continue working until 9, 9:30 or even 10PM. At a time most normal shift, full-time workers in the US would be watching a Seinfeld rerun before turning in, they're just sitting down to dinner. Yeah, that's messed up.

    (I've been told that Tokyo is starting to turn its back on this old way in favor of more work/life balance, though.)

  • What remained is a highly distinctive national timetable not found in any other European country

    Greece has an equivalent schedule (or did it get kicked out of Europe already?). Actually, it has an even more maddening schedule where SOME days stores and offices have long lunches and re-open late, and SOME days they don't. Fortunately, it's a weekly schedule that doesn't vary from one week to the next, except for holidays when everything closes. Almost everything is closed on Sundays, too.

    Having lived in Athens as an ex-pat more than once, I can tell you it's really quite nice to have a midday nap af

  • You can't compete in the modern global market if you don't adopt the lowest possible standards. So you'll need to switch over to 55 hour work weeks, 2 or less weeks per year vacation, and no government healthcare. (US uses private insurance, for India it is typically paid out of pocket)

    • Why does Spain need to compete in the global market?

      Also, it's funny how you criticize that other countries have to adapt to the US while taking a story about Spain to talk about the US.

      • Also, it's funny how you criticize that other countries have to adapt to the US while taking a story about Spain to talk about the US.

        Am I criticizing other countries, or my own? (US)

        • In a story not related to the US. Your imperialism is showing

          • Spain doesn't operate in a bubble. They interact with the rest of the world. I cited two examples of countries that are different than Spain in order to contrast differences in culture, work ethic and business.

            Maybe my comments would be irrelevant if Spain were isolationist or only traded with France and Italy.

  • Have something similar.

    Get up WAY before sunrise and work till it is too hot, around noon or so.

    Then nothing much happens till sundown.

    Desert animals had this figured out WAY before humans came along.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @02:45PM (#54848159)
    The article reads like a long list of cliches, harvested from clippings.
    So far as I know, the "nap-bars" mentioned were only in the news recently because one has just opened.

    My personal experience is that spanish businesses and most shops open at 10 (local time) until 2. Everybody has lunch at 2 - which depending on whether daylight savings is in effect of not is roughly the local noon, or one hour past.

    Small shops reopen at 4-ish, if they reopen at all. Supermarkets are open for the whole day.

    Businesses can be open until 9 at night. Although that is still generally before the spanish eat their late meal (the main meal is lunch). And the day ends at about midnight local time - except at weekends and fiestas: of which there are many.

    As for being unique? I seem to recall Italy working to the same schedule when I worked there briefly in the 90's.

  • the average Spaniard's habit of keeping extremely late hours and taking delightfully long lunch breaks was making everyday life harder for citizens.

    If it's making life that hard why are they still doing it?

  • I call B.S. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @03:03PM (#54848313)
    they'll lose their 3 hour lunch break and still have to work late.
  • by fabriciom ( 916565 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @03:06PM (#54848361)
    I'd like to clear somethings. The "3 hour" lunch is 4 hours and this depends where you live in Spain. In the big cities (Madrid, Barcelona, etc) all office jobs only have 1 hour lunch, only the public facing jobs have 4 hours lunch. I'm talking about retail stores and such.
  • Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2017 @03:16PM (#54848423)

    I'm Spanish and the article talks about shop opening hours. Practically NOBODY has more than one hour for lunch. WTF are these guys talking about?

    • Maybe in your part of Spain, but there are plenty of places where you most definitely do get a multi-hour lunch break + snooze. What I don't understand is the article talking about no one having a siester. That one is more foreign to me than the length of the lunchbreak.

  • by quintesse ( 654840 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @03:20PM (#54848455)

    I (foreigner living 10+ years in Madrid) don't know many people here that take 3 hour lunches. One, one and a half hours seems much more common. The times we have a lunch that takes more than 2 hours people normally start looking nervously at their watches.

    And they definitely don't get to lunch as hungry as you might think, because normally at 11:30 or so people tend to have an "almuerzo", like a light brunch, which is _additional_ to the lunch you eat. So light breakfast, "almuerzo", lunch (which is the biggest meal of the day), then "merienda" for the kids in the late afternoon and (not a big) dinner at 10pm.

    • You got it almost right. The almuerzo is a light meal, which is in the end closer to the lunch that many people outside Spain eat. It's kind of just renaming and shuffling meals. Spanish lunch is the dinner (main meal of the day), whereas Spanish supper is typically a snack, salad or something small a couple of hours before going to bed.

  • I worked in Spain many times when I was still living in England. We would typically turn up around 9AM and work till around 3PM, then take 2-3 hours for lunch, and then go back to work till about 10-10:30PM and then leave to go and have dinner.
    It was hard to adapt, especially if the previous week I had been working in Germany or something like that, where it's a 07:30-08:00 start, an hour for lunch, and then knock off no later than 6PM.
    One nice lunch I vaguely remember in Spain:
    3x beers
    Some meat on a plate

  • Don't I just rock el lenguaje de conquistadores, now?

    The French observe similar schedules. But if it works out to a healthier work-life balance, then why not? It's the americans that don't take vacations; they just get accumulated--for the eventual You can take this job speech.

  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @05:23PM (#54849305) Journal

    The article is bollcks as always.
    You can take your break as lomg as you want, it is not mandatory or anything.
    And if one had lived in Spain (or Italy or Greece) one would know: business is still going on during siesta, and it is damn mandatory to have a siesta if you work ... as it is DAMN HOT!

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday July 20, 2017 @06:00PM (#54849559)

    it could drive a wedge between Catalonia and the rest of Spain

    I think this may be kind of the point. Catalonia has done a lot to try and distance itself from the rest of Spain, by passing local laws in direct contradiction to the opinion of much of Spain, e.g. as states were passing laws to protect bullfighting, Catalonia passed laws to ban it. Plus there's the whole independence referendum thing and the several constitutional challenges that were fought on keeping Catalonia as part of Spain.

  • You take a shorter lunch.
    Suddenly there is an emergency, so you're still working until 2100.
    Next thing, the "emergency" is just "wednesday" or "tuesday" or any day where you can work longer, for lower pay
    Capitalists ONLY see you as an obstacle to more profit, why would they pass up the free work hours?

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