In a country that thrives on enjoying life’s simplest pleasures, like eating and sleeping, it seems absurd to remove the two most vital aspects of Spaniards’ culture in order to “boost” Spain’s economy. New proposals to recover after a devastating economic crash include eliminating the Spanish siesta, a nap taken in the middle of the day.
Most of Europe and the U.S. follow a 9-5 work schedule and don’t take as many breaks as the Spaniards do.
Most businesses around the world allow between a half hour and full hour for lunch in the middle of their workday, and that’s the only break allowed.
Although research proves that the average person would be more productive with an afternoon nap or rest period, few companies are adhering to this guidance.
Spain has historically always practiced siesta, a midday two- to three-hour break from work, where employees go home for a large midday meal and nap.
This allows family time, and it relieves stress from the morning shift at work, creating a relaxed environment for everyone to return in a refreshed manner.
Productivity levels are proven to be higher when people are well rested and full. This is why most people are the most productive in the early hours of the morning after a good night’s rest.
Spaniards also begin their workday later in the morning and go to bed significantly later than Americans. Most Spaniards have dinner at 10 p.m. and go to bed between 1 and 2 a.m.
The current Spanish government believes its country’s unique time schedule is damaging the economy.
But because Spaniards have practiced their own set schedule for so long, it will be difficult and time-consuming to alter the strategic timetable they currently follow.
Most Spaniards do not want to give up their midday naps and large lunch. They can’t fathom the idea of scarfing down a cold meal in less than half an hour. They prefer to have their meals in the home, with their families.
They prefer staying out late at night, enjoying time with neighbors and friends. It’s almost as if they have a daily party, even within their own homes.
People satisfied with their social and personal lives will be able to perform better in their professional duties. Many times poor performance is a result of a crumbling personal life.
Spain’s economy crashed in 2008, as did most European countries and the U.S.
Because of the vast number of people losing their jobs since 2008, Spain’s economy has shuffled along. Steady advances in certain parts of the EU recovered, but it’s been a slow process and nowhere near the economic situation of the early 2000s.
Spain’s best bet to improving its dead economy is not turning clocks and losing historical traditions. It’s detaching from the euro.
Many economic analysts have studied the euro since its introduction in 1999. And while it seemed a positive, universal system for all members of the EU, positive predictions turned sour.
Current economic professionals expect its failure and worse devastation of countries such as Spain and Greece.
There is no doubt that Spain is continuing a nasty economic situation. There are many contributing factors to their slump, the euro being the primary, but Spaniards historically “off-the-clock” schedule is not harming members of society or contributing to Spain’s economic lag.
Reach the columnist at Aubrey.McCleve@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @theartsss