Time to change

Escrito por el 14 noviembre, 2011 § 2 comments

Spanish work hours are notoriously long. Typically from nine to eight with the sacrosanct two hours lunch break. Civil servants and banks may work less hours but shopping malls and department stores have sometimes a strenuous seven days a week, ten to ten schedule.  This is the case in Madrid where the prevalent Corte Inglés and Shopping Malls benefit from Ms. Aguirre -current Presidente de Madrid – liberal politics.

Terribly convenient if you run out of Ribera del Duero after sunset but devastating for private life. No wonder family time in Spain revolves around shopping. Moreover, long office hours do not result on higher productivity ; Spain has one of the lowest in the EU. In practice, long office hours plus long break equals slacking.

Some institutional voices are raised against what seems a hard habit to break. Although Spain have yet to comply with EU working time standards, this issue does not seem addressed in the polls’ favorite –Partido Popular– elusive agenda. The economical crisis will no doubt put this on hold when in fact, smarts measures in this direction could help ease the huge unemployment ciphers.

But it has become naif to expect politicians to be ahead of people’s needs. Hope is to be found in private initiatives. Some women-owned businesses in Barcelona advertise unconventional opening hours. Since they don’t exactly sell convenience goods, they can afford to modify people habits. Indeed, if we want a life for us and people around us, shouldn’t we take action? Shopping at reasonable hours and offering our clients just the best part of our day are small steps that can go a long way.

Ilustration: Antonio S.

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