Topic 1 Cultural dimensions of the workplace in Spain

How does culture influence work in Spain? What do we need to know? Have we had experience working in Spain? What has this experience been like?  How can our culture and the Spanish culture be combined?

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Culture can be defined :

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Whenever we talk about a country’s culture, we must avoid falling into certain clichés that are repeated without any scientific basis. There are certain aspects that may be generalisations or wrong perspectives on one culture or another.

This also applies to the culture of that country at work. It is difficult to make a real approximation, therefore, we will make a general approximation of what the culture at work in Spain is, based on studies or documents that support our assertions.

If we search on the internet: “culture and work in Spain” we will find many documents that talk about the long working hours, the Spanish way of being at work, the siesta, the long meals and other clichés.

But these long working days, the siesta, the long meals, etc., have an explanation: In 1942 the dictatorship decided to shift its time  (it was the same as the UK and Portugal) to align it with Hitler’s Germany.

This meant that Spaniards started working later and left work later. It changed their lifestyles: dinners were later, there was less family reconciliation, mealtimes lasted for several hours…

But since 2016, the government has decided to align the working culture with the rest of the EU.

A 2012 survey by global consultancy Reputation Institute shows that a significant majority of people in G-8 countries believe that Spain is indeed a great place to live, but one of the worst in which to invest or purchase quality goods.

Ignacio Buqueras, president of the Commission for the Rationalization of Working Hours (Arhoe), says that on average Spaniards get 53 minutes less sleep than their European neighbors, which impacts on productivity and accidents in the workplace.

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The Labour Guide establish that:

  • The annual paid holiday period, which may not be replaced by economic compensation, will be no less than 30 calendar days.
  • The holiday period or periods will be established based on mutual agreement between the employer and the employee.

Many of the holidays in Spain, as in many other countries, are conditioned by religion: Holy Week, Easter, Christmas, village festivals, All Saints’ Day, Three Kings’ Day etc.

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