Since we are living in Spain we haven’t always been impressed by the Andalusian speed of getting things done. The maintenance of our coffee machines took this year 7 months, fortunately the firm provided us with (new) spare machines. And it is not only in the commercial world: We are waiting a few years now for some minor paperwork to be done by the regional government. Just to mention a few, of course.
Key question is of course are they overloaded or not working hard here? A recent study makes it even more difficult to understand: The average Spaniard worked 1665 hours in 2013 — more than people in Holland (1380), Germany (1388) or France (1489), a new study published by Madrid’s Institute of Economic Studies (IEE) reveals, but productivity remains a major obstacle to growth in Spain. The IEE used data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to compare the number or hours worked in different countries. The average number of hours worked per person in OECD member states as a whole was 1.770 but the figure for most EU members was lower.
However according to figures from the European Commission, Germany has a productivity rate of over €42 per hour while Spain lags behind with only €32.
So what’s really going on? “The real problem in Spain is this culture of ‘presentismo‘, or just being in the office, even if you are not doing anything” according to Ignacio Buqureas. “We want a culture where time is used well and where people also have time for their private life,” Señor Buqueras heads up ARHOE, a Spanish organization that fights for a charge to Spain’s unique lifestyle which sees Spaniards working, eating and going to bed far later than their European neighbours.
Then there is this ever lasting Red Tape issue that Spain doesn’t seem to be able to get rid off and doesn’t speed up things. So where patience is a virtue in many countries, it is a necessity here, no matter what statistics say. And there is always mañana of course.