Now that we are wrapping up June and heading into July, the summer work schedules in Madrid are starting to take effect. These changes may take place in a variety of ways. In some cases every day of the week is shortened, and in others only Friday is. Another variable to consider is; do you have to make up the shortened hours by working more on non-shortened days? No matter the scenario, this annual change is more than welcome for employees in Madrid. This has been a long standing practice for several reasons. First, people here love to travel in the summer, and no matter the purpose, this relief allows them to start their vacations earlier and do so in peace without having to rush at the end of a busy week. A second reason is the heat. The summers in Madrid are incredibly warms, and this freedom allows employees to go to the public pools, or simply relax at home without having to be trapped in a sweltering office (many do not have adequate air conditioning). The third reason, and maybe my favorite, is that bosses here realize that summertime is meant for fun, and its just part of the culture here to let their employees have a few extra hours a week to enjoy it with their friends or family.
In my office, we are allowed to leave two hours early on Fridays as long a we make up those two hours by working an extra half hour each day Monday through Thursday. However, there’s a catch that is in our favor. If we finish our tasks and do not need to spend the extra half hour each day, we do not have to. Again, the bosses emphasize that we are productive, but they are not going to stand in the way of us enjoying ourselves during the best season of the year. This is just the latest example of how the work life balance here is more focused on the employee than the job. Businesses here undoubtedly put their employees first, and it is absolutely something I’d like to see more of in the states. If I have the opportunity to institute a schedule like this in the future I certainly will because employees are a company’s best asset, and they are most productive when they are treated fairly and feel appreciated.