work culture
Updated 2 weeks ago

With late breakfasts and long lunches, Seville's work environment will most likely be very different from what you are used to. Spain may well be the land of siestas and fiestas, but don't be fooled, it also prides itself on a diligent and productive work environment.

Working in Seville is similar to working in many other places in Western Europe. A few tips and insights, however, will help you acclimatise when you start your new job.

Working hours in Seville

The standard working week in Seville in common with the rest of the country is 40 hours and the typical working day starts at around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. Then at around 11 a.m., many people will stop what they’re doing and head to a nearby café for coffee, tostada, and a gossip. Some companies insist only small groups of workers take their break at one time so there is always cover in the office.

Lunchtime typically starts at around 1:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will last until about 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. This long period allows people enough time for lunch and a mid-afternoon nap. Traditionally during the siesta businesses and services in Seville shut down for a few hours. However, this is no longer a general rule, and you will find lots of establishments and organisations that are open throughout the day. Employees then drift back to their places of work at around 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and stay for about three hours.

Highlighted here are the traditional hours, but these days work schedules can vary a lot, depending on the company.

During August, businesses tend to adopt a reduced summer schedule which means they will stop work for the day at or 3 p.m. Keep this in mind when you are scheduling meetings.

Dressing appropriately in Seville

In Spain, as in all other countries, the way you look is important, and in general, the dress code for work is formal and conservative. Styles of dress differ across companies and industries but what is common among them is the use of top-quality materials and sober colours which demonstrate professionalism and a serious approach to work. In a very formal corporate work environment professionals tend to opt for dark-coloured attire.

Even in the height of summer, when everyone desperately wants to cool off at a beach, long trousers or long skirts are worn. Simply follow the lead of your company, and you won’t go far wrong.

The Seville workplace etiquette

While every office and business has its own norms and practices, there are certain workplace etiquette rules in Seville that apply no matter where you are working.

  • In Spain, the most common greeting between close acquaintances is with a kiss on each cheek. In the work and business environment, a firm handshake and eye contact are the norm.
  • It is almost a law of nature that your Spanish colleagues won't arrive at the right time. However, as a foreigner, you should always be punctual.
  • Although many Spanish businesspeople speak English, it will be greatly appreciated if you speak Spanish.
  • Bringing in a packed lunch to eat at your desk will be considered strange behaviour and is generally frowned upon.
  • If you have a business card with Spanish on one side and English on the other, you should hand it to a recipient with the Spanish side facing up.
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