Spain has long been an example of a country with a relatively lackadaisical approach to its work ethic. One of the country’s most well-known and revered pastimes is the concept of the siesta, or a short period of rest taken early in the afternoon, when many shops and businesses temporarily close down throughout the country.
Despite these enviable cultural practices, the country’s economy is currently in ruins, with an extremely high unemployment rate of 26 percent. According to NPR, Spain’s unemployment rate is so high that a new IKEA store opening near Valencia received “more than 20,000” applications for 400 jobs at the store within 48 hours of the application being available online, an influx that crashed IKEA’s Spanish computer servers.
IKEA spokesman Rodrigo Sanchez spoke to NPR explaining that the influx of applications was a direct result of the country’s current economic situation.
“I feel lucky to have a job. Ikea is a great company. In this case we have 20,000 initial people who want to work with us. But we know we’re in this situation at least in part because of the state of the Spanish economy,” Sanchez said.
In response to the high unemployment rate, the country has been scrambling for solutions. According to CNN, one proposed parliamentary solution has been to scale back the citizens’ siesta hours, instituting “regular working hours from 9am to 5pm.” While such a drastic lifestyle change may be difficult to impose upon a nation, it’s interesting to theorize what effect those new hours would have on the nation’s productivity and economy.