Are people seriously this stupid?

Spain’s government will consider reversing a decision by dictator Francisco Franco and move the country’s clocks back one hour, the labour minister said on Monday.

Spain was originally in the Greenwich Mean Time zone – along with Britain and Portugal, with which it is geographically in line – but Franco shifted Spain’s clocks one hour ahead to be in line with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Sensible idea. The move back that is, geography is real after all. But this?

Supporters of moving the clock back one hour say it would improve Spain’s weak productivity and allow for a better work/life balance. Due to its time zone, Spaniards have worked longer hours and finished later than in other European countries.

Ignorant ficking puffle. Which hours are worked does not change the number worked.

36 thoughts on “Are people seriously this stupid?”

  1. There was an academic from down south on the radio this morning demonstrating that this is a load of piffle. The problem comes from ‘conciliating family life’, something civil servants (natch) and multinationals have achieved. But now our ‘conservatives’ want to legislate so we all finish at 18.00…. Just think about it, I finish at 18.00 and so does the bus driver who has to drive me home. They can’t be that stupid can they?

    If you take into account the geography; longitude and latitude, and the fact that our daylight day (cough!) is longer, our biological clock actually runs like other Europeans. We have a later dinner but our nightfall is later… and so on.

    All this crap about productivity, working too hard, poorer quality family life etc is merely an adaptation to our daylight reality. And try working at 14.00 in Córdoba from May to October… I’ll come and wipe up the grease spot which is all that will be left of you.

  2. Due to its time zone, Spaniards have worked longer hours and finished later than in other European countries.

    Presumably that famous siesta is counted as work?

  3. Tim

    “Ignorant ficking puffle. Which hours are worked does not change the number worked.”

    Productivity (as quoted) does not equal hours worked.

    Anecdote I accept, but if it’s dark when I start, I’m a lot slower than if it’s light. For a good number of us, the later we start in the “natural” day (which is what is recommended here), or at least insofar as it impacts on morning daylight, the more productive we will be for any given fixed number of hours.

    Thankfully, in the UK we didn’t shift to Berlin time as some were pushing for.

  4. I used to work for a company headquartered in France Tim N, they had much less excuse for a siesta but calling them from Australia was always tricky. Between 10-12 their morning was the best time, but if you got the dreaded “he’s gone out for lunch” you knew you may as well get a couple of hours kip and try again after 12am AEST. Good news was they came back to the office and stayed till about 7pm their time, so if I tried in the wee hours I was generally ok. This was all pre widespread internet and mobile phones of course.

  5. Typing that just reminded me – I used to have to physically be in the office to do a 2am overseas phone call. Intellectually you know things have changed, but, wow.

  6. I used to work for a company headquartered in France Tim N, they had much less excuse for a siesta but calling them from Australia was always tricky.

    I’m still there. One thing I’ll say for the French, their reputation for not putting in the hours is somewhat unfair. Their reputation for actually getting something done in a working month, on the other hand…

  7. Only the state would think that you can cut a bit off one end of a rope and tie it onto the other end and finish up with a longer rope.

    (Not original!)

  8. I can see the argument. If I get up with the sun I’m much more likely to not need a siesta. I doubt we’ll see much immediate change, cultural trends can shift very slowly. For some workers the change could be very beneficial.

    This move could actually be very helpful to the British economy depending. I am curious if some banking services will switch, from Germany, to the UK, just because everyone works the same hours.

  9. Tim N, pfffffff

    When I worked in Amiens some years ago the French working day went something like this:

    8.30 – 9.00 – arrive at office and go around air-kissing everyone whilst saying “Bonjour”
    9.00 – 9.30 – coffee and smoke break
    9.30 – 10.00 – wander back up to the office
    10.00 – 12.00 – do a bit of work
    12.00 – 13.00/13.30 – lunch (12.01 and there was no-one in the office).
    13.30 – 14.00 – coffee and smoke break
    14.00 – 16.00 – have a meeting/do a bit of work.
    16.00 – go home.

    There was many a day when I was working on some technical documentation totally in the zone only to look up from my PC to notice the office was completely deserted a little after 4pm.

  10. I doubt it causes them to work longer hours, but there may be benefits to putting the clocks back in Spain. Look up the following article:

    Time Use and Productivity: The Wage Returns to Sleep
    Matthew Gibson and Jeffrey Shrader
    http://econweb.ucsd.edu/~magibson/pdfs/sleep_productivity.pdf

    “We investigate the productivity effects of the single largest use of time-sleep. Using time use diaries from the United States, we demonstrate that later sunset time
    reduces worker sleep and wages. Sunset time one hour later decreases short-run wages by 0.5% and long-run wages by 4.5%. After investigating this relationship and ruling out alternative hypotheses, we implement an instrumental variables specification that provides the first causal estimates of the impact of sleep on wages. A one-hour increase in average weekly sleep increases wages by 1.5% in the short run and by 4.9% in the
    long run. ”

    Is it so mad to think that the late sunset in Spain contributes towards them going to bed at a later time? They are famously known for staying up late in Spain …

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if it does result in the Spaniards getting more sleep and becoming healthier and more productive as a result.

  11. YMMV Henry, but my experience of French bosses (20 years ago, my god the time flies) was much like Tim’s – lots of hours (at very inconvenient times for me), but not much output, aka productivity.

  12. “Spaniards have worked longer hours and finished later than in other European countries.”

    The considered opinion amongst us here, this morning, was the Spanish are the most serially incompetent, lazy, moronic bunch of cunts in Europe. Spanish, working shorter hours earlier, could only reduce the number of fuck they cause & increase the time available to sort out the results.

    But on the clock thing, indeed. There’s only a tiny sliver of Spain, in the north, east of Greenwich. I’m living equivalent to the middle of the Irish Sea. Being in the same time zone as Rome is ridiculous.

  13. “We investigate the productivity effects of the single largest use of time-sleep. Using time use diaries from the United States, we demonstrate that later sunset time reduces worker sleep and wages.

    I started at 1pm today and finished at 9.30pm. Had stuff to do after evening peak traffic. Which was planned ahead. If I paid any attention to sunrise and sunset, my wage would be reduced to zero.

    I was working with some colleagues a while ago who were used to being office bound on a job where we had a week of nights every month. 8pm to 4am. I overheard one in a quiet spell complaining about how he had gone to bed as soon as he got home the morning before but woken up in the afternoon and now he was exhausted. I told him he had gone to bed too early. I’d got back about the same time as him, 5am, had a proper dinner meal, a few drinks, read for a while, went to bed about 11:30am. He was aghast, but I pointed out to him that you wouldn’t go to bed straight after work on a normal day. 8am start, 8pm, what’s the difference?

    Ok, what I do is not for everyone, but an hour shift in time just makes me laugh.

  14. I get the most done when I’m not bound to a clock. The last few days I’ve got after a few hours of daylight have woken me up, so about 11:30am, pottered around for a bit, had a cup of tea, and worked most of the afternoon through to midnight.

  15. The two questions which puzzled me traveling around Spain were, firstly, why does Portugal, which shares the same bit of real estate with Spain, see no need to sleep all afternoon and go out to dinner at 11pm, and secondly, why does Santander, which has about the same intolerable tropical climate as Eastbourne, need a siesta?

  16. There was many a day when I was working on some technical documentation totally in the zone only to look up from my PC to notice the office was completely deserted a little after 4pm.

    It’s different where I am. They show up between 9:30 and 10:30am and are gone between 6pm and 7pm. The activities done in the meantime are as you describe, though.

  17. About 20 years ago, I was visiting the Paris HQ of a major financial services operation, being proudly shown their new network operations centre (lots of wall-sized screens showing network status etc etc). It was a Friday afternoon and it was obvious that large swathes of the country were showing ‘red’, indicating all was not well. But at 5pm, as one homme they all got up, put on their jackets and walked out.

    Of course, the thousands of little one-man agencies around the country would all have knocked off a couple of hours earlier, so no-one was being seriously incommoded. But at 9am on Monday the clock would start ticking again to get the problem fixed. Not how I would have handled things in the UK.

    I was genuinely unsure whether to admire their sense of priorities (work being fairly low in the overall scheme of things) or be annoyed at their complete lack of professionalism.

  18. “why does Portugal, which shares the same bit of real estate with Spain, see no need to sleep all afternoon and go out to dinner at 11pm”
    You must be thinking of Paris or somewhere, Roué le Jour. I’ve no idea where I’d find a Spanish restaurant would let me sit down to eat at 11:00 pm. Colombians would & do, but they’re not Spanish. Heavens, I’ve now found a Spanish restaurant closes for lunch.
    The idea the Spanish would let work & providing a service intrude on their social & family lives is preposterous.

  19. I once urged a student to phone Yale. “The time difference is five hours” I added.

    He said “Are we in front or behind?”

    We should never have scrapped the 11-plus.

  20. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Daylight savings time is stupid anyway. The Earth spins, and its axis is on a tilt. So you get longer days in the summer and shorter in winter. Trying to magic that away is futile.

    Where I am it gets dark between 18:00 and 18:30 year round. People go to work between 7 and 9, and they go home between 5 and 7. There certainly aren’t any damn siestas.

  21. > We should never have scrapped the 11-plus.

    I blame the BBC scrapping their revolving-globe ident. Everyone in Britain above a certain age has the direction of spin seared into their memory. Younger, they have some hippos swimming in a circle.

  22. @BiS

    Things have certainly changed since I worked in Madrid (admittedly, that was nearly 30 years ago). Then, no restaurant opened before 9pm and the only people you’d ever see in one before 10 would be tourists. We often sat down to eat after 11pm (and after significant consumption of cervezas and gin-tónicos).

  23. Bloke in North Dorset

    My experience of working in Madrid* was that they worked really hard from about 10am to 1pm and then about 4pm to 11pm and then went out for dinner. As I was only there Moday to Friday, and I’m a morning person, this suited me to the ground. I’d be in the office at 7am and get loads done before they started and would leave them to it about 7pm. The thought of going out for steak, even if it was the best restaurant in Madrid and on expenses, just left me cold.

    I did enjoy the odd long lunch with them, though.

    *I know, Madrid !=Spain just like London != England, Paris != France etc

    PS Talking of an hours difference, can’t one of the IT gurus on here fix this Blog so the comments are timed GMT instead of GMT+1?

  24. Talking of restaurants, a great thing about Switzerland is being able to eat dinner at any time from about 1700 or so, or even earlier.

    Back in 2007, when Mrs Abacab was great with first Abacablet, we were in southern France. The only place serving food all day in the entire town served only crèpes, and with 6 months of grossesse Mrs. Abacab had decided that she didn’t fecking want crèpes. So we ended up kinda wandering around the place aimlessly for about 2 hours while waiting for the other restaurants to open, the earliest of which did so at 1930…..

    I wish she’d just settled for a plate or two of crèpes…

  25. Bit puzzled by the comments about Portugal. From my limited experience, lunch/siesta is exactly the same as in Spain. Also, dining at 11pm is really only the case in Madrid in Summer, which has an abominable climate. The rest of the country eats dimnner round 8pm – later of course than the UK but not everyone wants to eat dinner at 6pm.

    The obvious question is why is Ireland on Continental time?

  26. RLJ, last January I was in Santander and had a day out at the seaside in bright sunshine without coats, gloves and scarves. I had to apply sunscreen. Are you seriously suggesting that Eastbourne is in any way comparable? After a day in Eastbourne this September, I regretted not having gone to Damart to equip myself.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    Squander Two – “I like that it’s 2016 and it’s just occurred to the Spaniards, “Hey, that thing we do to be more like the Nazis? Maybe we should stop it.””

    I don’t want to cast aspersions on our Latin brethren but have they got around to writing new words for the national anthem yet? I mean they have only had a third of a century…..

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    Diogenes – “What do you think about when you sing about Lizzie defending our laws?”

    Well, these days, quite a lot about crushing rebellious Scots.

    And a mild ponder on why she isn’t defending the treason laws. Richard Gott, yes that means you.

  29. WKPD: ” With just around 1650 hours of sunshine, Santander is about as sunny as London and Paris, and quite a bit less sunny than most of England’s south coastal regions.”

    Santander yearly sun 1650 hours, Eastbourne 1888 hours.

  30. Diogenes
    Anecdote. I arrived in Santander to catch the ferry at the end of a driving holiday on a miserable overcast afternoon in August. It was closed for the siesta. It just seemed a bit WTF?

    I’ve driven all over Spain and Portugal and the Portuguese seem closer to Brits than the Spanish in terms of habits and manners. Probably why we’ve mostly been mates with them in the past.

    BiCR
    The fact that morning arrives every day at about sixish rather than in the middle of the night in summer and just before lunch in winter is a large part of why I live in Thailand. I presume that means I’m not a real polar bear, if you recall that joke.

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