Business culture in Spain: Siesta time

Business culture in Spain: Siesta time

In an international company like ours with colleagues from all over the world, we love sharing our traditions to make our experience richer and multicultural!

For instance, we embrace the Swedish Fika tradition as explained

As a Spanish citizen at Swedbrand, I would like to make you familiar with our Spanish business culture. The most important tradition for us is our Siesta.

The siesta in Spain is a short nap that we normally take after lunch. It is part of our tradition and I remember having siestas during the weekends and holidays since the age of 4. Siesta is mainly associated to Spain but it’s something that many Mediterranean countries have in common. In these warm countries you tend to feel sleepy in the afternoon.

Some people may feel guilty or embarrassed for taking siestas; they may think that it’s something associated with laziness. If we look at successful people along the history, though, we will realize that some of them have actually been known for being “nappers”:

  • Salvador Dali thought that one of his secrets, as an artist, was to have naps in the afternoon.
  • Churchill said: “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces”.

A short siesta has numerous benefits: it is, for example, a great productivity booster according to the national sleep foundation:

  • Naps can restore alertness and enhance performance. Having a short nap reduces mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.
  • Napping has psychological benefits as well: it’s relaxing and rejuvenating.


Another characteristic of our Spanish business culture are the long lunches, we love “sobremesa” (the time you spend on the table chatting after lunch or dinner). We tend to make farewells and good-byes as long as possible. For this reason you need to start saying goodbye 15 minutes before you actually want to leave. You might also witness that people who are closer to each other will start the meeting with a kiss on each cheek, thus trying to give the environment a friendlier touch, like being among family!

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Written by
Henar Cabrera