The trials of working in August
Posted on Aug 24 2010 by Barbara in General

I’ve had it with trying to work in August in Spain. I promised myself this year that I would stay away and I did fly out of Málaga on July 30th. But then some business intervened and I can’t turn my back on the opportunity of a deal, I am just not made that way. I reckoned that it would only take half a day but as I had other things to take care of for September’s clients I scheduled a 48hr trip.

OK, it is hot at this time of year but it is not the Sahara. OK, everyone needs a holiday but is it really a good idea to shut up shop altogether? What makes it so difficult for those who are trying to do some business is the haphazardness of it all. Some businesses close for the duration, some keep a skeleton staff functioning (which usually means one frazzled individual who hasn’t got the time to do anything well) while others operate an intensive ‘mornings only’ regime, starting early and finishing at lunchtime and those that keep going as normal seem to be the minority. Some companies put a helpful message on voicemail to say they aren’t there until September but others just let the phone ring so you are none the wiser – are they shut or not? I even went to one office last week where they had just locked the door without bothering to put an advice note in the window. Has anyone’s business really been that good that you can afford to shut up shop just when the place is jumping with visitors?

Now, I know what everyone says, I’ve heard it a hundred times – apparently, all these visitors are tourists and from a real estate point of view are ‘timewasters’ but two of the biggest deals I‘ve done happened in an August, within a couple of weeks of each other, and in market conditions very similar to today’s, i.e. a couple of years into a major downturn but with signs of increasing activity levels. I can’t help wondering how much business has been lost this month, not for lack of buyers because there are plenty around, but for want of someone to do it with. If Marbella’s real estate sector wants to improve its image a good starting point would be sorting out what to do with August. And don’t get me started on what some of them wear. Those that do turn up for work often spoil the effect by dressing for the beach. Shirts open to the navel doesn’t really work as business attire. The answer is to copy the Spanish, doesn’t matter how hot it is, even in Seville you see people dressed for the office in lightweight suits and they always look great. So I am done with working in August, at least until next year.

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