Madrid Business Tips
Hours of Business
Most offices in Madrid open from 09:00 and many close for a couple of hours in the afternoon, although this varies per company. Banks open on weekdays between 09:00 to 14:00, but in the summer, may close slightly earlier. On Saturday they open between 08:30 to 13:00 (except during summer). Government offices are usually open between 09:00 to 14:00.
A brief and friendly handshake is usually customary when meeting someone, or at the beginning or end of business meetings, together with the appropriate greeting. Generally business conduct is fairly formal and similar to that of other Europeans As only a small proportion of the Spanish are fluent in English, some spoken Spanish is often very welcome. Business cards are usually expected.
Socially, the Spanish are some of the most gregarious people in the world and they are always very hospitable. They are friendly, helpful people, with no real class divisions and usually enjoy speaking to travellers. The Spanish take great pleasure in entertaining and often invite guests to their home for a meal or to a restaurant. Late evening meals can begin as late as 22:00 and may well end after midnight. When visiting a Spanish home, it is normal to take a gift such as a bottle of wine or flowers.
Business dress in Madrid is fairly standard and formal appearances in business settings are very important. Both men and women wear suits, although for relaxed, social occasions, casual clothes are more appropriate. Some restaurants do have fairly strict dress codes, so bear this in mind when dining out.
There are many opportunities to exchange currency and the places to obtain the best rates are banks. There are also foreign exchange outlets in the airports and even in some hotels and restaurants, although the rates are usually not as favourable. Withdrawing money at a cashpoint (ATM) is often the most convenient and economic way to obtain Euros and there are ATMs all over the city. Many are located inside banks and out of hours your can enter these buildings by swiping your debit / credit card next to the door.
Public access to the Internet is easy to find, with terminals appearing in cyber cafés, shopping centres, hotels and hostels throughout the city centre.
A chemist or drugstore is known as a Farmacia and they can be identified by a large green or red cross sign outside. They tend to keep the same working hours as other shops and if closed, usually display a sign indicating the nearest pharmacy that is open. As well as selling prescription medicines, they also offer free advice about minor injuries or ailments and they will happily suggest non-prescription treatments.
Credit cards are widely accepted at establishments throughout Madrid and these include Visa, EuroCard, Access, MasterCard and American Express. In some stores, you may be asked to enter your PIN (Personal Identification Number) into a keypad for security purposes.