It’s not just cinnamon buns and coffee that are the key ingredients for Fika; it’s a cultural way of life in Sweden. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and went to Stockholm to find out for myself. Let’s just say, I was not disappointed.
Fika literally means ‘a coffee and cake break’. It’s true that their pastries are delicious and the coffee was pretty good too (and, of course, they offered oat milk – tick!). But above all, the whole idea of taking time out and reconnecting either with colleagues, friends, family or others has such a positive impact on productivity.
How many of us know that we should move away from our desks and switch off from technology when we eat our lunch? Yet, how many days a week do you just sit in front of your computer checking your phone whilst quickly eating your lunch ‘al desko’? Fika encourages you to change these habits and actually have a chat to colleagues.
One of the most profound effects of Fika is the collaboration between teams thanks to sharing ideas, having a conversation and getting together in a more relaxed way in the middle of the working day. Here’s what happens in some companies: each team rotates on calling Fika time, normally 10am or 2pm and Friday is a good day for most – hence the term ‘Fika Friday’. That team provides the buns and coffee and invites other employees to come along and listen to a short talk (10 minutes, or so) about what they’re currently focussing on in their team. Questions are answered and then people are able to talk freely to each other about what current projects and whether there are any collaboration opportunities. If not, they can share ideas to keep improving on what they’re already doing. Not difficult to organise + huge benefits for the teams and the business = another tick!
Other teams I met take a walk for their Fika. Yes, they actually leave the office building (gasp!). Their meeting takes place on the way to a bakery or coffee shop, they then sit together on a communal table and walk back as a group. Some of the conversation is about work, some about their personal life. All the while, they are building relationships, having conversations about what’s going on for them and learning how to relate to each other. This approach improves team dynamics; it also has the additional benefit of getting in that much needed movement, fresh air and maybe even some vitamin D – all good for improving mental, physical and emotional health.
I believe – and many other experts too – that all of these things can lead to improved team performance. So, how can we kick-start our own Fika revolution beyond Sweden? Do get in touch if you want to join the march or to hear how we can help you do this. firstname.lastname@example.org