Have you heard of fika? Many of us haven’t in the UK, but for Swedes this is a way of life and I’m all for it!
Fika literally just means to have a coffee and a cake, but in reality, it means so much more. For the Swedes, it is a way of life and a cultural institution.
When I visited Stockholm recently, it was so refreshing to go into coffee shops there and see people talking, teams meeting and ideas being created compared to the solo headphone-in, laptop-on scenes that frequent most of ours. This got me thinking about how important fika is to the Swedish business world and the impact it has to its overall productivity and staff well-being.
Take a break from your desk
The idea that an encouraged break from your desk to go get a coffee, chat through ideas and spend quality time with your colleagues and business associates is, for me, a welcomed one. It spurs collaboration and ideas generation as it gives people acceptable space to think, talk and relax – in the UK, if we go sit and think, we are thought of as skiving. Sad really.
Getting the creative juices flowing is so important in our daily work lives as unfortunately we are often so busy ‘doing’ that there is no room to think and create. A colleague of mine recently said “busy-ness is the worst productivity killer”. Teams can fall into the trap of thinking that constant activity is good and consequentially long hours = better work. We all know that taking time away to reassess and reflect helps you refocus, get back into “flow” and ultimately stop the procrastination.
The fika culture is a national institution in Sweden and organisations view the time taken away from work as an investment as ultimately it creates more productive and creative employees on their return.
Days lost to stress and related issues is on the rise
15.4 million days are lost to stress and related issues each year in the UK, which is a staggering statistic so surely, we need to look to our Scandinavian neighbours for inspiration here? Why don’t we all incorporate fika into our working lives and see how we feel? I’m game if you are?
A top tip to fika in Stockholm is to go to Fabrique. See you there for a coffee and a cake soon!