While fika is a constant in all parts of Swedish society, its importance in the working world cannot be overstated. More than just a coffee break, fika is an institution in itself. In the context of work, it serves a number of very lagom functions. If there’s a practice in place that makes a proper 10am break acceptable, surely that can only be a good thing? If, in addition, it means that people don’t just take their eyes off their screen for 15 minutes or more but also end up chatting to each other, catching up about industry news or the challenges of the afternoon’s client pitch, it can take both the office culture and the company output to the next level. Note the differences between fika and elevenses. More than just topping up your coffee, fika is about an exchange, a connection; about unplugging from the task at hand and being present with your colleagues in true lagom style.
The fika startup
Getting your workplace to adopt a proper fika culture might be a challenge, but start small and you’ll be able to reap many of the benefits. Ask your desk neighbour along for your morning trip to the kitchen or coffee machine, or offer to make them tea. The next time you need a face-to-face chat with a colleague, suggest meeting in the staff room or canteen. If you feel ambitious, volunteer to get a Friday fika routine happening. I can’t see too many people kicking up a storm over being fed cinnamon buns.