Did you enjoy a cup of coffee this morning? Or maybe right now? And how often do you enjoy coffee? If you’re a regular joe, then we’ve got good news for you. Your coffee consumption would get more over the course of your day, and might even improve your productivity. There’s a Swedish concept that might offer you more than just your regular cup of joe. It’s fika time.
Related media: Magnus Nilsson: What Is Fika?
What’s A Fika?
Fika is essentially a coffee break, but the Swedes prefer not using the word literally. It’s derived from the Swedish word for coffee, kaffe — just say the syllables in reverse. According to the Swedish Institute’s website, the Swedes don’t want it to lose significance and become a mere coffee break, and the long-held tradition isn’t just an excuse to take a time-out for a cup of joe. It is one of the first words you will learn when visiting Sweden, right after tack (thank you) and hej (hello).
More Than A Coffee Break
Fika is more than just having coffee. It’s indeed a coffee break, but it’s also described by the Swedish Institute as a “social phenomenon.” It signifies a social interaction between people who share their ideas as they enjoy every sip of their cup. But if you think breaking from your work to have a cup of coffee would just make you lazy, then you’re wrong. It’s actually meant to get you even more ready to get right down to business, or perhaps, taking a fika may help you be more productive at the office.
There are a lot of studies that have proven that carving out a 15-minute break from your workplace duties can help you stay focused throughout the day, fuel your productivity, improve your self-control, and keep you from totally burning out from a hard day’s work. Sound too good to be true? There’s some proof that taking a fika is good for both you and your company.
“The fika break that we have twice or thrice a day makes us more productive and efficient,” says Lars Åkerlund, a New York-based Swede who runs a café shop called Fika, in an interview with Quartz.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), many Swedish companies have experimented with mandatory fika breaks, citing that the productivity of their employees rose significantly than employees who didn’t have a fika. In a 2010 Grant Thornton study, Swedish workers were the least stressed worldwide; and according to the OECD Better Life Index, Swedes are no less productive than the rest of the world, even considering their frequent fikas, shorter workdays, and the fact that only 1 percent of Swedish employees work overtime. In 2014, Sweden ranked 11 out of 38 countries analyzed for productivity. Anyone else fancy a fika right about now?
What A Social Retreat
It’s a retreat from the stresses of the day with a real focus on bonding with the people around you. Swedes shoot to have a good, quality fika session several times a day — though in reality, it’s fewer — which can happen anywhere and at any time. Why not now? Take a little fika after reading this article.
And oh!, least you forget, fika can be accompanied with your usual savories — cinnamon buns, cakes, cookies, even open-faced sandwiches pass as acceptable fika fare. Did we get you mouth watering? It comes as no surprise that Swedes are among the top consumers of coffee and sweets in the world — or that Swedes appreciate the good things in life.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Fri, Feb 22, 2019.