Many great things come out of Sweden but Fika has got to be one of my favourites.
Fika is a significant part of everyday life for the Swedish. Basically, to Fika means to have coffee. However, Fika is so much more than ‘just having a coffee’. It gives an opportunity for one to slow down, take time out, chit-chat with friends / family / colleagues and just enjoy life in the moment.
In Sweden, Fika is incorporated into the working day. Twice a day in fact. Both in the morning and in the afternoon. The Fika break provides an opportunity to step away from the work schedule and to converse or bond with colleagues, to network and to exchange ideas. This generally leads to better work productivity and work relationships.
How long should I ‘Fika’ for?
In the Swedish working environment, to Fika would be anything from 10 – 30 minutes. When it comes to leisure, Fika for as long as you like!
What should I Fika with?
Traditionally, Fika involves a cup of coffee. (I have it on good authority that the Swedes really like their coffee). However, coffee is not to everyone’s taste. If tea, hot chocolate or even juice is your preference then go ahead. Fika is all about taking time to slow down - not what substance is being drunk.
Another tradition associated with Fika is having something sweet to eat with your beverage. The Swedes often choose a pastry or cinnamon buns known as kanelbullar to have with their coffee. In the UK it is not uncommon to have a slice of cake or a biscuit with our hot drink. Yum!
Where should I Fika?
If it is practical to do so, you can Fika almost anywhere. At home, in a café or restaurant, in the park, at the office (away from your computer and desk please), as long as you are taking time out to savour the moment and slow down.
Who should I Fika with?
Fika is a great excuse to meet and catch up with friends. It provides opportunities to get to know colleagues or teammates.
Don’t feel like meeting up with anyone? That’s fine. Just close the laptop, put the phone down, brew a coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of your surroundings.
Why should I Fika?
In Swedish culture, a break in the day to sit back, drink coffee, eat cake and chat with friends is something that is looked forward to. Fika is about slowing down to appreciate life in the moment. In our fast-paced lives, we are always moving onto the next thing; grabbing a coffee on the go, eyes down on a screen. How can we enjoy simple pleasures at speed if we don’t stop once in a while to observe? Surely, slowing down for a few minutes a day will be beneficial to all our well beings and those around us?
From my own experience of Fika, I know that I am far more productive if I step away from the laptop and take 15 mins to savour a brew. I am happier when I have opportunity to ‘connect’ with friends in the local café over a drink and a muffin. And that, I will admit, makes me a better person for it.
How do you like to Fika?