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Health Promotion Specialist

June 1, 2018

Should you introduce Fika into your workplace?  

Fi…what?! I think our Scandi neighbours might be onto something special. Hint: it involves cinnamon buns and drinking coffee with colleagues  ... you’ll want to find out about this special break in your workday.

What is Fika?

Fika is a Swedish term which basically means ‘to meet up, have a coffee and a chat’. Fika is a Swedish institution, a cultural norm and part of the usual working day in Sweden.

Fika is not just a coffee that you quickly drink at your desk. It’s about the coming together of people, interacting face-to-face and a chance to slow down.

We introduced Fika into our workplace at the beginning of this year to encourage more face-to-face communication and to help break down barriers between teams. We got a great response with people showing up from all departments (perhaps it was the non-traditional cheesecake that attracted them initially…) but since then, these Fika-breaks have grown in popularity. 

Benefits of Fika

Apart from eating cinnamon buns and drinking coffee (what’s not to love!), Fika may help to:

  • Encourage team building – so often we get caught up typing away that we forget to actually speak with each other face-to-face.
  • Break down silo’s – encourage cross-departmental working and break down barriers between teams – since introducing Fika breaks I’ve had the opportunity to speak to colleagues in other teams that I otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to.
  • Boost productivity and press the reset button – we know that taking a break can help with productivity. How often have you been mulling over an idea or proposal, only to take a break and then nail it in half the time?
  • Reduce stress – stepping away from work for a short break may help to reduce stress levels so that workers come back feeling refreshed.
  • Retain staff and attract new workers – a business that puts emphasis on staff health and well-being by actively encouraging breaks and open communication can only reap positive rewards in terms of staff retention and satisfaction.
  • Boost team morale – Fika is said to be one of the reasons why the Swedes are so happy at work! By encouraging Fika breaks, staff tend to feel more valued, trusted and in turn happier at work. It’s something to look forward to as a team.
  • Raise funds for charity – why not combine your annual bake-off with a Fika break and raise funds for your chosen charity at the same time. Looking for inspiration? Find out more about our Great Scottish Cake Off here and we’ll help you to find the ‘recipe for success’.

How to incorporate Fika into your workday

  • Designate a Fika room – make sure that this is an accessible mid-way meeting point for all staff – if your office is really large, perhaps one Fika meeting per floor might work better.
  • Ban work chat! Not compulsory but this can be a nice way to start Fika breaks in your office – take this opportunity to have informal catch ups with your colleagues and find out a bit more about them– what did they do at the weekend, are they a cat or dog person or who’s making treats for the next Fika break…
  • Fika food – traditionally Fika is accompanied by cinnamon buns (yum!). And whilst a treat is OK on occasion, if Fika becomes a regular thing in your office, consider expanding out (no pun intended) to include healthier Fika snacks such a fruit kebabs, homemade low fat/sugar loaves, rice cakes with delicious toppings or veg sticks with dips.

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Cinnamon buns aside, this is something that all workplaces could really benefit from.

Is it time to introduce a “Fika” break in your office?

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***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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