What is fika? Generally, it is the time for a break with coffee and snacks but in a way also a bit more. It is a huge part of the Swedish culture and its notorious work-life balance. Fika is becoming one of Swedish values that quietly shapes the country’s society.
Meeting people 🤝
Networking in Sweden is super important. Fika is probably one of the most reliable ways to create connections. You know that when you go for a fika with someone, it’s not just about what you drink/consume. It’s the time to get to know another person, to connect with a friend, or to network with colleagues.
I think ‘fika break’ is the ideal time to approach new people. You can invite someone to get a fika, or politely join a group having a fika together. Of course, I do not suggest randomly sitting down next to strangers in a cafe to join in. That could be a bit weird!😃 This applies more to the work or school environment and it’s great to meet people this way.
*Note: It’s okay, of course, to fika on your own too. It can also be the time for you to wind down and reflect.
Fika breaks at school
Both teachers and students take fika breaks between lectures, sometimes in the middle of a lecture. They say it’s time to stretch your legs and get a cup of coffee, which you can get either from a vending machine, coffee machine, or from the student’s cafe.
In the beginning, I thought that for me is this break a total waste of time. Aren’t you supposed to get through the lectures as quickly as possible? But slowly, my perspective changed. Now when the teacher doesn’t suggest a fika break, it feels wrong. In this case, it represents the right to refresh your mind, to connect with your friends, or you can even use this time to ask questions from your teacher about the subject. It’s not the coffee that matters, it’s the privilege to fika because you deserve it. (And then coffee ❤️)
Fika at work
Fika culture at work is a whole new topic. In most work environments, you are encouraged to take a break for fika. In some, it is even incorporated into the daily schedule and everyone knows when it’s time to fika. It is not unusual to leave the work topics at the work table during this time and to focus on other topics instead.
This is thought to make the team in a company stronger, allowing them to connect more. It is also believed that the employee is more satisfied and potentially more efficient at their job. Taking a break, of course, is helpful but the ‘fika break’ is more than that. This is the time to bond with your colleagues, even with your boss, the time to express your opinions in a casual setting, etc. It’s the fact that you are encouraged to take this break by your company that adds a whole other value to it.
Coffee, tea, cake, and coffee again ☕
Lastly, the question is: “What if I don’t like coffee?”. Of course, taking many cups of coffee daily is not everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended 😂). Don’t feel discouraged and don’t force yourself to drink coffee if you don’t like it. You can definitely opt for tea or hot chocolate (or even a glass of water). You also don’t need to eat a bunch of pastries each time you’re taking a break. There are other options such as fruits, nuts, etc., or even nothing at all. Glass of water with nothing to it sounds a bit sad but no one will judge. The point is to fika the way you prefer. It is to not be afraid to join in and make those connections.