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Immediate Management - Fika: Creating Genuine Connections Over Coffee

Hey, do you want to meet for fika? That may sound like an exotic destination or event, but fika is actually a Swedish word for coffee break. Fika at the office is not about grabbing a coffee and then drinking it at your desk while you work. It's about sitting down with co-workers and managers, and taking a break from what you're doing so you can socialize, seek support, ask for advice, vent or de-stress.

Goal


Improve your relationship and enhance communication with colleagues and subordinates.

What is Fika?
“Fika” is a Swedish word whose basic meaning is “to have coffee” but whose common cultural meaning involves employees gathering and socializing over coffee and pastries to discuss both private and professional affairs. As opposed to a Canadian work break where we might dash to the nearest Tim Horton’s or Starbucks to grab a coffee to go, fika in Sweden signifies a leisurely work break taken together with colleagues (and management) away from the office, to sit, talk and enjoy one another’s company over a cup of coffee. In Swedish workplaces, it can even be considered impolite not to join one’s colleagues at fika.

How does Fika improve employee engagement and culture?
Employees are loaded with myriad tasks and responsibilities to execute within a strict time frame. Meeting deadlines at work is quintessential for businesses to thrive and survive in a competitive era. The hard work and great efforts of employees can sometimes lead to burnout, excess stress and tensions, thus impacting the quality and performance of work delivered.

To sustain employee productivity and engagement, decrease frustration among your employees by encouraging pleasurable interaction with them at fika. Taking a coffee break is an integral part of workplace culture. They provide opportunities for co-workers to converse, vent frustrations and share experiences and advice. Subordinates value time with their managers. Employee engagement is heightened by just listening to your staff in an informal setting thus demonstrating that you care about your employee and what he or she thinks. Plus it will boost the happiness quotient at work.

What are the benefits?
There are a number of studies to support the idea that taking regular breaks boosts workplace culture, engagement and productivity. Breaks can help:
Keep people focused
Relieve stress
Boost productivity
Recharge your energy
Enhance relationships
Build trust
Whether you call it grabbing a cup of joe or meeting for fika, a few minutes chatting with your colleagues could spark a great idea, improve communication and help with team-building.

How do you conduct Fika in the workplace?
Fika can happen any time of day and is typically observed several times throughout the day, often with something sweet on the side. These breaks are seen as important social events used to help keep up moral and boost group spirit, so companies prioritize coffee and ensure their employees have time to drink it. Invite one or a handful of colleagues for fika. Start with one fika or coffee break with a colleague per day.

Action


Having a simple cup of coffee with colleagues

Create a list of your subordinates names. Under that add a secondary list of peers and supervisors that you would like to connect with.

First contact each of your subordinates asking him or her out for a coffee. Place the date beside his or her name. Alternatively you could make and have coffee within your workplace provided that you have a private area where you can meet. You provide the coffee.

Once you have fika with each your team members, invite others from your secondary list. As a general ratio, have two fikas with each of your subordinates to one fika per person on your secondary list.

Reference Material
Benefits of Coffee Breaks at Work

Updated on: 08/18/2023

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