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The Story Behind It

Recently I was looking for the virtual coffee connect and I ended up with the fika template in Miro. That reminded me the time I spent in the Sweden and where I learnt the fika from swedes themselves.


Fika is pronounced as fee-ka meaning coffee and cake break. Fika is not only about having a caffeine shot with some of your colleagues but also time to slow down, bond with your colleagues and relax in the company of others.  Why is this so important? Some people say it is one of the reasons for Swedish’s workplace happiness and their innovative culture. Imagine there has been research done by BBC and other magazines to understand the innovative culture of the swedes. Some Swedish companies have twice a day fika where they block their calendar for quick break with their colleagues. There is an art of having fika. You don’t just drink coffee but have a cinnamon bun and princess cake. You have time to have a casual chitchat. Fika helps you to understand your team members on different level like you can talk about your families, vacation plans. Even when you plan for the fika there are topics that are off the limit when you first meet like politics, religions etc. This helps to create a flat organization and reduce the silos. You can involve fika with other departments and different hierarchies to have a casual understanding of people. Recently I had a meeting with some people where one associate who was a tester told he has played against Viswanathan Anand, and they had a draw. This info I would have never known if it wasn’t for that working lunch. Now we are thinking to pair up 3 chess players of our area together. Fika helps to create a safe space which people look forward to in their day and disconnect from the work and at the same time give space to resolve any unresolved issues going in the background. And these breaks are requirement for the creative. Have you ever thought how innovation take place? When someone is relaxed, and these small changes helps to create those relaxed environment. To quantifiable add weightage of the facts, there was a research done by Margaret and saw that small coffee breaks of 10  minutes together led to $15 million productivity gain. 

Now march into 2020 world when whole universe is competing to survive, and people are working virtually behind the computers. Top 2 difficulties people face are Lack of in-person connection with colleagues, difficulty separating personal life and professional life. And with so many insecurities around them, due to working remotely lot of people are not sure whether they are meeting the expectations, if their work is still valid for the organization and they are meeting their expectations. One point to note that when people are bit insecure, they are not okay with any of the consequences. So especially at such time it’s time to increase the fika time and no work related discussion and bring the team together with or without supporting exercises of Miro for the team bonding.

One such experiment was conducted by Hanna Månsson, Swedish born london-based  and working for Hubble. You can take the Swede out of Sweden, but you can never take their fika. She tried to have a fika for 2 weeks as trial. Initially she was pushing people for fika but in the end people started to join the fika themselves and every single person loved it. No after booze party, after parties can replace the fika effect

P.S.: – Miro didn’t paid me for this article but my experience of fika culture especially on Friday made me realize on team bonding and understanding the people on level I couldn’t do earlier

“It’s a simple thing that could make a big difference.”~ Pålsson