IKEA, H&M, EF, Tetrapak, Electrolux, Klarna, Volvo, Scania and Spotify were all founded in Sweden. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of successful Swedish companies. And yet, Sweden only has a population of a little over 10M people.
So how come Swedish companies are so successful?
The secret is fika.
Fika is a Swedish (or Nordic, really) concept of taking a break to have a coffee and something sweet. Like a cinnamon bun, but fika is more than that. It’s a time to relax and recharge, connect with co-workers, and hash out ideas.
Swedes take this so seriously many companies have rules that outline when it’s time for fika. And there’s a reason for that—fika leads to employee happiness and company success. Here are the seven reasons why fika leads to success:
1. Fika leads to new ideas because our subconscious needs time for ideation. That’s why ideas brew during fikas and tend to pop out with the last slug of coffee.
2. A fika is an equalizer. At a fika no one is boss or employee. Everyone’s just a colleague. This helps improve communication across departments and ranks. Plus, if you get to know your boss and come to like them, chances are you’ll work harder!
3. Fika leads to solutions. In a meeting everyone is forced to think about solving a problem, often causing brains to short wire themselves. But when colleagues get together to discuss things more freely during fika, solutions seem to pop out of nowhere. That’s why coffee breaks = breakthroughs.
4. A fika is a peacemaker and a teambuilder. You naturally network during a fika and if you break your bun
(because this isn’t about bread!) with someone it’s hard to get mad at them later. You have a personal bond now. That’s also why collaboration and teamwork improves.
5. Fikas improve people skills. The easiest way to improve your people skills is in a setting where everyone is relaxed and happy. Enter the fika. And guess what? Employees with good people skills make the organization run better!
6. It’s a moment to relax. Meaning you destress. Meaning you work better (and live longer). Even your cognitive skills might improve.
7. Fikas create happiness. Sweeten the employers, they sweeten your life.
If your company isn’t already doing fika at work, now’s the time to start. (like cinnamon buns, chocolate balls, or a Danish pastry, which in Sweden isn’t called a Danish pastry—it’s wienerbröd).