24 September | pacts insight | Views:

Fika vs. Fuller’s: how coffee breaks can replace the after-work pub sesh

Is there anything as awful as a mid-week hangover? That pre-10am can of coke gives you away in an instant, almost as much as the blank look in your eyes. The day drags slow, nothing gets properly done, and you question every life choice you’ve ever made.

Was it worth it for that discussion you had with Tina in accounts (the one where you randomly came up with that really innovative idea, the details of which you’ve mostly forgotten)? Could you have achieved the same thing by kicking by with a coffee, a cherry bakewell, and ten minutes of un-work-related chat?

Mojitos, mingling and morale

Drinking with colleagues is a pretty standard feature of office life. We won’t lie: it has its benefits. A relaxed environment for creative problem-solving, a notable lack of inhibitions that lets even the interns be more vocal (whether for better or worse), and team bonding - the British way!

But it has its downfalls. Beyond miserable mornings flinching at every ringing phone, and general hangxiety, it can mean more of your staff calling out sick, or developing long-term health problems. It’s not necessarily a healthy lifestyle to perpetuate - that’s easy to understand.

What some might be slower to realise is how alienating after-works drinks can be for non-drinkers - whether for health or cultural reasons. And that category is growing.

Young people are drinking less

It’s an observed phenomenon: young people are drinking less. From university students shunning Jager-fuelled initiations, to out-and-out teetotalers - it’s a rising trend to stick to J20s and healthy living. Which means a whole generation of people who’ve never had to untag themselves from photos of Facebook…

It also means relying on work socials and cheeky post-work pints for team bonding may become a thing of the past. So your business needs a Plan B.

Introducing… Fika

You might have heard of it. An essential part of Swedish working life, it’s community, cake and wellness combined. It’s so embedded in their culture that it’s even observed by the majority of companies out there, including Volvo!

So what is it? To the uninitiated, it’s essentially just a mandatory cake-filled coffee break - ten to twenty minutes, twice a day.

But really, it’s more than that: “like going to the pub in other countries”, it’s less about what you’re drinking and eating and more about sitting down with colleagues, and spending some quality time together. But what’s the benefit to businesses?

Studies show that colleagues who fika together come up with 91% of new ideas in these sessions, have higher productivity and employee satisfaction, and promotes wellness through short ‘recovery’ periods from the busy work day.

Make Fika part of your workday

Here’s the main thing: don’t think just grabbing a cup of coffee at the counter (Italian style!) is enough. This is about really taking time to set aside twenty minutes, plan for no work-related talk, enjoy something tasty, and take time over your brew.

After all, it’s the least you can do. With people working longer hours than ever, smartphones meaning business is 24/7, and calls for four-day weeks, some time to take the pressure off is invaluable.

So what are you waiting for? Swap cider for cinnamon buns, and enjoy a chat with your team that you’ll all remember the next day.


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