Why Swedes need coffee on Fridays

friday coffee time

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     ISB   |   Culture     🕐 13. Jul. 2018

The Friday coffee break at work is a very important moment of the week for many Swedes.

In order to perform well at work, it is important to take regular breaks. This gives workers the chance to disconnect for a moment, collect their thoughts and recharge their batteries. 

The artificial workplace

The workplace is an artificial environment constructed by man. Workers are gathered there, given their space and their role, and told to do their job and enjoy it.

There is an element of choice when it comes to the working life. It could be argued that people choose where they work and who they work for. However, the need to have some form of employment can often overtake the choice of where one would prefer to work.

A forced environment

Even those who are happy with their job and their workplace in principle may feel that the actual environment is a bit forced upon them. 

Workplaces are designed from the point of performing tasks and getting work done, which can be in direct conflict with the goal of making employees feel at home and happy in their workplace environment.

Good to take breaks

Speaking to Metro, psychologist Mattias Lundberg believes that taking a general break is a good idea. Swedes call it fika, and it permeates not just their working day but their everyday life as a whole.

Taking it to the next level, most Swedish workplaces have something called Friday fika, as a recurring weekly event. It is something to look forward to, as well as a chance to get away from purely talking about work. The general idea is that everyone joins in, and it is a chance to take a break as a group, as well as bond over some refreshments. 

Teams of employees often take turns in providing something to eat for the Friday fika. Typically, there will be a cake or other baked treat. Teams take this responsibility seriously, and the act of providing for each other contributes to the overall togetherness that people feel. 

The coffee machine as a common enemy

Having a coffee machine in the workplace can contribute to the overall wellbeing of employees in more ways than one. Not only does it serve coffee, but for many employees, it is also the subject of many complaints.

Complaining can actually be a positive thing, and even serve to bring a group closer together. While one does not imagine that employers have an agenda to provide poor coffee in order to build camaraderie, a recent study has shown that sharing a common enemy can help make a group stronger, closer, and more loyal to one another. 

People work alone
Most people today work individually, even if as part of a team. They have their own assignments and often face a computer screen for a large part of their day.

While regular breaks can also be something done alone, the Friday fika is enjoyed together. It is very important for people to experience this social exchange with their colleagues. “It creates community [and] cohesion at work, and we need people around us”, says Lundberg.

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