Wake up. Rush to get ready. Go to Work. Work. Short Lunch Break. Back to Work. Go home. Maybe work some more. Get up and do it all again.
Does anyone else feel like this is what their day looks like?
It's draining, and while I'm a bit of a workaholic, it's not exactly an ideal for my happiness. Well, Sweden has a key to work balance. And it's not what you think.
"Fika" - a Swedish term for essentially a "coffee break"
The word “fika” is used as both a noun and a verb, and it respected at least 2 times a day. Usually around 10 AM and 3 PM. Coworkers leave the office to get coffee, maybe a little treat, stay for a good 30 minutes at least, and then come back to work.
And guess what? They're mandatory.
Why is it a key to Sweet(ish) Happiness?
Because while they are not at work, the time that they have AT work becomes more productive. You have a set number of tasks in the day that are due by the end of the day? Well, You be they are going to get done!
Setting a time to be unproductive allows you to turn around a then be productive.
But how do you KNOW it makes you more productive?
"In 2010, a Grant Thornton study found that Swedish workers were the least stressed worldwide—And even though only 1% of Swedish employees work overtime, according to the latest OECD Better Life Index, they’re not any less productive."
These are also similar in other cultures:
England has tea time, Spain, South America and the Philippines all have traditions too. But Sweden breaks are almost ritualistic. Perhaps that's one of the other reasons they are ranked the 2nd happiest country in the world.