The past three months have brought opportunities and challenges, changes and status quo moments, joy and anxiety. Working remotely is nothing new to me. As a past consultant I know how to manage my time working from home. And I’ve had the flexibility to do so in several workplaces. Granted, working from home has never been at this level – with absolutely no in-person meetings, both for work and outside of the office.

For me, I was able to draw upon existing work relationships that I had developed pre-pandemic to help guide our way through these difficult times. Our team’s connections have grown stronger because of the pandemic. But it all took an effort. And instead of casual, hallway conversations we created scheduled calendar time to connect socially. One of these successful moments were inspired by my visit to Sweden last fall (travel, I miss you!): Fika. Eventually our Fika became a regular, weekly meeting.

Fika (pronounced fee-ka) is a Swedish tradition. It is a coffee break but more. It’s a daily ritual to the Swede. You’ll sip a beverage (tea for me), eat a sweet treat and connect with friends, family, or coworkers. Fika can happen multiple times a day and it can never be by yourself – it needs to be quality time with others and without an agenda. It can be at a café, at work or at home. For my team it is a time to pull the plug from our digital life to have a genuine conversation – not about work – and enjoy time with your coworkers.

Is it a little nuts that we have to schedule this coffee break? Perhaps. Is it necessary to add another meeting to your day? I would say yes because otherwise we were all work and no play. Of course Fika is always optional. I have to make the conscious decision to attend and not talk about work (or try really hard not to). What used to happen in real life spontaneously has evolved because time is fluid during the pandemic. It feels good to connect face-to-face, even if it is over video. We spend too much time at work to not enjoy the people we work with.

So grab a cup, a sweet and schedule fika with your team.

Try my grandmother’s favorite Swedish Spritz Cookie recipe for your fika:

1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond abstract
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Cream butter, add sugar and cream thoroughly. Add extract and egg and then flour. Fore dough through cookie press onto greased baking sheet in letters, S’s or other desired shapes. Bake 7-10 minutes in 400-degree oven. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. If desired, dough may be colored.

Or don’t feel like trying your hand at Swedish cooking and are local to Chicago? You can order your fika to go from The Swedish American Museum:


Photo by: Amy E. Mikel. Stockholm, Sweden. A great place for fika: Chokladkoppen in Gamla stan where I had a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate. So yummy! September 2019.