Sweden: Taking a Sweet Pause Every Day
Your "coffee break" may consist of an out-and-back sprint to grab a latte to-go, but in Sweden, the institution of the coffee break (usually around 10 a.m. and another at 3 p.m.) is a sit-down mini-meal that dates back to the 1700s. It's called fika, and it involves leaving the workplace with a friend to have a cup of coffee and, usually, a sweet treat. Schedule an afternoon fika into your busy day, and invite friends to join you (you can't fika solo). Gevalia, a coffee brand founded in Sweden in 1853 and now available in the U.S., has found that Swedes prefer darker, stronger-tasting brews than Americans do, so follow their tradition by ordering French roast or espresso, as well as a chocolate or pastry. If you're worried about being away from your desk, keep in mind that a 2009 MIT study showed that those who got up to socialize with colleagues during the day showed a 10 to 15 percent increase in productivity over coworkers who preferred to be left alone. As for the cinnamon roll, be sure to savor it with your coffee on-site: Research has shown eating in front of a computer causes us to eat more, appreciate the food less, and nibble throughout the day.