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I don’t always choose lagom, but at least now it’s a conscious decision. How to Fika Any newbie to Sweden quickly learns that fika (coffee breaks) is an important part of Swedish work culture. Numerous successful Swedish multinationals, and transport systems that work are testimony to this.This is where you get to socialise with your colleagues and catch up on office news in an informal way. The real challenge of office fika is gauging what is a “lagom” amount of time to spend at this compulsory activity. Many Swedes will be able to tell you exactly what they will be doing on any given day, three or four months ahead. You have stories to tell, and passions to share, and things to talk about that are more interesting than the weather.Get noticed for who you are, not what you look like. Think of it as the Goldilocks of words – not too hot, not too cold but just right.It’s an important concept to understand as it is applied to just about every aspect of life in Sweden from dress sense to work performance.
My native language enters my brain in a way that makes it much more difficult to tune out.
My Swedish husband was keen to move back to Sweden after eight years abroad, and I was interested in experiencing Scandinavian living. We then moved to England with his job, which was nice but not actually home to either of us.
After five years in Northampton, we were ready for a change and maternity leave seemed like as good a time as any to make the move. Our daughter was two months old when we moved to Stockholm and she will graduate from high school this June.
Other fika challenges include getting used to drinking copious amounts of coffee (often black, as sugar and milk aren’t considered essentials), developing an appreciation of bulle (Swedish cinnamon loaf/buns – an acquired taste), or getting cornered by someone when you really do have deadlines to meet. Punctuality Here is all you need to know about punctuality in Sweden. Planning doesn’t just apply on the work front but also socially, where planning meetings for group activities are a way of socialising.
Facebook, Whats App and countless other digital group chat functions have failed to put any real dent in the Swedish desire to meet and plan. I know this because I can turn Swedish off by not actively listening in a way that I cannot do with English.
One positive side to this is that they are often very concise. Emails in particular can be quite daunting – very to the point, often lacking normal pleasantries or even your name. Swedish is usually used far more efficiently, at least in business.