There is one coveted objective that the vast majority of workers strive for in their positions: work life balance. But how do we achieve this goal? And how can we incorporate these ideas into our own employer practices to create a happier and healthier workforce? Inspired by recent trending content, I took a deep dive into some of the different work models practiced across the globe to see how different companies maintain a balanced equilibrium. Here are 4 Ideas for Achieving a More Balanced Work Model.

Sweden: Fika Breaks

As Johanna Kindvall writes in her book Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, “the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone; you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: that’s what fika is all about.”

This ideology is often built into the Swedish work model as 30-minute time blocks throughout the day. These breaks are for employees to unwind, socialize with colleagues, and take time to refresh so they can return to their tasks with a clear mind. Typically, Fika breaks occur once in the morning between the start of the workday and lunch, and then once more between lunch and close of business. These breaks are shown to improve productivity, help reduce stress, and boost morale through strengthened team connections.

United States: Focus Fridays

A great tool for incorporating work life balance into your work model is by establishing Focus Fridays. On Focus Fridays, your employees are encouraged to catch up on tasks that may have been put on the backburner throughout the week. On these days, your team should avoid meetings with other staff and utilize their time to play catch up. Focus time can be used to organize their calendar, prep for the week ahead, or finish up a project that requires a lot of attention.

Having a designated day for workers to be self-lead and independent is a great way to boost morale and efficiency. To best use your Focus Fridays to your advantage, we suggest time blocking your day and prioritizing urgent tasks first. This way you can approach the week ahead with a clear mind and an even clearer schedule!

France: The French Lunch

Did you know in France it is illegal to eat lunch at your desk? Yes, all French workers are required by the French Labor Code to take their lunch out of the office! In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, workers were spending most of their days stuck inside communal workspaces with hazardous chemicals and little-to-no ventilation. As a response to health concerns, buildings began using lunch time to evacuate their buildings and “flush out” toxins from the air. Thus emerged the French lunch!

Since then, the French lunch has become a sacred time in the French work model, where employees are encouraged to take 1–2-hour lunches together and shut off work altogether. This model has proven to produce less depression and burn out, better work life balance, increased productivity, and collaboration, and lessened conflicts between coworkers.

United States: Wellness & Mindfulness Sessions

Wellness and Mindfulness practice is an essential part of healthy living. A great way to encourage balance in your work model is to host “Mindfulness Sessions” throughout the week, where employees can take a break from screen time and partake in a guided meditation, low impact yoga practice, or walk to stimulate the mind.

We at Atrium incorporate Wellness Wednesdays or Mindfulness Mondays into our schedule, giving our employees time to give their mind a break from work and decompress. During these periods, a member of our staff will sit with us and guide us through “chair yoga” sessions, where we are encouraged to stretch our bodies and incorporate movement into our day. These sessions have been a great way for our staff to prioritize their wellbeing as an essential part of their workday. Mindfulness and meditative practices have proven successful in reducing stress, improving sleep, and allowing employees to return to tasks thoughtfully after a well needed recharge.

Employee well-being, increased productivity, and general job satisfaction are all great reasons to explore different ways to implement a more balanced work model. Not only will these solutions better your team dynamics, but they also make your company a more attractive place to work for prospective candidates. Try out some of the above strategies and see how they work for your team. Here’s to a balanced workforce ahead!


Abigail Joyce
Abigail Joyce

Abigail is the Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Atrium. She has also held roles for the firm as a Recruiter and Project Assistant. Her various educational and career experiences have helped to shape her unique job seeker and hiring manager perspective.