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Dave Carter
Dave Carter
  • 6 Minute Read
  • 01st March 2021

10 Fresh New Ways to Embrace Hygge in the Office

Hygge is the cosy Danish lifestyle that encourages you to embrace the environment around you. With the cosy season of hot chocolate, warm lights, and log fires upon us, let the Hygge phenomenon inspire your office and improve your overall productivity, with these 10 fresh new ways to introduce Hygge into your workspace so you can feel good about yourself, your brand and your work

What is Hygge?

You’ve probably heard of Hygge, (pronounced hue-ga, or hoo-guh), as the Scandinavian‘s secret to happiness. While we can neither confirm nor deny this statement, the Danish wellness tradition has taken the workplace by storm and will certainly have a positive impact on your mindset and how you view the office.

Hygge is intrinsic to the Danish lifestyle and there is no equivalent in the English language. You don’t, however, have to be Danish to experience it. It’s best defined as a state of mind; it's about appreciating the simple, everyday things in life, thus adding a sense of meaning to them; it's about adding the remarkable to the unremarkable.

Think warm beverage, comfort, kinship, Amélie. Ever scroll through Instagram and see aesthetic coffee art, warm tones, wooden tables donning steaming plates of home-cooked food, and all at once you feel cheerful, snug and homely? That my friend is hygge. However, hygge extends beyond just a feeling and shares some similarities with mindfulness, which goes some way to explaining its huge popularity in this most challenging of years.

Creating the office experience

Research has shown that we spend about one third of our lifetimes at work. Oftentimes we enjoy this time, and other times we sit in reverie counting down the hours until we’re back in bed. So, how can we use hygge in a practical sense at work to enrich our experiences and increase our productivity?

Here are 10 fresh new ways to embrace hygge in the office:

1. Personalise your space

Hygge is all about transforming your space into a personal sanctuary, so you feel connected to the environment around you and ready to sink into them at any moment. “Instead of thinking of your office space as a practical, mundane space, make it a comfortable, special haven where you are inspired and productive,” said Gove and van Renswoude, founders of ‘Hygge Life.’

Hygge advises you to personalise your space as much as you can. Always have some sort of personal item decorating your desk, from pictures of your family or pets to a novelty paperweight bought on a favourite holiday. It can even be as simple as sipping a hot beverage from your favourite mug. Be as creative as your company policy allows.

2. Think green

A study by the Agricultural University of Norway in the 1990s found that the introduction of plants to an office environment decreased symptoms of ill health by 25%. This included fatigue, concentration problems, dry skin and irritation of the nose and eyes. Hygge emphasises the benefits of the natural environment on our mental wellbeing whilst at work. By bringing a piece of the outdoors in with you, you recreate all the happy thoughts we associate with being outside enjoying the fresh air against our skin. Therefore, just having a little green corner you can rest your eyes on will boost your mood, productivity and creativity. Bonus - it looks nice.

3. Make a playlist

Make a playlist of all your favourite songs that strike a calming and lively vibe to get you through the workday. ‘Services like [Apple Music] and Spotify allow you to create a hygge playlist that’s up and running. I would go for something slow.’ says Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Current music streaming services are up to date on the importance of wellbeing so you are sure to find a hygge playlist that you enjoy and find stimulating. You can even add your coworkers to the playlists on Spotify so you can all share in the hygge lifestyle. Here are some links to playlists on Spotify that have your hygge going all day.

Hygge Music
Hygge mornings
Hygge - Warm & Relaxing Piano & Instrumental

4. Get creative at lunch

One of the things we look forward to after a long stint in the office is a lunch break. Therefore, it's a great idea to make the most of this time. Instead of sitting at your desk, checking emails and prepping your next task, staring at the computer eating your meal deal from Pret, go outside, get some fresh air, run some errands, or simply find a quiet spot and read. Leaving your desk and going outside for a while will help you unwind and lift your spirits so you’re ready to return to your desk refreshed and renewed.

5. Let there be light

One of the best ways to create a more hygge office is with great lighting. Natural light is not only great to work by, but it’s beneficial for you in general. Open the windows and doors in your office, or position your desk strategically towards natural light and feel more yourself in the morning sun. You can even make use of desk lamps to enlighten your space. There is also a lot of hygge in candlelight, so if your office allows, light a candle when you feel you need a boost, or even add some battery-operated candles for that cosy evening vibe when working late.

6. Comfort clothing for the win

No hygge office is complete without some favourite items of clothing to hand to remind you of home. As the colder months set in, or if you’re feeling the chill of the AC, layer up with your favourite jumper or fleece and get comfy. Swapping out your office shoes for some fluffy slippers while you’re at your desk will also help make you feel better in a jiffy.

7. Move it, move it

The one thing that prevents hygge stimulation, is sitting in one place all day. When you’re at work, try to move around every so often and find places that complement the task you’re doing. If you have to spend time reading, find a quiet spot with good lighting. Or if you need to get creative, or brainstorm ideas, find a space that encourages your creative juices to flow. You don’t need to stay chained to your desk all day, and moving around is only going to help keep you motivated and productive.

8. Random acts of kindness

“Social support does help manage stress,” says Iben Sandahl, co-creator of The Danish Way. Sandahl believes that just knowing we have people who care about us makes us more resilient.

A random act of kindness not only makes the person receiving feel good, but also the one offering. Whether it’s bringing a box of cakes to the office, making a cup of tea, or simply lending a compliment to a coworker, you can turn someone’s entire day around just by being kind.

9. Share some home-cooked meals

Comfort food is the source of all things hygge, and what better way to savour home-cooked meals than with your work friends by your side taste-testing each other’s dishes? Organise your colleagues to bring in some home-cooked goodies and swap around for a fun hygge lunch experience.

10. Bond with colleagues

Danish psychotherapist Sandahl also says team spirit is part of the Danish culture: “This spirit of teamwork and cooperation is seen in all aspects of Danish life - from the classroom to the workplace to family life.” When we see family as a team, this fosters a deep sense of belonging in us and it’s the same spirit that we can take into the boardroom.

How flexible workspace supports the hygge office concept

When circumstances permit a large-scale return to the office, companies will appreciate how collaboration can improve creativity and speed up innovation. Employees will want and need office environments that can embrace hygge and promote collaboration leading to more job satisfaction.

Flexible workspaces already have collaboration and wellbeing at their core and support the hygge office ethos in many ways. This is done by providing inspiring and comfortable spaces that move away from traditional workstations to help entourage more informal collaboration. This helps build a closer-knit community and improves productivity. Having these planned/unplanned moments within the office day helps employees to know and trust one another - a critical foundation for working together effectively.

As we begin to rethink our working environment, we can follow examples from the Danish way of life. Many flex spaces already apply them and have designed their workspaces to increase smiles and improve employee wellbeing.

Find your hygge office with Office Freedom

If you’re on the search for a hygge office, here at Office Freedom we list more than 15,000 flexible workspaces. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Julie Kold, is well versed in the art of Hygge having been born and bred in Denmark and can offer great advice on creating your hygge office.

Whether you’re looking for an inspiring and motivating coworking space, or a customisable private serviced office, do not hesitate to get in contact by calling 0203 603 2576, or emailing us at [email protected]. Our service is impartial and free of charge and is the best place to start your search for a new hygge inspired office.