Hygge in the Workplace

Let the hygge phenomenon inspire your office and improve your overall productivity!

What is Hygge?

Intrinsic to the Danish lifestyle, ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hue-ugh’) defies translation: there is no equivalent in the English language. You don’t, however, have to be Danish to experience it.  It’s probably 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.

Think warming beverages, think comfort, think kinship, think Amelie. Hygge also shares some similarities with mindfulness, which goes some way to explaining its huge popularity this year.

“The whole world is a series of miracles, but we're so used to them we call them ordinary things.” ― Hans Christian Andersen (1).png

The famous Danish Storyteller was well versed in the language of Hygge

Implementing Hygge in the workplace

We spend about one third of our entire life at work. So how can we use hygge practically in our offices to enrich or experiences and increase our productivity?

Focus on fulfillment

Hygge is the polar opposite of superficiality, so if you want to achieve it you must focus on making every part of your day authentic.

You can do this by valuing people’s differences and making your workspace a place in which people feel comfortable voicing their opinions and ideas.

Hygge is also about treasuring communication. Help cultivate relationships by making a rule that you’ll ask everyone you speak to a friendly question.

Make the most of your lunch break. Many of us remain at our desks all day lest an important email should arrive in our inbox. Do lunch the hygge way and use it as an opportunity to chill out, broaden your horizons or explore your area…

1.Discover something new. Whether it’s a small gallery or a hidden green space, get to know the place you work in and find out what it has to offer. The other day I stumbled across this gallery on the way to retrieve my Boots meal deal, and ended up learning about post-impressionism!

2. Educate yourself. If you’re lucky enough to work near UCL you can attend one of their famous ‘lunchtime lectures’ for free. Speakers are sourced from across the university campus, and see the lectures as an opportunity to showcase their research and ideas.

3. Relax. How many of us actually switch off and have a rest? Leave your phone in the office and take a solitary wander. You’ll feel calmer, recharged and gain more perspective.

Personalise your workspace

If hygge is about appreciation and comfort, it makes sense to make your workspace a nice place to be. You can do this easily by introducing personal touches, such as a framed photo of friends or family, a pot plant to add some greenery and some cool stationery to write notes with.

Hygge in the workplace

Symmetry: this beautifully unique workspace is both ergonomic and pleasing to the eye

Embrace office perks

Achieve hygge by introducing simple, inexpensive perks to boost staff morale, and in turn, productivity. Free hot chocolate, an extra hour for lunch every few months, a voucher, a smile… the opportunities stretch as far as the imagination.

Suzanne from The Alternative Board has what might well be one of the BEST office perks- a resident dog named Izi.  She recognises that ‘perks’ are paramount to keeping staff hygge happy:

“I came from an international organisation where there were around 100 people just in the office. Moving to a nice SME business was a refreshing change…as well as having perks I’d never thought of before!”

Hygge in the workplace

Izi the dog appreciates every bit of her ‘working’ day

Jenny, from inspirational film festival I Will Tell, cites free movie screenings as her ‘office perk’.

She explains, “We offer free screenings, special previews and the like. Some of our customers and clients send them on to us and we pass them to the rest of the team on a first come, first served basis.”

Hygge in the workplace

Allergic to animals? On a budget? Serve up a little sugar-coated hygge

love around the office in the form of baked goods!

How hygge is your office? Tell us on Twitter! @SOSofficesearch

Buy the book

In this guide, Søderberg explores how Hygge can inspire every aspect of your daily life.

Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg is available in hardback and on Kindle.

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