Hygge in the Workplace

Employee happiness is a vital concern for employers as workplaces become more dynamic and performance-focused. Employers always run the risk of creating a toxic culture in an attempt to push productivity and performance. This is why it is important to turn the spotlight on the work culture and to make employees feel more comfortable, nurtured, and engaged.

Here’s where the Danish lifestyle concept of “hygge” comes in. Initially formulated as the feeling experienced by individuals when surrounded by a cozy environment, hygge has made deep inroads into the work culture. It also turns out that work satisfaction has a lot to do with the Scandinavian way of life and hygge itself. And this goes far beyond having some hygge design elements in your home or office.

What Is Hygge (pronounced hue-guh, not hoo-gah)?

There really isn’t a clear English translation, but it’s found somewhere in the intersection between comfort, togetherness, and nature. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, defines hygge in his book as “everything from the art of creating intimacy to coziness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things”.

Why Do You Need Hygge at Work?

You can take small steps to enable the comfort and sense of fulfillment commonly associated with hygge. At work, this means creating the right culture, and ensuring that employees experience small moments of contentment and joy as part of their daily workday. Here are a few ways that you can incorporate Hygge into your Company culture:

Foster a sense of community

A key feature of hygge is a sense of togetherness, achieved through authentic and close relationships. Many large organizations are asking people to leave their home offices and come back to the workplace. They know that collaboration can improve creativity and speed up innovation. But, if we bring people back to the same traditional environment with closed offices and rushed daily routines, how can we expect a more collaborative culture? Encourage employees to get up, take a walk, get some fresh air, and have an actual conversation instead of sending IM’s.

You can take inspiration from Nextjump who launched the brilliant concept of Talking Partners, which is a co-mentoring program designed to help employees increase their awareness and improve judgment when making a decision.

Have a tech-detox

We’re under constant information bombardment. Emails can arrive in your inbox at any time of the day or night. And if you’re into wearables, you’ll “experience” the connectedness on your wrist. We all belong to several work WhatsApp groups and then there are our social media timelines and must-read latest breaking news. The 9 to 5 work culture no longer exists and we are constantly connected. While it may seem counter-productive to be encouraging a break from the tech we rely on every day to be effective, it sends an important message about employee wellbeing.

No-Tech Meetings: Rather than everyone heading into meetings with laptops and cellphones, handpick a few meetings that are strictly technology-free. This will ensure fewer distractions and encourage open communication channels.

Assign a Digital Detox Buddy: Create a WiFi-free zone in your office where staff can sit during lunch or have one on one meetings. Assign a buddy to each staff member as this will help everyone fully realize the benefits of no screen time and have someone to keep them accountable. This will help your employees feel re-energized and more in touch with the world around them.

Cultivate a Hygge working environment

Providing inspiring and comfortable spaces away from traditional workstations encourages more informal collaboration and builds a closer-knit community. It can also help promote movement as well as a variety of different postures, such as standing, that support physical wellbeing.

You can consider a Hygge inspired drink station filled with herbal teas, craft coffees, and decadent syrups. And the benefits of indoor plants cannot be emphasized enough. Plants purify the air, add greenery, and give you a general feeling of coziness and personalization.

Small steps like this will help your employees connect with each other and their surroundings on an emotional level, resulting in the hygge effect at work.

If you are interested in testing a Hygge-influenced wellness program in your workplace, reach out to us for more info.