28 September, 2016

Hygge your work space

Having a workplace or study environment where you can be productive and happy is important. Recently I have noticed the latest craze in the UK which is all about the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ or living cosily (Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) – the wellness trend originating from the world’s happiest nation. Nine books will be published this year featuring the Danish concept of hygge in their title. So how can we incorporate a bit of this into the workplace?

From reading a number of articles we can think about living in the moment but yet also creating an ambience which will enable us to be happy and have that sense of cosiness and support. While scented candles, a glass of wine and mood lighting can help at home, perhaps in the office or study spaces we might have to stick to a plant, a cup for our coffee from home, having a cuddly sweater on hand if you feel chilly, an office playlist and some fruit. The way we interact with colleagues is also important. Laughter, open lines of communication, a sense of humour and checking in on each other will all help. It requires equality of participation (it is not ‘hyggelige’ for one person to hog the limelight).

In English ‘hygge’ may mean convivial or cosy but the writer and translator, ToveMaren Stakkestad, said: “Hygge was never meant to be translated – it was meant to be felt.” I can understand that – if our workplaces are safe, happy, collaborative and calm there will be less stress and we will feel like delivering more outcomes. A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.

You may still have to go on holiday, off-screen or enjoy that candle-lit, cosy meal with family and friends to get true ‘hygge’ but there is no harm in bringing a little into our daily lives at work.


Here are a couple more articles on ‘hygge’ you may find interesting reading from The Telegraph and The Guardian

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