The popularity of Danish lifestyle concept ‘hygge’ has grown over the last few years – but what is it and why are employers interested in it? In this blog post we look at the benefits of hygge and share our top tips for creating some hygge magic in your office.
Hygge is a Danish concept that is difficult to translate into a single word or phrase. Pronounced ‘hoo-ga’, it’s been described as anything from ‘creating a warm atmosphere’ to ‘enjoying the good things in life’. Ultimately hygge is a feeling rather than a thing. We usually experience the feeling of hygge when we are cosy, contented and calm.
In a word, yes! Happiness researchers continually find Denmark to have some of the happiest people on Earth, which Danes attribute to the practice of hygge. Hygge creates happiness by helping people to feel safe and satisfied. This has been proven to reduce stress, improve sleep quality and reduce the need for unhealthy coping behaviours.
Alongside the benefits to individuals, there are also business benefits to promoting hygge at work. Happy employees tend to be more productive and engaged and stay with a company for longer.
When we think about hygge, we tend to think about the home rather than the workplace. Snuggled up on the sofa with a good book; enjoying a glass of wine sat around the kitchen table with friends; or drinking a cup of tea in front of the fire. These are all times when we might experience that hygge feeling. But hygge isn’t just limited to the home. In fact, the Danes think you can (and should!) enjoy hygge everywhere – and that extends to the office environment.
Hygge office design is comfy and casual. If you’d like to give your office a hygge makeover, you’ll want to think about the following things:
There’s nothing more hygge than candles. More candles are burned per household in Denmark than anywhere else in the world. However, with health and safety a key concern, investing in your lighting may be a more practical solution. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the light, the more hygge the atmosphere it creates. Of course, you won’t want your lighting too dim as this can cause eye strain and headaches – so there’s a definite sweet spot you’ll want to aim for. It’s not just the level of lighting you’ll want to think about either. Experiment with the placement of your lighting to create that perfect hygge effect.
Hygge office design prioritises comfort. Take a look around your office and identify if there are any places you could up the comfort factor. Could you bring in more sofas for informal meetings for example? Or perhaps you could invest in cushions and other soft furnishings? Small touches can make a big difference. Think about the temperature in your office too. You don’t want it too high as its likely to effect concentration – but a comfortable level of warmth creates that lovely hygge feeling. Between 20 and 22 degrees is often cited as the perfect office temperature.
Another staple of a hygge office is bringing the outdoors in. Closeness to nature has been shown to improve our sense of wellbeing – a crucial element of hygge – so biophilic design is another great way to create some hygge. Start simple by introducing more plants and greenery to your office space. If you’re going for a full office refurbishment, you could also consider the use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, or implement a natural ‘earth tone’ colour palette.
Hygge in the office isn’t just about workplace design. You’ll also want to create an office culture that supports the hygge way of life. Think about:
If you’d like to create that hygge feeing in your office, get in touch. We’d love to help you build a happy space to support your happy people!