Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), the Danish concept taking the US by storm, is characterized as making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, or being aware and taking pleasure in a good moment, whether simple or special. While there’s no direct translation to English, many compare it mindfulness, or a feeling of coziness and contentedness. Since the Danes are reportedly the happiest people on earth, maybe embracing hygge in our lives and at work in particular, might do us all some good, and even boost our productivity.
Here are four ways to hygge at the office:
- Personalize the open plan | Many companies are implementing open plan offices, which are great for cross-collaboration and intra-office communication. However, depending on the type of work being done, it can seem either jarringly quiet or distractingly loud. An area rug can help dampen sound but can also help create the cozy, authentic and inspiring spaces people crave. Another great way to combat these extremes is to implement acoustic solutions. White noise can be comforting and help improve productivity, so adding sound masking, like the QtPro by Steelcase, works to decrease distractions and improve speech privacy.
- Find a cozy spot | If your office is open-concept, finding a space that feels more intimate can help you to feel more inspired and productive. Privacy is a real necessity in the workplace so offering solutions where people can focus, recharge and do head’s down work is imperative. The Brody WorkLounge by Steelcase is a high-performing and comfortable workspace that provides privacy and shelter from visual distractions. It’s a smart alternative to enclaves and transforms under-utilized spaces into desirable destinations.
- Make time for lunch | Taking a lunch break is good for all aspects of our health. If you have a WorkCafé or cafeteria, eat your lunch there instead of at your desk. Socializing with coworkers and making personal connections benefits your overall enjoyment while at work and allows you to re-energize for afternoon productivity. Sitting all day in the same position isn’t great for your physical health so getting up from your desk during lunch also provides a change in posture.
- Rethink meetings | Meetings are essential, but to make them more intimate and productive, schedule smaller meetings when possible. Fewer participants can yield richer and more meaningful conversations, with increased opportunity for people to participate and express ideas. Huddle rooms offer versatility and functionality better suited to these types of meetings—smaller tables and sitting closer to colleagues promotes working as a cohesive team. If a meeting isn’t dependent on conferencing technology, informal lounge areas and the WorkCafé can be inspiring and collaborative spaces.
Yes, these can all be considered general best practices for wellbeing in the office, but viewing them through a hygge lens reminds us why they are such an important focus in the workplace. As we strive for a work/life balance, our time at work should feel productive, enjoyable and fulfilling.