You’re probably thinking “what on earth is hygge?” like we were a few months ago. Hygge is a quickly rising trend—it was even a finalist for “word of the year” in 2016. But what is it exactly and how can it help your team thrive?
While hygge can be hard to define (and pronounce: it’s “hoo-guh”), it’s essentially the Danish art of taking pleasure from soothing experiences or materials like cozy blankets, warm candle light, bubble baths, etc. Initially it might not seem fitting for the workplace, but we’ll show you how it can be.
Making your work environment more hygge is an excellent way to improve employee satisfaction levels and engagement. Here are some simple ways to make your workplace more hygge:
1. Hygge the work environment.
Most offices tend to be filled with the color beige, fluorescent lighting, and uncomfortable chairs. While it likely isn’t feasible to remodel your entire work environment, you can start small. Provide alternative lighting like lamps with bulbs that emit natural light, or let employees to bring their own if they have a preference. Replace stiff chairs with more comfortable and ergonomic alternatives— maybe even some with cozy cushions.
For those who have their own space, encourage them to decorate it to their liking. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that candles are the most hygge item. Most corporate offices don’t permit real candles, but there are some great battery operated candles that mimic real flames. Consider offering them as a small token of hygge to your employees.
In Denmark they go as far as having colorful hygge socks that employees slip into as they enter the office. We don’t go that far here at Beekeeper, but for some of our cold, foggy San Francisco days, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea!
2. Avoid multitasking.
A large part of hygge is living in the moment, which is impossible if you’re constantly multitasking. Let’s face it—we’re all guilty of trying to do too many things at once. How often do you find coworkers (and yourself) reading emails while participating in a conference call, or listening to a coworker’s story while filing reports?
Hygge suggests not multitasking at all and being mindful of one task. Which is a brilliant philosophy because studies show multitasking is costly and doesn’t work. Urge your workers to turn off notifications that don’t apply to them and allow them to take short breaks to relax and refocus.
3. Hygge your communication style.
On a more philosophical level, hygge embodies harmony and togetherness which go hand in hand. These ideals don’t view work as a place for competition, but as a place to be humble and work as a team to accomplish goals.
Adopt an internal communication style that encourages building relationships with your coworkers. Celebrate big or small, work or personal successes in the workplace and recognize those who go above and beyond for the organization. See how “sentiment analysis” can also be incorporated in your internal communication strategy.
4. Add more hygge to lunch breaks.
Too many people don’t take a full lunch break. Recent studies show that taking a break every hour boosts productivity, yet many managers seem irritated when their team tries to enjoy their lunch break. Instead, management should insist that workers take their full break. And instead of employees being on their own for lunch, try organizing more group lunches.
It’s even more helpful if staff members have a serene place to enjoy their short time away from work. But if that’s not possible, providing employees with the right supplies to enjoy a nice meal can help. Clean appliances and real utensils can make a big difference in the team’s mindset and can improve the hygge of your workplace.
In a world full of chaos, inspiring your team to embrace the soothing practice of hygge may well be the best thing you can do for their happiness (and yours).