You’ve probably already heard of hygge. It’s the Danish concept of cosiness – pronounced ‘hue-gah’ – that has taken the world by storm and infiltrated homes across the country. Living rooms everywhere have suddenly been filled with wooly blankets, scented candles, Monstera plants and mugs of herbal tea.
But did you know that you can embrace hygge in the office too? Here’s our guide to getting cosy and relaxed at work.
1. Bring the outside in
A big part of hygge is embracing nature. Unless you work from home or are self-employed, chances are you’re going to be based indoors for your job for the majority of your time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the outdoors in.
There’s just something so calming and relaxing about trees and nature, so bring that into your workspace by adding a couple of small potted plants to your desk. It’ll really help to lift your mood and recreate those happy vibes that we get from being surrounded by nature. Just don’t forget to water them!
2. Make your desk your own space
The underlying element of hygge is enjoying the environment around you. While this is easier to do at home when you can truly be yourself in your own four walls, it’s trickier to accomplish at work. But not impossible.
Create your own little sanctuary at your desk by adorning it with small personal items that mean a lot to you. This could be bringing your favourite mug from home, a photo of your loved ones or illustrations to pin up in your cubicle. Even adding these small touches of your personality allows you to escape the daily grind, helps you smile and lifts the soul even in difficult moments.
3. Make the most of your lunch hour
How often do you sit at your desk eating lunch? Or even work through your lunch as you desperately try to catch up on work. While you may think this is helping your mental health by reducing stress in the long run, it can actually do the opposite by keeping you cooped up.
Getting a simple change of scenery can work wonders. No matter what the weather, why not wrap up warm and head into the great outdoors, even if it’s just to pop down to the road for your favourite pastry. Or maybe run a couple of casual errands and get them ticked off your list, go for a walk in a nearby park, or take a book and find a quiet spot to read for 30 minutes.
Do anything at all, just get out of the office!
4. Make an office playlist of what you love
Music can have a tremendously positive impact on your mind, but your tastes might not align with everyone else’s in the office. Take some time to create a personalised playlist on Spotify that caters to you and you alone. If you’re feeling really creative, have a different playlists for different moods or working situations, for example, one where you really need to zone out and concentrate.
5. Tweak your lighting
Lighting is possibly one of the most overlooked elements that can positively influence our mental health. Natural light is incredibly important in hygge, so try and position yourself near a big window wherever possible.
But warm lighting is also essential for creating an aura of relaxation and calm. Candles are best, but these won’t be allowed in your place of work. So if you have desk lamps, ask if you can replace the bulbs with warm, slightly orange bulbs that create a pool of light around you. It’ll do wonders for your concentration and your stress levels.
6. Be prepared for the cold
Office temperatures fluctuate all the time. And that’s not just down to the unpredictable British weather. Employees can wage wars over the thermostat; some like it hot while others insist on air conditioning. For these reasons it’s a fantastic idea to have some cosy layers stored away under your desk.
These could include a gorgeous colourful scarf, a spare pair of socks for when the rain sets in, a knitted cardigan or a cashmere jumper. At home we’d recommend snuggling down under a thick blanket, but this’ll do!
7. Embrace teamwork
Teamwork is a core part of the Danish culture. From early childhood a strong focus in placed on working together in groups and on seeking and giving help when faced with a problem. Danish kids are encouraged to be humble yet confident, and these skills follow them into adulthood and the workplace.
Think about how much better your office environment would be if people were more open to working together and seeking help from one another without it being seen as a weakness? Embrace this concept yourself and you’ll start to see others follow in your footsteps.
Encourage managers to organise team-building days and activities such as scavenger hunts where the focus is on working together and all the benefits it can bring.
8. Focus on happiness
Demark, Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries are always making headlines because of their relaxed work ethic. To them a job isn’t just a way to get paid; it’s another source of happiness and because of this they expect, and receive, high job satisfaction. Of course, a great deal of this is down to fantastic employee benefits such as regular training and flexible working hours, but it’s also something else.
Focus on finding the passion in your job; what do you really love to do? Once you find this, you’ll start to approach each working day in a whole new light.