Hygge, the art of enjoying everyday life, is credited with making the Danes the world’s happiest nation in the world – despite having to endure endlessly long dark winters and one of the highest costs of living in the world!
Hygge roughly translates into cosiness and is oft thought to derive from the English word hug. In practice, hygge is about creating cosy and congenial environments that promote emotional wellbeing.
Given that happy employees are not only more helpful, engaged and motivated, but also more creative, calmer and less likely to call in sick, shouldn’t we be searching for innovative ways to apply the hygge concept to our workplace and employee wellbeing? Well, I think so!
As we know, Employee Wellbeing, embraces more than just physical health, it includes a positive mental state, emotions, and moods; a state of good health, happiness, fulfilment, purpose and engagement.
So, taking my inspiration from the Danes, here are 4 simple ways you can inject some traditional hygge into a workplace setting, plus some quickfire actions you can implement today. No excuse!
- A shared sense of purpose
Create an opportunity for your teams to engage in a shared corporate social responsibility activity together. When you make social impact a fundamental part of your culture, you bring your employees together in a pursuit that makes them feel better about themselves and your company. Strong programmes build a sense of community and belonging, of going back to the basics of what’s really important in life and connecting your company to that spirit of simplicity and kindness.
- Take a walk
Instigate flash walks or an afternoon stroll. You will see physical and psychological benefits to all who participate and it is a fabulous way to stimulate creativity through movement. Let’s face it; everything feels better after a stroll in the fresh air – it’s the ultimate hygge
- Give the gift of mono-tasking
Constant multitasking has become a way of life, but a major principle of hygge is about living fully in the moment, This is particularly difficult to do at work because of the way in which people are constantly exposed to distractions, be it the constant flow of emails or the experience of bolting down food, without really tasting it, because of being glued to the computer at the same time.
Why not invite employees to give up multi-tasking for the day by immersing themselves in just one activity at a time. Staff can be helped to resist the urge to constantly check emails by switching off their email auto-alert for the day.
- Personal connections
Humans are built to be social. It’s when people grow isolated from others that they get into trouble and become much more likely to experience low mood. If your head is down and you are focused on deadlines all day there can be little or no opportunity for staff to bond and just be together in a social and non-pressured way.
The more employees reach out and connect with each other, the happier and more resilient they will become to the effects of stress and pressure. Why not create a shared space for eating together? Or go the extra mile and encourage people to bring along hygge-inspired sharing lunches or even provide them yourself as a once in a while treat.
And here are your bonus quickfire hygges:
- Encourage your staff to hyggify (ok, so not a real word!) their workspaces; let them personalise their own space and add the comforts they need to make it feel more intimate. You will be amazed at how unique everyone’s own version of hygge is, and it will give you some serious insights into your people and what makes them tick
- The art of noise. Noise, be it music, radio, podcasts or just white or brown noise, can in equal measure be comforting, relaxing, heartening, joyous and inspiring. Encourage employees to bring in headphones and listen to their choice of noise whilst working – granted, this won’t work for all job roles, especially if they are customer facing, but where there’s a will, there is always a way….
I’d love to hear about your own hygge initiatives. Why not come along to our Employee Wellbeing workshop on 5th July and share your ideas!
Lucy Whitehall*, Meraki’s employee wellbeing expert and positive psychologist, will be there to explain much more about what we mean by employee wellbeing and be offering her top tips about introducing an employee wellbeing strategy into your business. This is no doubt going to be a popular workshop, so book your place now to save your seat!
* Lucy is a Positive Psychologist and trainer, specialising in workplace wellbeing and performance and a passionate believer in the power of wellbeing to drive success and excellence at both an individual and organisational level.
Her background in HR, business development and project management mean she draws on a strong commercial acumen, as well as specific expertise in the fields of Positive Psychology, Wellbeing, and Neuroscience, to help individuals and organisations access their innate strengths and resilience, enabling them to flourish and thrive.