↟ 12 Ways to 'Hygge' (Get Cozy) At Work like House of ape! ↟
Ape is really into in the Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-guh). Hygge is coziness and well-being. Hygge is creating a space that feels welcoming, warm and comfy. Hygge is enjoying and valuing the small things in life — like intimate conversations with friends and family over a big bowl of porridge, a successful brainstorm with the colleagues or meeting new coworker-friends.
But why is hygge important to the Danes? There is relatively little daylight in Denmark during the winter, so to compensate for the cold and dark, their hygge dial is cranked up to eleven (“top hygge”). And while this term has been received into other cultures with a little bit of side-eye and skepticism, we'll sign onto whatever gets more hot cocoa into our life!
At home,we are create hygge by snuggling under blankets, building a fire in the fireplace, turning down the lamps and drinking hot beverages. We put on fuzzy robes and spend too much time reading, sitting too close to the radiators. And this is great for weekends, but how can we bring hygge to work — when we’re inside missing all the good daylight?
As hard workers, we are more likely to be attuned and affected by the spaces around us. We are more likely to be observant, see what works, test things out to make things better. So can we be user experiences experts for ourselves, and try to infuse a little hygge into work?
Upgrade your desk
There are some obvious changes that can makes your own space feel cozier, presuming they don’t break the fire code and don’t tick off your cubemates:
- Add a lamp with an incandescent bulb to counteract the overhead fluorescents and the blue light coming from your screen.
- Keep a cushy scarf or jacket on the back of your chair to combat cool office temps and stiff chairs. Better yet, put that scarf/jacket on your lap as a makeshift blanket.
- Switch shoes (or don’t). I’d venture a guess that nobody would notice if you “forgot” to change out of your commuting sneakers/winter boots.
- Try some noise. Music or coffee noises... These make you feel lees 'worky'
Find a cozy spot
If you have a supportive office who trusts that you will work even when you’re not at your desk, try some alternate spaces for a change of scene. In House of ape we have many little cosy spots to make an intimate phonecall, or have a one to one with a colleague.
- If your office is open-concept and spacious, find or make a space that feels more intimate. Drag a comfy chair next to a bookcase, or see if there’s a small room or office where you might work from time to time.
- Change meeting locations. If you’re not dependent on conference room technology, convene the team in the common area or cafe. Find smaller tables and sit closer to your colleagues.
Make little chats a regular thing
Personal connection is an aspect of hygge that I both desire and fear. I’m an introvert who thinks other people are really interesting, so I often want to talk — but feel anxious about it.
- Schedule brief weekly check-ins with your favorite coworkers to make sure you continue to connect, even when things get busy. These folks are your gut check/cheerleader/commiserator.
- For a colleague you’d like to know better, invite them to a 30-minute one-on-one. This can be a quick coffee, Skype chat or lunchroom catch-up. You don’t need an agenda, but do consider a few things to keep up conversation.
- Don’t forget about colleagues who work remotely! They may need help making and maintaining personal connections, so be a pal and reach out.
Get more daylight
House of ape is really bright from the many big windows we have, located on some green and peaceful areas.
You may like the extra sun in the morning, or despise commuting home in the dark. But November means the end of Daylight Saving Time, and we are stuck with it until the spring. We can avoid “falling back” into a funk by setting more time aside for daylight.
- Everyone says to leave your desk at lunch, and you really should take their advice. We are much more likely to walk away during that hour if I have an errand, so think up a few little chores you can do near the office that will get you outside.
- Consider small adjustments to your commute to get a little daylight. Leave the train one stop earlier. Walk to the second-closest bus stop. Park just a little further away.
- Take smoke breaks. No, I’m totally kidding! But if your day is flexible, consider walking to grab a (third) coffee or simply do a lap around the block.
“But wait,” you might say.
Aren’t these suggestions just general good practices for a better work environment? Well, yes. You caught me. But adding the framing of hygge can help focus our efforts on ways to combat the cold, dark months of winter while keeping our work-selves just as happy and healthy as our home-selves.
House of ape is specially equipped to see where small changes can be made to a larger effect, and we can communicate the importance of those changes to the folks around us. So why not be hygge at work?