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10 Ways to Bring a Little Hygge to the Workplace
By Judy Kneiszel

If you or your coworkers struggling as winter drags on, it might be time to bring hygge to your workplace.

Hygge, pronounced “Hoo-gah,” is a word in Danish and Norwegian that describes a feeling or emotive response to nurturing elements in one’s environment. It’s the creation of a cozy atmosphere to achieve a contented mood.

On the home front, the feeling of hygge can be created with warm lighting, cozy blankets, family or friends gathered around a crackling fireplace, steaming mugs of cocoa or tea, thick fleece socks, and flickering candlelight.

For those who work remotely, hygge may have crept into the home office as a fluffy throw was relocated from the bedroom or a candle was positioned near a workstation.

But what about those who work onsite? A little bit of hygge may be brought to cubicles, break rooms, offices, and common spaces too. Try these ideas:
  1. Warm the lighting. Add a desk lamp with an incandescent bulb to counteract the overhead fluorescents and the blue light coming from your screen.
     
  2. Look for ideas. Find a hygge group online and virtually enjoy the scenery, recipes, and camaraderie on your breaks.
     
  3. Create a hygge-at-work beverage station. Include a variety of teas, hot cocoa, and cider mix. Bring a fancy teacup and saucer or pottery mug to make beverages feel even more special.
     
  4. Bring nature indoors. Display a terrarium, succulents, driftwood, or a bowl of shells or pebbles. To evoke warm memories, include items like a stone from a lake you visited on vacation, or shells from a beach you enjoyed.
     
  5. Keep something warm on your chair. Hang a plush scarf or small throw on the back of your chair to combat cool office temps and stiff chairs, or to use on your lap as a blanket.
     
  6. Add a (safe) candle to your work area. While a candle with an open flame is a fire hazard, opt for flickering battery-operated candles to give your office a hygge glow.
     
  7. Upgrade your sounds. If allowed, play soft music or other background noise you find soothing. Some people enjoy what is called brown noise. Others find lo-fi beats help them concentrate. You can even find white noise that sounds like a coffee shop. All types of background music and “noise” are available online.
     
  8. Change meeting locations. For in-person meetings, if you’re not dependent on conference room technology, convene the team in a more comfortable common area or cafe. Find smaller tables and sit closer to your colleagues.
     
  9. Upgrade the background. For virtual meetings, make sure what other attendees see in the background has a warm and cozy hygge feel.
     
  10. Get more daylight. In parts of the country at certain times of the year, people commute in darkness both ways. If that is the case for you, try to get outside during your lunch break. You might invite a colleague or two to take a walk with you. Not only will the natural light lift your spirits, but the warm office air will also feel more inviting when you return.
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