Workplace Hygge and Winter Survival

Workplace hyggeHow can you create workplace hygge and improve the winter experience? Hygge is, pardon the pun, the new “hot” solution to the cold and bleak long winter days. Adopted from the Danish, and pronounced “hoo-guh” or some variant depending on the dictionary, it is a quality of coziness, comfort, warmth and well-being. It’s nurturing joy. Think of it as spending a snowy evening snugly nestled in an overstuffed lounger chair, by a flickering fireplace, wearing nordic slipper socks, wrapped in a fluffy fleece lined blanket, with a hot wine toddy, a really good book, your favorite music playing softly in the background, and, of course, a cozy cat curled up and softly purring in your lap (unless you’re allergic to cats, in which case you can omit this last item.)

Hygge cat

You get the idea. It’s warm, it’s wonderful, and it’s a world apart from your typical winter work experience. At its ugly best, winter is simply not fun. Your alarm goes off and it’s pitch black outside. You deal with the snow and the ice. Every commute is a challenge. Days are cloudy and bleak. The calendar might say it is the season for ho, ho, ho, but you and your colleagues are cold, wet and feeling down.

So how can you bring at least a bit of hygge warmth into the workplace? It might never be as wonderful as a scene from a Christmas card, because after all, there is still work to be done.  Take the time; do the small things that can make a big impact on the quality of your winter work life.

6 Tips for Creating Workplace Hygge for Co-workers

  • Create small celebrations. Bring a plate of cookies and festive napkins, or make hot cider, or popcorn for the gang. If you’re really ambitious, bring your version of “high tea,” with assorted teas, cookies and nibbles.
  • Have a potluck lunch. Everyone brings their specialty to share food and fellowship.
  • Promote creature comforts. If you are able, relax the dress code. Break out the bulky sweaters and sweat shirts. Extra bonus points if you can have “bunny slipper” days.
  • Consider going to the dogs. If you or a staff member has a friendly fur baby and there are no allergies or fearful individuals, having a set a paws wandering around for a bit is great for stress reduction.
  • Have chair massage day. Hire a massage therapist to provide chair massages to the staff.
  • Express appreciation. Drop a note to each person in your work unit, thanking them for something specific. Be genuine. Everyone has many wonderful characteristics which we too often overlook.

6 Tips for Creating Customer Hygge

Your customers are also struggling under the winter cold and darkness. A little hygge can go a long way to making them feel better.

  • Offer a cup of hot tea, and maybe a cookie. It’s warming and social.
  • Provide an area by the door to brush off the snow and dry off. Provide inexpensive hand towels to help the process.
  • Have a free book nook in the waiting area. Stock a selection of used books looking for new homes, for customers and staff
  • Experiment with lighting. Turn down the lights just a tad and add battery operated candles.
  • Add decorator accents in warm, earthy colors and soft textures. Try a pine branch centerpiece on a counter or table, or quilted table runners or wall hangings.
  • Take extra time with customers. Give them a chance to warm up, dry off and calm down before engaging in business. See first to their comfort and well-being.

Finally, don’t stress; stress is not hygge. Slow down a bit, relax a bit. Share the concept with co-workers. Capture new ideas and act together to create and enjoy the best of workplace hygge.

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