Bringing Hygge and Happiness into Your Workspace
By Sarah Dolan
There is something energizing about having a hyggely workspace. After reading Meik Wiking’s book, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living. Meik, founder of the Happiness Research Institute, describes hygge as so much more than cozy. Cozy, the closest English word to hygge, feels like a candle in a storm when you yearn for a bonfire.
Since reading The Little Book, I find myself carving out pockets of my life to enjoy togetherness, silence, and being present for joy. My life feels warmer, fuller. I wanted to bring that feeling to my workspace. From florescent lighting to shared workspaces in industrialized offices, hygge has taken a holiday. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are some tips on how to make work more hyggely.
Lighting: Control what you can.
In my workspace, I have removed two of the overhead fluorescent lights, added warm task lighting to my desk, and positioned the perfect armchair under a pendant star light. Instead of bright and unflattering light, I now have light havens that make work feel more inviting. If you can’t control your overhead lighting, here are other ways to make your space feel magical.
- If you can, work in natural light.
- Buy a desk lamp and use a warm lightbulb.
- Put twinkle lights in your space.
- Buy faux candles where the flame dances.
- If your officemates don’t mind, use wax melts. The base provides soft light and sets a very hyggely mood.
Bring in nature.
I work in a basement. Because there are no windows, I can go all winter without seeing the sun. I take every opportunity to bring the natural world into my space. When you walk into my office, there is a floor-to-ceiling tapestry depicting a lush green forest. When I open my door in the morning, it is the first thing to greet me. On my desk, I have rocks, shells, and fossils from my travels. I love natural history and each one is a reminder of a previous adventure.
Because I work in a basement, I can’t have living plants. I’ve tried. They all have died. Florescent lighting only = dead plants. Don’t let yourself become a dead plant. Change your lighting. See previous point.
Instead of live plants, I have pictures of my family in nature. You can see us hiking or at the beach. This bring nature into my space and serves as a reminder of happier more hyggely times. If you can, live plants are the perfect addition to your office. Just know that I am jealous of your natural light! Finally, I’ve incorporated a collection of dried leaves from different adventures on my corkboard. The leaves swirl amongst post-it note reminders, creating a forest all their own.
Sarah Dolan is the founder of Ignite Education. She believes that in order for businesses to thrive, employees need to be engaged at every level of an organization. As a culture curator, her work focuses on holistically developing the next generation of leaders.