Winter’s lack of sun and cold temperatures can make you and your co-workers want to hunker down in hibernation mode. As an office admin, you have a role to play in keeping your team’s morale and productivity high, even when temperatures are low. One idea: Bring the hygge trend into your office.
Pronounced “HOO-gah,” hygge is a Danish concept that promotes coziness, comfort and well-being. The idea has caught on in the U.S. over the past few years — it’s seen as a way to enjoy the colder, darker months, rather than merely endure them.
Help your office catch a little bit of the hygge magic that Danes claim makes them feel content through their long, dark winters.
Promote a Comforting Breakroom Experience
Mindfully savoring small rituals is central to hygge, so make your breakroom more than just a place to grab coffee. Create a music playlist that features upbeat, happy songs to play softly. Stock up on winter beverages like flavored coffee, hot chocolate, peppermint tea, eggnog (without the alcohol, of course) and apple cider. Provide oversized coffee mugs so colleagues can enjoy their drinks of choice in true hygge style.
A sense of community and connectedness is also important. Keep games on hand, such as Jenga, Guess Who, Yahtzee, Clue and Apples to Apples, that encourage team members to spend time together. Don’t forget decks of cards for Go Fish or Crazy Eights. Consider having a puzzle out to provide a mental break from work and spur social connections. Encourage your team to take a reading break by setting up a lending library.
Give a Warm Welcome
Small changes to your work entryway or lobby can make the office inviting and cozy from the moment people walk in. Neutral colors like gray, white and cream have a soothing effect, so look for opportunities to add these through inexpensive accents or other minor changes. If possible, switch out bright artwork for winter scenes — with framed posters, for example — in soothing, neutral shades.
Make your seating area more comfortable, too. Add small pillows in calming colors to chairs and couches, for instance. Dim excessively bright overhead lighting; instead, use floor lamps and flameless candles to create a feeling of coziness. Bring nature inside with plants like dracaena, bromeliads, philodendrons and spider plants; all are easy to grow indoors and thrive in low-light conditions.
Set Up Cozy, Homey Workspaces
Help your colleagues foster comfy desk areas by providing elements that up the hygge factor. Encourage your co-workers to personalize their workspaces with meaningful décor or photos. Desk lamps can cut down on the need for fluorescent lighting and mimic a more natural environment. If you’re in an area with especially long winters, it may even be worth investing in light therapy lamps that help reduce seasonal blues.
Warm clothing is essential, too. Provide snuggly sweaters and blankets for co-workers, complete with company logo — you’ll promote team cohesion while everyone wards off the chill. If the workplace is still too cold, check with your facilities management contacts to ask about providing space heaters to turn on when temperatures are extra low.
Outfit the Bathroom
There’s a limit to how cozy a bathroom can get (and how cozy you want your co-workers to get there). However, you can incorporate hygge into your office restrooms by supplying hand soaps or air fresheners in winter scents such as pine, cedar or cinnamon. Keep chapped hands at bay by stocking scented and unscented hand lotions for co-workers to use. Providing anti-static spray for clothing, hairspray and a blow dryer can help team members get rid of static cling, hat hair and soggy clothes after a wet, windy commute.
Create Warm and Inviting Events
Hold a potluck lunch and ask colleagues to bring in their favorite comfort foods to share. You can also provide fresh-baked goods for a breakfast meeting or pastries in the afternoon for a cozy pick-me-up. Warm up your colleagues with a hot chocolate tasting; provide different flavors and have everyone vote on their favorite.
Activities that keep stress levels down and energy up are central to hygge. Organize regular walks at lunch or in the afternoon to get people moving. If the weather is too cold for an outside stroll, encourage team members to walk around the office instead.
Encourage colleagues to share their own ideas with you on how to make the workplace more inviting during the colder months. When temperatures are frigid and the sun sets early, make sure you are creating a warm, congenial environment that combats the winter blues for you and your team.