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What is Hygge and How Can You Use It in Your Business?

hygge for business

August 9, 2018 by Chris Chapman

If you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest trends and fashions, you might have heard the word ‘hygge’ being used a bit over the last year or so. It’s a strange looking word – but what does it mean and why has it caused such a sensation?

What is Hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word that doesn’t have an exact English translation. It doesn’t even have an exact English pronunciation, although we’re reliably informed the proper pronunciation is somewhere between hoo-gah and hue-gah. Hygge is a sort of wholesome, rustic cosiness – the sort you get when you’re snuggled down by the fire, with a mug of hot cocoa, a soft woolly jumper, and some good friends. It’s a kind of warmth that you feel inside and out, and it can be expressed by clothes, décor, heating, food, drink, or simply the way you’re feeling.

How Can Hygge Help Your Business?

hygge in the office

The hygge mindset can help your staff as well as your customers

Because hygge is such an abstract concept, there are lots of parts of it that you can adopt into your business. It’s a very personal and anti-commercial thing, so it’s actually a great way to connect with your customers by making them feel like valued parts of your business rather than just customers. As hygge is so easily expressed in décor, food, and drink, it’s especially good for restaurants, cafes, and hotels as it’ll ensure that your customers really remember their time with you. It’s also good for small, independent shops that want to set themselves apart from the big soulless chain stores.

It’s not just customer-facing businesses that can benefit from hygge, either. If you want to create a modern, laid-back atmosphere for your staff in an office, a few hygge touches could be just what you need.

Now you know all about hygge, you can start incorporating bits of it into your business. However, it’s such a hard concept to grasp that it can be tricky to know where to start. We’ve pulled together a few top tips for being a bit more Danish in your business to reduce the stress on your staff and impress your customers, so why not give them a read?

Don’t Stress Over It

Hygge is all about a cosy, relaxing atmosphere. If you’re stressing about getting everything perfectly hygge, that kind of defeats the point! Let it come naturally to you, go with your gut, and do what feels right when choosing your décor. Not everything has to match perfectly or mesh together Above all else, hygge is a state of mind, so if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably not hygge!

Let There Be Light (But Not Too Much)

candles in a cafe

Candles are a great way to set a cosy ambience

Lighting is hugely important in creating a hygge atmosphere for your business. You don’t want the lighting to be dark, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be dazzling either. You want there to be just enough to create a dim, cosy feeling around your business, especially if it’s a restaurant that’s open well into the evening. Naturally, this means dimmer switches are a good idea as they give you complete control over the atmosphere in any given room (and they can also reduce the amount of electricity you use on lighting, too)!

You can also use candles, tea lights, and fairy lights that are distributed safely around your space to create a cosy glow. Granted, this might not be appropriate for the office – you don’t want your staff dozing off after all – but for customer-facing businesses, this creates a cosy and memorable atmosphere.

Hygge Heating

Nothing will throw off the cosy hygge atmosphere like a chill in the air! Huddling down in a comfortably warm room while it’s cold outside is one of the purest forms of hygge there is, so it’s important you get something that can keep your whole workplace warm! To really capture the spirit of hygge, though, you don’t want the biggest and most expensive heater going. What you really want is a heater that’s understated, cosy, and warm while still being eco-friendly.

With that in mind, consider giving your heating a touch of the modern with a smart radiator. This will let you monitor and adjust your heating right down to the degree even when you’re not at work. You’ll find this is a much more cost-effective and stress-free way of staying in control of your business’ energy bills, all while keeping toasty warm. What could be more hygge for your business than that?

Cosy Blankets and Soft Furnishings

hygge beanbags

Beanbags provide a quirky but relaxing seating environment that you can use to mix up your break room

No matter what kind of business you are, putting the comfort of your customers and staff as your top priority is always a good idea. If you’ve got a small café or a little shop, why not give it a comfy log cabin vibe with some soft seating and some blankets that your customers can use? This is a nice, personal touch that lets your customers know you’ll go the extra mile for them and it can set you apart from your competition.

If you’re an office-based business, you can help your employees out by providing them with a comfy break room for them to unwind in. Consider ditching those hard, angular chairs with plush sofas and beanbags to give your staff a touch of hygge when they’re on a break. These cosy staff room ideas will help your workers stay motivated and productive. Don’t let your break room turn into a place where staff go to get away from work – let it be somewhere they go to recharge so they can go back to work with a smile on their face. That’s the Danish way, and it’s being adopted by companies across the world, so why not give it a try yourself?

Hot Drinks and Snacks for Staff

You can further improve your break room by providing hot drinks and some light snacks for your staff. If you want that authentic Danish hygge feeling, you could even bring in a few Danish pastries every now and then! Letting your staff have a quick break and a tea or coffee is a great way to help them quickly decompress and get back to work even more productive than before. There’s nothing more hygge than a nice cup of coffee!

If you have several employees, you might not want them all to be constantly waiting for the kettle to boil so they can have a cup of tea at lunchtime. It’s smart to get a catering urn that can keep a large amount of water near-boiling all day long, so when your staff want a tea, coffee, or cup-a-soup, they can instantly get hot water without having to wait around. This will make life so much easier for your employees – trust us, we make good use of our staff catering urn!

Don’t Forget Your Washroom

reed diffuser

A natural and appealing way to freshen up your washroom

So many businesses focus on making their front of house areas look and feel nice but forget all about their bathrooms – don’t be one of them! This is especially important in customer-facing businesses like restaurants; there’s nothing worse than stepping out of a gorgeously decorated room and into a grimy and poorly-maintained bathroom.

Adopting a hygge approach to your bathroom is good for you as a business and it’s good for your customers and staff. Making your bathroom clean, presentable, low-maintenance, and eco-friendly will give your everyone a better experience and it’ll also help you cut running costs, too.

Pick up an eco-friendly blade hand dryer and a low-maintenance soap dispenser (personally, we like this no-nonsense stainless steel soap dispenser) as a priority. These things aren’t woolly and cosy like other typically hygge things, but they are clean, simple, and low-maintenance – everything you want from a business washroom. You should also get some nice air fresheners that keep everything smelling great – you could even get some reed diffusers and incense burners for a rustic touch.

Hygge Isn’t Just in the Winter

While everyone tends to associate hygge with physical warmth – jumpers, roaring fires, blankets, and so on – it can also represent emotional warmth, too! That means hygge-fying your business doesn’t just have to take place in winter. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, make the most of it with a seating area for customers or staff to enjoy in the warm weather. Don’t worry about having a matching set of chairs – playfully mix them up and throw on some cushions and thin blankets to make sure your business is hygge all year round!


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