Hygge in the new workplace

Hygge in the new workplace
September 20, 2021
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Designing an environment that your team can't experience at home is a great incentive to bring folks back to the office.

Why would employees want to come to your office? They're happy — and productive — working from home.

77% of remote workers find working from home makes them more productive. 74% say the option to work from home makes them more likely to stay with a company. 85% of managers, meanwhile, believe that having a team that is at least partially remote is the new normal in a post-COVID world (1).

Designing an environment that your team can't experience at home is a great incentive to bring folks back to the office. Creating a hygge vibe in your workplace can be a creative way to bolster team morale, mental health, productivity, and general happiness.

Designing an environment that your team can't experience at home is a great incentive to bring folks back to the office.

More than that, it positions your office as a place to be, and it shifts your company culture toward a hospitality-first focus.

What is Hygge?

A defining characteristic of Danish culture that has rapidly gained popularity and appeal in the west, hygge is the purposeful curation of a feeling of coziness. A sense of comfort and conviviality that instills feelings of contentment and wellbeing.

It's why we love a cozy fireside and a mug of steaming cocoa in a snowstorm.

In the wake of the pandemic, it's easy to see how this notion has gained even greater popularity.

"I have to recognize that the office and the workplace compete against the convenience of working from home." — Peter Van Emburgh, SVP, Global Head of Real Estate at CBRE

Hygge as a productivity booster

Comfort has long been recognized as a factor in productivity among workers (2). Many employers who were adamantly anti-remote work before COVID are forced to acknowledge the productivity-enhancing benefits of allowing people to work in their own space and change their policies.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, estimates that "25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021." (3)

Imagine harnessing the power of working from home in the office.

It may not be that complicated to do so. For most people, simply having control over their comfort is key to ensuring a productive working environment.

Imagine harnessing the power of working from home in the office.

Productivity thrives at home because we are in complete control of that domain (4). We can choose the temperature, whether to curl up on a bean bag chair or sit at a desk. We decide if we will wrap ourselves in blankets while we type or get down to business in nothing but our pajamas.

Introducing a few creature comforts and that sense of contented coziness in your workspace is an easy way to bridge the gap between office work and home comfort.

Embracing hygge and a more wellbeing-focused approach to space, in general, is not only good for morale and encouraging people to come into the office, but it's also great for team productivity and, ultimately, profitability.

Another Scandinavian concept, arbejdsglæde, which translates to 'happiness at work,' tells us precisely what we should strive for — happy workers. When employees have job satisfaction, it's better for them, better for the team, and better for the business. Greater productivity, higher levels of creativity, lower staff turnover, and a culture that attracts top talent are just some advantages of satisfied workers.

Here are a few simple but highly effective ways of introducing hygge into your workspace and ensuring arbejdsglæde.

The Outdoors, indoors

Hygge is rooted in the natural world. Nature-inspired interior design elements like terrariums, driftwood furniture or art, and even living versions of your company logo are a great way of bringing the soothing elements of nature into the workspace.

Water features

Bring elements of the outdoors into your workplace.
Bring elements of the outdoors into your workplace.

Another way to infuse your working area with natural elements is to introduce water. Whether a fountain, a rain display, or a tropical aquarium, a water feature brings a soothing natural element into your surroundings.

Warm lighting

Ditching the harsh fluorescent lightbulbs and opting for softer lighting options is ideal — the color of lighting can heavily impact our circadian rhythm (5).

Softer, warmer lighting improves focus and work performance, as well as enhances wellbeing and happiness.

Go for antique desk lamps, look for ways of maximizing natural light, and try to incorporate candlelight or firelight (safety permitting).

Tip: Solar-powered faux candles add a quirky, eco-friendly, safety-first option.


If you have a kitchen, keep it well stocked with healthy grazing foods like fruit, trail mix, granola, yogurts, as well as sweeter treats for those who love processed sugar.

Twitter's Real Estate & Workplace team incorporated snacks into a successful wellbeing (not to mention marketing) campaign that gains great engagement and showcases their company culture:

Cozy Work Areas

Take a break from conventional desks and seating.
Take a break from conventional desks and seating.

Creating workspaces designed to be more like a living room is a great way to promote a hygge vibe at work. Think cuddle chairs, blankets, quirky beverage stations, and a break from the formal desk-based assigned seating we're all so accustomed to.

Design based on what your employees want and prefer

Your vision of an idyllic, hospitality-driven workplace may not align with your employees. Knowing what spaces your employees use and don't is an integral part of building a better workplace experience.

Qualitative data (surveys, for example) are useful. However, in the end, your employees vote with their feet. Measuring their behavior while in your space gives you the insights you need to make smarter space decisions. Real-time occupancy data, like Density's, will help you design a space according to how your team most likes to work and what creature comforts will help them achieve arbejdsglæde.


  1. Steward, J. 2021, 'The Ultimate List Of Remote Work Statistics For 2021', https://findstack.com/remote-work-statistics/.
  2. Haynes, B. 2008, 'The Impact Of Comfort On Productivity', Sheffield Hallam University, http://shura.shu.ac.uk/4593/1/Haynes__Impact_Office_Comfort_2008.pdf.
  3. Global Workplace Analytics, 2021, 'Work From Home After COVID-19 - Our Forecast', https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast.
  4. Morgan, J. 2015, 'The Future Of Work Is About Flexibility, Autonomy, And Customization', Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2015/09/22/the-future-of-work-is-about-flexibility-autonomy-and-customization/#7c66ff6a2d59
  5. Mills, P. R., Tomkins, S. C., & Schlangen, L. J. (2007), 'The effect of high correlated colour temperature office lighting on employee wellbeing and work performance', Journal Of Circadian Rhythms, 5, 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/1740-3391-5-2.