The Danish concept of Hygge, something that became hugely fashionable in 2016, focuses on coziness, relaxation, and familiarity. There is no ultimate definition of Hygge. It can mean many things - it’s relative to the individual, focuses on simplicity, and can offer a sense of security, particularly in the cold months.
As the weather turns colder and people are still spending a significant amount of time indoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reflection also turns to their career opportunities and paths as they have adapted to the new normal of working from home and settled into a routine. Hygge is a comfort blanket concept that can be applied to career choices, and with Danish people being some of the happiest in the world, the question is, how can Hygge concepts help you thrive in your career?
The unemployment statistics have been a harrowing reminder of the impact of Covid-19 on the modern world. Businesses that felt invincible were suddenly hard-stopped, and the economic impact on peoples’ lives has been devastating. What can security look like in current times?
In Hygge, to give oneself a sense of security would be hot drinks, cozy fireplaces, and heavy blankets to calm the body and soul. While these remedies are an immediate fix, through the long, dark months, the consistency of calming actions creates an overall feeling of security.
In terms of career, while job security can cause many to want to stay put in their current roles, taking a step back and looking at your long-term trajectory can be a valuable investment in your long-term security. Consider industries that are thriving right now. Which ones have adapted quickly and embraced change? Being mindful of these market dynamics can be a helpful tool to consider the next steps you should be aiming for and where growth opportunities could be in the future. Spend time recrafting your resume and reflecting slowly on where you want to be in the ‘new world.’
Amongst the uncertainty, there are some benefits too. Interviews are easier to conduct and schedule. Ice-breaking is somewhat easier under the umbrella of a shared struggle to discuss. Change can be a daunting prospect right now, but not owning inevitable change can be equally troublesome too.
With time in the office limited for many, social interaction amongst colleagues has impacted workplace connectivity, and people have had to make more effort in their interactions with others.
Hygge would look at game nights, coffee with friends, or mealtimes to create community. With social distancing measures adopted, creating a working culture is difficult in the current climate. Many people are finding video calls exhausting, but social bubbles are still able to happen even with restrictions, happy hours, social distance coffees, and team days in the office, or another location, are good ways for people to increase their social interaction in the workplace and feel a break from the Covid routine, while still adhering to social distancing guidelines. The key to success here is effort.
Now is the time to be creative with ideas - think of ways you can do something different that will be novel. Connect with people you may not normally do in the course of a working day - lunch with new friends can build bridges that translate into the business world. Find clients who are nearby that you may not have been able to meet before easily - they are likely to want a break too. Take the opportunity to impress people and facilitate new connections that can positively impact your work and longer-term success.
Environment & Wellness
While people have been living their best hygge life during the pandemic by spending the days in their "Hyggebukser", space has never been more important than during the current Covid-19 restrictions.
Hygge looks to the natural world for inspiration and takes a “nature is healing” approach to environment and surroundings. Taking a long walk in the autumn leaves or a day by the sea, catching the last rays of the sun, will allow you to increase your own mental wellness. Focus on natural fabrics, layers, and natural light in your house, particularly in your working environment.
Many people are in cramped environments for long periods of time. From a work perspective, think about how you can use this space in the most optimal way and accept the new long-term working situation and invest in making it your own. Create a dedicated work zone - buy a desk, or see if your organization will help cover some of the costs so that you can create a real separation between work and home life. Arrive at the realization that this will be a working style for the long-term.
Likewise, ensure you get time outside and in nature. Creating a routine will help give you stability and allow you to focus on your mental and physical health. Your routine is not likely to be the typical 9-5 we all knew, so find ways to make work work for you.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to create a lot of uncertainty and difficulties for people, but thinking of concepts such as Hygge can be hugely beneficial in the workplace. As parts of the world brace for the upcoming cold months, being extra gentle on yourself and finding comfort is essential for your longer-term success and mental health.