What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Hygge”?
One option is the simple question “What’s that and how the heck do you pronounce it?!”
The other option would be some mental image of cozy blankets, aroma-candles, sweet treats and warm mugs of coffee. Hygge is the Danish concept of coziness and warmth that’s taking the world (not to mention Instagram influencers’ feeds) by storm.
But is there a business-application of Hygge?
Turns out, there is. It’s the idea that you can create “a working (and life) environment that makes you “feel like home” no matter where you are.” That’s what Ani Hira told me.
Ani is a business consultant and coach with 20 years of work experience in the field of management, training, business development, and coaching. Her passion is creating an environment based on natural harmony and trust.
Almost 2 years ago, Ani started her new career journey in developing human potential. “I left the corporate life at the peak of my career as I decided to follow my heart and intuition at that time and not because I didn’t like it“, says Ani.
She founded HUGAH BG – an organization inspired by the hygge concept and applying it in business relations. She will be presenting these principles at Innovation Explorer, one of the coolest events in Sofia coming on February 20.
I spoke with Ani about connecting hygge to business life and using it for improving productivity. According to her, it’s pretty obvious that happy workers are more productive. Using Hygge in business helps with that by creating “an environment that truly makes you feel accepted, trusted, appreciated, and comfortable enough to express your true self.” It means building a culture that encourages employees to bring their whole self to work, eliminating the worry about getting accepted and funneling that saved mental energy into creative work.
According to Ani, the way to bring hygge into your work is to do the opposite of what your stressed, busy, and always connected mind is telling you to do – stop. She says our breed of busy professionals needs downtime – “time for pause, for quality time and consciousness.” This helps us “live “here and now” with internal satisfaction and joy of who we are, what we do, and how we live.”
In business, hygge is achieved mainly through communication – with peers, higher-ups, clients, and anyone else. “There are two simple components of coziness – to be clean and warm. When you apply these two principles – to be “clean”, i.e. honest in your relationships and “warm”, i.e. caring about others not just yourself – you’re already creating a hygge atmosphere where everybody feels safe, welcome and secured.”
Ani has codified these ideas within the name of her business HUGAH. It’s actually an abbreviation that explains what our communication should look like:
- Humanity and Honesty – in your relationship with the team members, managers, peers;
- Uniqueness and coziness – just like every person is unique I truly believe every office or work space is unique with its presence (just like every home);
- Gentleness and care – in developing your products, yourself, your business, others. When you create something it’s always special and meaningful because you care as you’ve left a piece of yourself in its creation.
- Authenticity and action – it’s all about being different, agile, special and in the end it’s all about what you did and how you count your achievements.
- Humor and harmony – it’s about having fun and enjoying life in all those small moments that make you smile and feel alive.
Finally, I asked Ani how professionals can develop their potential. Her recipe includes:
- Self-reflection and self-awareness;
- Willingness to grow, develop and learn;
- Readiness to change and improve;
- Giving and being open to share with others;
- Finding your “sparkling joy” and remembering that “less is more”;
What drew me to this interview was my personal search for building a lasting healthy relationship with peers and clients – and with myself. I was expecting specific steps and replicable models. I guess this is how my mind works.
But Ani shared some more general advice. She simply said that “we have all the resources we need to live a meaningful and fulfilling life – we just sometimes need to ask the right questions, accept the reality and still look for what’s next.”
And I’m inclined to believe her. So if you want to know more about feeling at home in your work, get your Innovation Explorer tickets and come meet Ani.