Can the Danish influence of ‘hygge’ affect our work life as well as our home life?

The Scandinavian phenomenon of hygge or ‘taking pleasure from soothing things’ took the UK by storm last year, bringing happiness into our homes and landing a spot in the Oxford English dictionary. However we predict the addition of another Danish influence in 2017… arbejdsglæde.

Not quite as easy to pronounce as hygge, arbejde means work and glæde means happiness so arbejdsglæde is ‘happiness at work.’ Here our client services director Helen Littlewood looks at how OneAgency has decided to take the arbejdsglæde influence and inject some hygge into our agency for a more relaxed and productive working environment.

It’s no secret, agency life can be stressful. Long hours, challenging tech, creative temperaments and deadlines, deadlines, deadlines can all lead to a stressful work life.

Fifteen years and counting working in this environment has led me to consider and focus on the areas that make for a happier workday. Now we’re not quite at the candle-lighting end of the hygge spectrum here at Thorpe Road, but I do believe our team deserves a happy, cosy and inviting atmosphere in the office.

The workplace atmosphere can have huge effects on people’s wellbeing, so naturally it’s important to create an enjoyable environment Monday to Friday. Gone are the strip lights and in are strategically placed low lamps and desk lights. There are comfy chairs and quiet places for the times when there’s a need to step away from the desk environment to proof read or conduct an interview.

Having delicious hot drinks and pure water on tap can go a long way to making people more productive and happy. Recently we had a brand new Zip HydroTap installed in our newly designed Scandi-themed kitchen, keeping the team hydrated, refreshed and alert with boiling, filtered, chilled or sparkling water. Meanwhile a new meeting place has emerged around our new Liquidline coffee machine as colleagues choose between a cappuccino, espresso, latte or strong black in the morning and a hot chocolate, mochaccino or chocomilk in the afternoon!

Recreating the happy vibes we get from being outdoors are some lovely potted plants distributed throughout the agency and hopefully adding a helping hand to keep everyone healthy and fighting fit is an overflowing fruit bowl with whatever fruit is in season.

While all these things are very important, featuring higher on our radar as an employer in this vibrant industry is our responsibility to ensure all our staff are supported and feel that there is opportunity to voice opinions and communicate openly with one another.

We’re lucky enough to work in an industry where a misjudged decision doesn’t mean life or death but it could make or break a business (and it has certainly felt like life or death in my younger, less experienced days!). So how do we instill a working environment that brings out the very best in people and doesn’t break them?

Below are some qualities we think make for a happy environment. These are also qualities we look for in individuals who work at OneAgency and why we believe we have the successful team we do:


But none of these words mean anything unless we develop a working environment that firmly establishes them in the day-to-day ethos.

We’ve done a number of things to support and bring out the best in people and improve the overall office wellbeing in which to carry out our work.

A monthly get together – termed .conflab – is designed to share ideas, to voice an opinion and to learn from each other. No one has all the answers and our industry is moving fast so keeping up-to-date is key to success.

For those who are less forthcoming in an open environment, a suggestion box allows staff to put forward their ideas without the glare and immediate judgement of colleagues. And there’s always an open door policy to discuss any problems.

Internal communication is important for everyone to feel involved and regular overviews on agency news make sure this is the case. Finally, and as some may argue most importantly, we find a glass of Prosecco or bottle of beer at 4pm on a Friday finishes the week off and eases us into the weekend nicely! We’ll hygge to that!

We welcome everyone’s comments or should I say suggestions… you can get on touch below (or via the boxes in my office and on studio floor!)