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Be kind, play nice, say 'thank you': Why having an 'office mom' may make for a happier workplace

How does Denmark, the happiest country in the world continually rank in the top for job satisfaction? Daniel Baun, HR and Recruitment Manager, Trendhim, blames it all on mom. Be kind. Play nice. Say ‘thank you’. The lessons we learned as children are as important now as ever.

Denmark is no stranger to being happy. Despite cold, unforgiving winters and rainy days filling half of the calendar year, we Danes still find a way to rank as one of the world’s happiest places to live. Maybe it’s the liver pâté and rye bread lunches we ate as children or the five weeks' paid vacation, free public healthcare and high level of job satisfaction we enjoy as adults.

For us at Trendhim, we think it’s because we bring our mom to work… and she makes the best rye bread sandwiches.

Taking your mom to the office may sound like the plot of a reality TV show, but the reasoning behind it is solid. Along with being happy, Danes experience one of the highest levels of job satisfaction in the world.

Don’t think that matters? Consider how many hours you spend at the office combined with the commute to get there. If you’re like us, you spend nearly as much time at work as you do at home. Finding ways to make the workplace more like home is key in learning to like it and thrive in it.

The Happiness Research Institute and Krifa have determined that "the joy of working overall plus the experience of having had a good day yesterday and looking forward to the work day tomorrow" play major roles in how happy you are at your job.

They conducted a study and found job satisfaction to be dependent on several factors: "Whether you experience having a say, whether you are satisfied with leadership at your workplace, whether you feel good around your colleagues, and whether you experience a balance between work life and spare time".

This is where our mom comes in. She’s here to make sure we’re heard and that we build relationships with the leadership and our colleagues. In other words, mom makes sure we play nicely together, say ‘please and thank you’ and eat our vegetables. Sounds a lot like every mom. Ever.

It’s having empathy and taking an active responsibility for each other that makes our workday more pleasant and keeps us coming back each day.

Lotte Kudsk is Trendhim’s mom. Not only is it her official job title, but it’s also the title she wears at home. A proud mother of her own son and foster mom to seven teenagers over the past 15 years.

If you ask her to describe her role as office mom, she’d say that it’s "to be kind and loving and encourage good behaviour". While those aren’t skills you normally list on a CV, they are the ones required to boost job satisfaction and make people happy.

Have good manners

“Remembering to say ‘good morning’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ are so important at work. I’m happy to be the person who says it each day and reminds you that it’s important to see your colleagues and show them that they matter,” says Lotte in her mother-is-watching-you voice.

“For me, it’s about daring to care. Listening to your colleagues and making eye contact doesn’t take long. It’s having empathy and taking an active responsibility for each other that makes our workday more pleasant and keeps us coming back each day.”

Play nice with each other

Mom believes that it’s the “small things behind the curtain” that matter. “Everyone at Trendhim is good at their job - that’s why you’re here. I’m here to make sure we move from the screens and messaging apps and learn how to really care for each other. It’s a way to bring hygge to the office. Something that is sorely missing from many workplaces but what Denmark is famous for.”

Denmark has given the world many wonderful things. From inspiring Walt Disney with Tivoli Gardens to the discrimination-is-bad lesson in The Ugly Duckling and now its latest export… hygge.

Hygge is the thing that makes working in Denmark different from working in other places and what makes working at Trendhim special. Think of it as a bubble. A bubble where you feel comfortable in a situation and safe with the people you’re around. It’s a feeling of ease and of being relaxed. Danes love to have hygge at home or on the weekends, so bringing it to the office is a natural next step.”

Eat your vegetables

“At Trendhim we have hygge when we eat together. Our international colleagues always find it strange that the directors eat at the same table with everyone else. The fact that I prepare and serve lunch encourages everyone to leave their desks and come together.

"Community and fellowship are important. It’s not about just being good at your job – it’s about liking each other, seeing and hearing each other and trusting each other. Eating together helps encourage that."

Don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking

Language plays a key role in the hygge of Trendhim. “English is the main language. Using a common language lets everyone join in a conversation, follow a task and suggest an idea. It’s also a part of the atmosphere of hygge – it makes everyone feel safe.

"You know that you can come to lunch or walk up to a group of your colleagues at the coffee machine and that you won't be left out. You’re safe. You can break into that bubble of hygge and feel hyggelig when you get inside.”

Dare to care

“The most important part of my job is to let people know that they’ve been seen and that they are cared for. I’m not the mom that is here to clean up your mess. I’m the mom here to make sure someone says hello to you and inspires you to say hello to the next person.

"There’s time to bury your head in work and there’s time to stand up and remember that we’re a team and that mom is here with a hug if you need one," she says.

For us a Trendhim, having a mom at work makes things better. Yes, it’s great having someone make lunch every day, but it’s even nicer having someone remind us to be kind. It’s easy to forget the lessons we learned as kids once we grow up – but doing what mom says will always be important. Thanks, mom.

Did you know?

  • In addition to encouraging hygge, one of Trendhim’s core values is hakuna matata.
  • Our international workplace is active in 28 countries and 18 languages.
  • Over ¾ of our team are not Danish… but all love hygge!
  • We eat lunch together every day at noon. Mom says you’re welcome to stop by and say hello.
  • Denmark is the 2nd happiest country in the world. We let Finland take the #1 spot in 2019. You’re welcome, Finland.

Photo / StockUnlimited

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