"Purposeful variety" and "user experience" are two phrases that keep tumbling around my head as I think about commercial interiors. "User experience" or "UX" came from Caroline Horton, with whom I spoke for my June piece on young facility managers. She was talking about how she anticipates the work facility managers do to become more and more about creating an environment that augments the ability of facility occupants to be happy, productive, and long-term employees. Maybe it's about creating huddle rooms with whiteboard walls. Maybe it's about free beer in the break room. It depends.
That variability and specificity ties in with a piece I did on high performance interiors. The concept of purposeful variety came from Joseph White, director of workplace strategy at Herman Miller. Individual strategies — benching in open office, for example — can be great. But it all depends on whether or not they work in your particular environment and for your particular employees. In addition, the same solution can not be blanketed across the entire space and be fully successful.
“Work has become much more varied in nature,” says White. “But that variety should be very specific.” The recipe for getting the right mix is understanding the organization’s culture and its ultimate goals, as well as the character of the organization, he says.
What do you think about all of this? I know — it's hard enough keeping hot/cold calls in check without fussing about the user experience. But it is an inevitable evolution of the facility manager's role, I think, and the customer expectation is already there. What are the questions you have about high performance interiors and managing the user's experience? Let me know in the comments below.
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