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Data-Driven Office Design: OpenSquare’s Mark Conway At Bisnow’s Future Of The Eastside

OpenSquare Senior Vice President Mark Conway
OpenSquare Senior Vice President Mark Conway

Bellevue is gearing up for major changes as big-name companies like Facebook and REI move forward with new offices. Combined with plans to expand the Sound Transit light rail, these corporate moves have real estate investors setting their sights on the Eastside. Some of the biggest names in real estate in the Pacific Northwest, including OpenSquare’s Mark Conway, will gather to discuss these topics and more at Bisnow’s the Future of the Eastside event on Dec. 10. Register here for the event


To Mark Conway, a well-designed office doesn’t just boost employee productivity; it gives a sense of choice and control. As senior vice president for OpenSquare, he and his team strive to create spaces that give employees options for where they can work throughout the day, so no one feels tied to a desk or stuck in an unproductive environment.      


“People want the option to be able to work somewhere more private and secluded in the morning and then move to larger areas where they can hold team meetings in the afternoon,” Conway said. “It empowers them and makes them feel like they are in control of their day.”      


Bisnow recently sat down with Conway to learn more about OpenSquare’s unique approach to designing office spaces that boost employees’ health, happiness and productivity. Conway will be speaking on a panel entitled “Live, Work and Play in the Eastside” at Bisnow’s upcoming the Future of the Eastside event on Dec. 10. 


Bisnow: Let’s talk about data-driven design: How is OpenSquare using data to help create better office spaces? 


Conway: In today’s high-cost environment, measuring how you use space is critical for efficiency. We offer tools like room and seat sensors that gather data that can determine the level of effective utilization clients are getting out of their space and identify opportunities to adjust their spaces to keep their teams engaged.


We use this quantitative data to identify opportunities for micro space adjustments that clients can make that will keep the space relevant over time and keep their teams engaged. Through these tools, we can show that employees tend to be congregating in certain areas over others and help clients determine why. It could be they’re drawn to rooms with a higher level of technology tools, capacity or comfort. Or it might be that certain areas get better light throughout the day. Sometimes, we can help them discover that entire rooms or even floors are not being used by their teams effectively, allowing them to downsize their space and drastically cut costs.


Bisnow: What do you think about the offices in Bellevue? 


Conway: What’s great about Bellevue is that for several years, the city planners have been focused on making Bellevue a very “walkable city.” Access, ease of movement and collaboration are some of their goals. Owners and developers have created both indoor and outdoor spaces where people can come together and they have enhanced paths of travel between buildings, parking and access to public transit. 


With the Spring District master plan, they’ve seemed to have created a great sense of balance. The plan lays out great access and a robust infrastructure for movement and transportation.


OpenSquare has the experience and talent to work alongside design teams to make indoor and outdoor spaces that are really empowering to the workforce.


Bisnow: What are you looking forward to at Bisnow’s The Future of the Eastside event? 


Conway: I have lived on the Eastside over 20 years, and I know how some areas have been underutilized. It has been difficult for people to get around if they chose to walk or use public transit, but now there are steps being taken to change that, like the expansion of the light rail and the addition of bike paths, sidewalks, footbridges and open areas to collaborate. I’m excited to discuss these developments at the event.     


Bisnow: Why isn’t office design a do-it-yourself kind of task?


Conway: Through our experience of working with various companies in just about every industry, we can apply our findings of what has worked and what hasn’t worked to help shape the vision our clients have for their space. We then pair this research with our industry knowledge to our design concepts. 


The process should be an iterative and interactive dialogue with the owner and design team. We’re doing our best to add value where possible, share best practices and educate clients on effective tools and workplace strategies that can not only help them meet their goals and objectives but stretch them.  


Bisnow: How do you help companies create spaces that improve the overall employee experience? 


Conway: So many aspects of an office contribute to employee happiness, engagement, well-being and productivity. We bring a wide range of data points to help companies create a space that improves their employee's experience from sharing stories about companies we work with to taking a sensory approach to their workplace design that engages all five senses, to sharing our research around how to design for reducing burnout.   


Enhancing employee choice and control is one of the key strategies we find most effective. Everyone has a different working style, and their privacy and productivity needs can change throughout the day. Offering employees multiple spaces where they can concentrate on their solo projects, collaborate with a team or make a call to a client can impact their overall satisfaction. 


We help companies create flexible office spaces that include the tools, technology and furniture needed to give employees that choice.


Conway will be speaking on a panel called “Live, Work and Play in the Eastside” at Bisnow’s upcoming the Future of the Eastside event on Dec. 10. Register here for the event


This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and OpenSquare. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.