Tom Fuge: To Cowork or To Not Cowork: How To Know What Style Office Best Suits Your Company

By DC Startup Week

The global market value of flexible workspaces is estimated at an approximate $26 billion. 26 billion. What do we mean by “flexible workspaces?” Well, co working spaces. With the rise of entrepreneurs and startups — yay! — comes the rise in demand for more flexible office options. The standard cubicle-style way of doing things is becoming less and less desirable — but maybe that’s still the best model for your business, or maybe you need an open office. This week we’re talking to Tom Fuge, Senior VP at Truss, a tech-enabled platform that helps startups find the right space for their business. 

1.What do you love most about the DC Startup Community? 

It’s inclusive and has tons of opportunities to get involved.

2. Tells us a little bit about yourself and Truss.

I am the Regional Senior Vice President for Truss, located here in Washington D.C. I help companies — large and small — explore, negotiate and lease commercial office space. My wife, Carlin and I, are DC natives with a 1 year old daughter, Maddie, and dog, Lane. 

Truss is a leading online marketplace that helps small and medium-sized business owners find, tour, and lease space. Our tech-enabled platform and our people help you find the right space for the best price in record time. 

3. What inspires you when working with startups with Truss?

Startups are exciting places to work: energized and passionate people focused on changing the status quo. I like to think that I help them at the critical entrepreneurial phase where locating the right space is critical to their success. It’s important to find an office that can help recruit/retain talent that doesn’t break the bank and burden growth.

4. Truss connects startups to their ideal office space — when should startups start looking for their own dedicated space?

It’s really never too soon to get educated. If you go with co working you can move into a new space tomorrow. More traditional space can take 30-90 days to get set up. It’s always good to find a few options to create leverage for negotiations no matter what path you choose. Luckily, options are boundless for tenants in the market today. Give yourself 3-6 months to tour the market, explore options and take the time to find the right place.

5. There’s a lot of debate about the “open office” space setup. What have you found works best for startups? Or is it not a one size fits all type of deal?

Open offices are less expensive since you don’t need as much space (i.e. less square footage per employee), so they are appealing to many businesses that are looking to save money. The use of the space really depends on the company/industry. If it’s an office of engineers or developers than they all have their headphones on anyway and open space might be the way to go. If it’s a sales office and everyone is constantly on the phone, then you are going to need some private spaces to make calls. One size doesn’t not fit all and its important to get a consensus of how people work on a day to day basis when determining layout.

6. As you know, the co-working industry has blown up over the last few years. What do you think is next for Truss?

We have seen a dramatic rise in coworking listings, and companies that historically have not considered a coworking environment are now doing so. We will continue to make our database the most accurate and complete assembly of available spaces – both coworking and direct – in all of our markets.

Thanks, Tom! A startup office means more than a ping pong table and beer tap in the common areas. Finding the right fit and style office for your business is an integral part in building company culture and setting your company up for success.

We’re excited to hear you speak at DCSW 2019 about scaling startups.