Umbrella Company Employees and other independent professionals who make a living through freelance contracting may at times need to tolerate a degree of isolation; however, new research from Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) suggests that there is an easy solution – co-working.

Co-working involves individual independent professionals getting together with a loose collection of other unrelated freelancers and entrepreneurs to share a workspace in a central location rather than working alone at the kitchen table or in the local coffee shop.

Vareska van de Vrande, associate professor at RSM, and two colleagues – Associate Professor Nike Hynes and Assistant Professor Katrin Burmeister – studied data from over 500 users of the Dutch co-working platform www.Seats2meet.com. The research revealed that these freelancers not only built a network of friendly colleagues to rub shoulders with by pooling their resources into a hosted co-working space, but they were also able to enhance their prospects.

One in eight of the co-workers found new contracts or jobs as a result of their participation in the shared workspace, while 25% went on to build professional partnerships with their new colleagues and 50% said that their knowledge of business and tax issues had been significantly improved as a result of their participation in the scheme.

Respondents, many of whom did not have their own office, said they enjoyed having “people around them” and “the feeling of going to work”.

The study found that having a diversity of other professionals around facilitated new connections with prospective customers and new opportunities.

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