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I've been working 18 months in a telecommute position. We moved to a new part of the US that is lacking any after work activities and I left all my friends 1,500 miles away.

Any ideas out there for keeping what little of my mind is left? Feeling really isolated from everybody. It's hard to get out and meet friends because they are all at work.

Anyone know of any online support or chat groups where telecommuters get together? There are no meetups in my area. I've googled and all I come up with are hundreds of listing for how to get a telecommute job.

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    Hey jk, and welcome to The Workplace! The best questions here ask "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" as explained in our help center. Asking for resources usually isn't a great fit for stack exchange sites as explained here. If you could edit your question to focus it on an answerable question, such as, "How can full-time telecommuters overcome feelings of isolation?" or something similar, you will get much better answers. Thanks in advance! – jmac Jan 14 '14 at 2:41
  • @jmac I had something similar to that and the SO AI said it was subjective but I'll give it a try. – jk. Jan 14 '14 at 2:45
  • jk, the SO AI isn't always the brightest, but some of the issue may be the content of the question as well. Right now you're still asking for online resources specifically. Though that may be one solution, asking specifically for resources usually doesn't get great answers (usually the question will get put on hold). – jmac Jan 14 '14 at 2:48
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    Instead of searching for telecommute, perhaps search for networking events (or user groups). These won't be limited to only telecommuters, but it sounds like you are looking for social interaction and networking events should provide the opportunity for that. – John Oglesby Jan 14 '14 at 3:18
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    @jk, glad I could help! Looks like the change got you a great answer already from Preet. Look forward to more contributions from you in the future. If you haven't already, you may want to take a look at our help center as it has a lot of useful tips that will get you better answers in the future. – jmac Jan 14 '14 at 5:02
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these are the things that I used to do when I first started.

  1. Have routine for starting work - something like always starting at some defined time. I used to walk to the local shop and buy a newspaper.
  2. I made sure that I went out at lunchtimes and breaks and talked to people in the neighbourhood.
  3. I occasionally made a point of visiting local pubs/restaurants at the time other businesses kicked out so that I would meet people working locally. This sort of simulated "grabbing a few after work with the colleagues".

The point was that I would be lonely during work, but I'd mitigate it by interacting with people every day. These days I use IM and make sure I have non work & work related conversations with colleagues too.

An important thing to remember is that you are working, so you need to focus. If you're clever you can use the isolation to help you focus on the work better. This means that you may be more effective but at the same time you have to watch for mental fatigue and a good way to combat is to follow the steps above.

These days are lots of things that are accessible via the internet such as meetup.com where you can get together with people for professional or non professional networking. One person I met like this a fellow programmer who lived locally and we used to code review for each other.

  • Terrific idea with the newspaper. It made me remember that a new coffee shop opened up recently. Would be a great new routine to get a paper there and chill for a little while. I have to do your second suggestion as well. Very important. Neighbors might think I'm a little strange wandering around during the day but it's worth a shot. – jk. Jan 14 '14 at 3:16
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    I recommend watching the movie "Coffee Time" - don't make the trip to the coffee shop the same as work! Also many people these days isolate themselves from their neighbours, and I found it great way to connect with people who your may never see if you commute away to work. – Preet Sangha Jan 14 '14 at 3:18
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    After work hobbies can help too. Join a photography club or take art classes or learn to surf or buy a horse or hang out with the folks at the local gaming store (they often have group gaming events). You will meet people that way. Do some hobby on at least a weekly basis if not more often that gets you out of the house. – HLGEM Jan 14 '14 at 15:12
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    I concur with @HLGEM. Since work ties you to the house, you can compensate with more outside the house activities outside of work. – Preet Sangha Jan 14 '14 at 20:37
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    In addition to HLGEMs comment - it does not sound like you do any (team) sports as a hobby; that would be an opening too. – Jan Doggen Jan 15 '14 at 16:23
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I take the hour (or two or three) a day that would be spent commuting and use it to connect to other people in my field. Not other telecommuters, I don't care where and how they work, but other developers in the languages and technologies I use. That's partly online (twitter, SO, my blog, ...) and partly real life - user groups, conferences, etc. If there is no local user group for whatever it is you do, maybe you could start one?

These things fill the need for friends to chat to (and it isn't all shop talk) and can provide amazing career growth too - you'll get better at your job and meet a lot of people in your field.

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Search for 'coworking places'. These venues offer office space, a printer, a coffee machine etc for freelancers or other telecommuters. It's like an office, except your coworkers do not work for the same company.

Example: http://citizenspace.us/

  • What a cool idea? OP is one isn't available - you might want to consider setting it up. – Preet Sangha Jan 16 '14 at 5:14
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When I worked from home I used to go out to a working lunch most days. I prefer to eat on the early side anyway, so I'd go to the local chain places (Applebee's and the like) that had wi-fi, and I'd sit at the bar for a few hours. I'd get my meal, chat with the bartender, and get some work done in a different environment. It kept things from going too crazy.

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