gollum from lord of the rings gollum from lord of the rings Smeagol became Gollum by staying inside too long. Don't make the same mistake. (Photo: Screenshot / Youtube)

How to work from home without becoming a hermit

You might want to rethink who you befriend and how you spend your free time.

Working from home is becoming more popular, now that people around the world can communicate with one another instantaneously and all. When you work from home, you can gain a ton of flexibility ... But you can also end up like Gollum from "Lord of the Rings."

We should know. Many of us at From the Grapevine work from home. We thought we'd share our collective wisdom to help you maintain your cool job without losing your humanity.

Make friends with weird schedules

Wouldn't it be great to know where your pizza delivery guy is?Pizza delivery workers often put in long, late hours. (Photo: Lassedesignen/Shutterstock)

When I was studying in school and working in office jobs, I assumed the world worked on a 9-5 schedule. When I started working from home, I discovered that there's a whole world out there of people who don't stay cooped up for eight hours a day.

Costume designers, computer programmers, taxi drivers, professors, delivery people, bartenders, writers and artists all often work weird hours. These are great people to work next to and take spontaneous breaks with.


Somewhere in these backpacks atop Mt. Everest is a smartphone that now has internet access.Somewhere in these backpacks is a smartphone that now has internet access. (Photo: Vixit/Shutterstock)

Why stay cooped up when you can go anywhere? If your job doesn't require you to be in any particular place, make use of that!

Backpack the world or visit friends in other parts of the country. Buy those inexpensive weekday flights that most people can't take. Last month, I went to Israel and helped dig up a 4,000-year-old house. You can't do that in an office.

Live with lots of people

The cast of HBO's 'Silicon Valley,' about the group of friends that launch a tech startup.The friends in HBO's 'Silicon Valley' probably couldn't have launched a tech startup if they weren't already living together. (Photo: HBO)

This doesn't apply to everybody, but if you've been thinking about moving, you might want to consider moving somewhere with other humans.

When you work from home, you'll still see your friends, but you'll miss out on the day-to-day interactions you'd have with coworkers. Living with a bunch of roommates or even just moving near friends and family can make a big difference.

Use screens socially

skyping a dateI'm not sure how this laptop feels about being in the middle of whatever is happening here. (Photo: Angela Waye/Shutterstock)

You might need to stick by your computer during the day, but that doesn't mean you can't talk to anyone. Try video chatting with your coworkers and friends. One of my coworkers turns on the news in the background so he can feel like he's tapped into a world beyond his home bubble.

Make evening plans

Blues dancing Feelin' BluesThe Feelin' Blues festival in Tel Aviv is a pretty nice way for Israelis to get out of the house. (Photo: Courtesy of Feelin' Blues)

When I worked in an office, I just wanted to go home and hibernate at the end of the day. Now that I work from home, I want to do stuff in the evenings.

That doesn't mean you should go out clubbing all the time (if you work from home, there's a good chance you're an introvert anyway), but even inviting a friend over for eggplant parmigiana can make you feel like a human being.

Join groups

Group Of People Cheers ConceptThere are even groups who get together just to eat. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Ever wanted to take a pottery class? Now's your chance. You need to replace work friends with something, and groups are a great way to do that. Check out Meetup.com, which connects locals who have the same interests.

Go outside

olive treeYou just don't see this kind of thing in your living room. (Photo: Stephan Vorster/Shutterstock)

It can be easy to sit indoors on the computer all day, but you risk getting swallowed up in primal chaotic darkness.

So go on a walk every now and then. Jog to a bakery and eat a cookie. Take up running. Take up dancing in your backyard like nobody's watching. Weed your garden. Start a garden. Whatever it takes, just don't spend day after day within the same four walls.


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How to work from home without becoming a hermit
25 percent of Americans work from home. If you're one of them, you might want to rethink who you befriend and how you spend your free time.