Here in the Tampa bay area we have user groups. Some are small, some are large, some are new, some are long running. But no matter what size, or type, or subject matter; you will almost always get more out of a group than you put in. While this topic could, should, and likely will be discussed at length later the Tl;DR is: more heads the better.
Knowledge: No one person knows everything, but everyone knows something they can share.
Connections: Looking for a new position? Want to meet people who do what you do ’cause all your friends are network engineers? Goto a group meet.
Openness: Everyone is at the group to be there, no one is (typically_ forces to attend. Thus you see the people that WANT to participate in the community at large.
IMO, for the money, local groups are an absolute win.
Over the course of the better part of the last decade I have worked in start ups, corporate office parks, small but good profit businesses, even a non-profit helping the needy. With each environment come different obstacles
to getting ‘in the zone’. Be it the noise level, the constant interruption the crapped work area, the rhythmic but distract noise of commercial airliners taking off and landing.
Of all the reasons to have for not ‘getting in the zone’ I have found the best thing you can do get a quite area, no distracts, and envelope yourself in the task at hand. If that means wearing ear plugs, so be it. If that means leaving the office floor and working in the quite lobby, by all means. And if so lucky, working from home on the couch (no TV!).
Do what needs to be done to have an environment conducive to being effective.