Setting Your Home Up for Success at Work and School

Who knows what this coming year has in store, but one thing is for certain: School is starting, and it’s starting soon. By most accounts, many schools and colleges will be returning to in-person learning, but you may still have plenty of things to think about.

“Should I choose online classes just to be safe, or do I want the full college experience?” “How will I ever manage my family’s schedule with so much up in the air?” “Are my kids going to be in school in person all year, or should I plan for them to attend classes at home due to the Delta variant spreading so quickly?” “Will I have to figure out if I can continue to work from home indefinitely?”

We can’t answer all of life’s questions right now, but what we can do is this: offer suggestions on how to set your home up for success, no matter what life throws your way for the 2021-2022 school year.

Setting Up Your Home for Distance Learning and Work from Home

Let’s get the most basic of basics out of the way first: internet access.

Make sure your household internet access is powerful enough to keep up with everyone in your family, at all hours of the day, even if you have multiple devices in use at the same time.

You should also take some time to think about each person in your household and consider what he or she may need. You may wish to ask everyone about their experiences throughout 2020. What worked for them? What didn’t? And how can it all be better?

The most comfortable, productive environments for home offices or school workstations include several key features.

  1. A Door

    When you need to concentrate, call someone, or participate in a remote class, you will need block out — or keep in — the noise.

  2. Windows

    Natural lighting can improve mood, which has been shown to increase positivity and productivity. Windows will also make you feel more comfortable and simply allow for a more scenic atmosphere. If windows aren’t an option, make sure the nook has the ideal lighting to meet the individual’s preferences and needs.

  3. Ergonomic Furniture and Supplies

    If you are working from home or children are attending classes at home, that means you will be using those chairs, desks, and keyboards relentlessly. Invest in ergonomic chairs, high-quality furniture, and reliable equipment. Working from home lying on the floor or with your feet up on the living room sofa may be comfortable and rather fun, but after a while, your wrists, back, and shoulders will feel the effects.

    Along these lines, make sure you have cabinets or shelves for documents, books, or similar materials readily available at your workstation. The home office or study room should also be well-connected, allowing you or your children to work or attend classes without searching frantically through the rest of the home for a charger or the phone itself.

  4. Division

    Yes, it is possible to work from home and still consider it “home.” The trick is to stop working once you’re done. One way to ensure you separate your “work home” from the “home is where your heart is home” is to literally set it up to look different than the rest of the rooms. How?

    • Toss an area rug under the workstation. Once you’re on the rug, you’re at work. Step off, and you’re off. Don’t look back. As an added bonus, the rug will beautify the space, so you can take more pride in calling it your office or classroom.
    • Paint the walls a different color than the rest of your home.
    • Having some decor in your makeshift home office is a nice touch, but choose decor that is related to education or your career. Add some fresh greenery in the space as well for comfort and an aesthetic appeal.
    • If multiple people must work from home, try to ensure each person has his or her own space. Allow them to decorate the space in a way that reflects their own individuality and is most conducive to their success.

Finding the Ideal Spaces for a Home Office or Workstation

Are you thinking, “Sure, all of that sounds nice, but where?” Take a look around! There are likely plenty of spaces in your home that can be converted into a home office or personal classroom. You don’t need a lot of space; a few simple creative tweaks are all you need.

Consider these spaces:

  • A small portion of your kitchen, perhaps against a wall that isn’t being used
  • The corner of a hallway
  • A spare bedroom or a portion of a bedroom (as long as you keep your head off the pillow)
  • Unused space in the basement
  • A den/pocket office
  • A dedicated section of the living room
  • The dining room

We all hope life will get back to normal soon, and we are seeing life rebound to pre-pandemic days, slowly but surely. But you can’t deny that we all learned a lot throughout 2020, and we can apply much of it indefinitely.

In this case, we’ve learned that home is more than a place to shower, eat, sleep, and watch TV. You can make your home your palace, the place where you can live your best life.

Fun and Easy Ways to Lower Apartment Air Conditioning Costs this Summer

You can see it coming every year. You know you should take some steps to reduce energy costs, but you procrastinate as time goes on. Then the summer comes, you crank up the air conditioning, and those hefty bills creep into your email inbox. After gasping and nearly throwing the phone, you promise yourself you will do something to lower your apartment air conditioning costs next year.

Well here’s your chance! Get a head start on lowering air conditioning costs by researching ways to save, taking advantage of home design tips, making necessary home repairs, and buying items that may help keep you and your apartment more comfortable.

Simple Ways to Lower Apartment Air Conditioning Costs

The first tip is obvious: throw open the windows, breathe in the fresh air, and let nature keep your apartment cool instead of the air conditioner. If you have seasonal allergies, elderly residents reside in the home, or you must account for other health conditions, that might not be possible. It’s also not ideal if the temperature gets too high.

When that happens, you’ll need to be make an effort to reduce expenses. Here are some easy ways to do so.

  1. Enjoy the breeze from your ceiling fan.

    Trying to save money doesn’t have to mean sacrifice. In this case, you gain benefits. There’s just something about a ceiling fan that’s comforting, soothing, and almost nostalgic. Clearly, it’s also a great way to cool down your home, which will allow you to increase the setting on your thermostat. Set the ceiling fan at a high speed in a counterclockwise motion, which pushes cool air down. Crack open the windows at the same time for greater circulation.

  2. Keep up with air filter changes.

    If you live in one of our apartment communities in southeast Michigan, a member of our maintenance team will routinely take care of this for you.

    The air filter should be changed about two to four times per year depending on the size of your apartment, how often the air conditioner is used, and other household factors such as how many pets you have.

  3. Give your oven the summer off.

    Nothing will heat up your apartment like cranking up the oven knob — or even using the stovetop excessively.

    But look at the bright side. It’s a valid excuse to break out the barbecue grill or order delivery from your favorite metro Detroit area restaurant near your apartment.

    It’s also a great opportunity to freshen up your mad salad tossing skills.

  4. Be reasonable with the air conditioner.

    If you take some other measures to lower apartment air conditioning costs, you won’t have to freeze everyone out of your home.

    Go ahead and use the air conditioner! It’s one of the best features of our metro Detroit area apartments. But you don’t have to turn your home into an icebox. (That’s what pools are for.)

    DTE Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees. If you prefer it closer to 72, consider setting it at 74 instead. Those two degrees can save you a few dollars every month. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates a savings of about 1 percent for each degree for every eight hours.

    Speaking of hours, consider setting your air conditioner on a timer to account for the nighttime or periods when no one is home. According to DTE, with proper use throughout the year, programmable thermostats can save you about $180 annually in energy costs.

  5. Open and close your blinds strategically.

    If it’s sunny and that sun is baking the inside of your apartment, shut the blinds or close the curtains. If it’s nice and breezy in the evening, open up the windows to let the cool air in at night.

    You also may wish to create shade in your apartment by placing tall plants in front of the windows, on the patio, or in front of the sliding door.

  6. Keep yourself cool to stay cool.

    One way to stay cool in the summer is to opt for cotton bedding. The breathable fibers wick away sweat and help moderate your temperature.

    You can also take advantage of our beautiful amenities and serene grounds in order to stay cool. Sip on a cold drink under a shady tree, sit under a gazebo, relax by the pond, or head out to one of the nearby beaches, lakes, and rivers.

    And here’s the best part: You’ll always have a good excuse to go out for ice cream.

Contact Us For Details

If you currently rent one of our apartments in Michigan and need more information about our outdoor grilling, amenity use, or heating and cooling policies, call us or send us a message online.

If you are shopping for a metro Detroit area apartment, schedule a time for a virtual or in-person tour. We’ll help you find the perfect home for you.

Resident Appreciation Events

We would love to hear from you! Will you share with us how you would like to handle events and promotions moving forward? We love to have resident appreciation events because it gives us a chance to connect with our residents. Flowers for mom, gift wrapping stations, fireworks, costume competitions, pumpkin carving parties, back to school parties, pictures with Santa, breakfast on the go, ugly sweater parties, movie night, take and bake pizza parties, taco Tuesdays, clean out your closet days and many, many more. We want to stay connected with our residents like you, so let us know what we can do to help connect us! Just email us at infoHVC@trowbridgeco.com

Not sure about something? Ask

The office and maintenance team are here to help you, so if you want to paint a wall, adopt a cat, or upgrade an existing light fixture and you’re not sure if you’re allowed to, ask. Also, check your lease for specific guidelines. You can style your apartment to reflect your personality by adding cool furnishings and homey decorations, but just make sure your efforts are not counter to your lease agreement. Let’s talk!