covid-19 resources

We know how different and challenging these times are. Here are some resources to help you work, learn and play from home effectively along with some tips to manage your home. And rest assured, we're still working as hard as ever to keep your MEC services going. 

Working from Home

  • Generate Structure: It is important to treat a work from home scenario as though you are working from your office. Wake up early, get showered and dressed, and take your usual breaks and lunch break like you would normally. This structure will help you keep your regular rhythm and keep your day from getting away from you.
  • Create a Designated Workspace: Suddenly working from your bed, your kitchen table, or your couch all seems enticing. However, setting up a designated workspace will help you eliminate distractions and stay focused during office hours. There’s nothing more distracting than working from your kitchen table with a pile of dirty dishes staring at you. 
  • Maximize Your Internet Connection: You're using the internet more now, especially if you are connecting to your workplace through a VPN. Please take a minute to watch this video to help ensure you are getting the speeds you need on your devices. We also have several guides and troubleshooting resources available should you run into issues. And remember, we don't have data caps, and we don't throttle our service.
  • Consider a Wi-Fi Extender or a Mesh Unit: As Wi-Fi travels through floors and walls, the signal degrades. If your home office isn't getting the signal strength you need, an extender can fix it. We offer a mesh  satellite  unit that will carry strong signals to every corner of your home and beyond. 
  • Build a Good Playlist: Matching your playlist to your task at hand can be a great way to get motivated, stay focused, and conquer your task list. Check out CNET's review of available music streaming services
  • Stay Connected: Working from home can become pretty isolating, so take a few minutes each day to check  in with colleagues. Make sure they know how and when they can contact you as well.
  • Reduce Electricity Usage: Yep. You're using more electricity right now. Scroll down to the Managing Your Home section for some useful tips.
  • Take Care of You: No doubt; these days are challenging. Here are some ways to protect your mental health and help you keep perspective.

Learning from Home

  • Introduce Your Child to New Skills: Here are some great resources for younger kids just beginning their learning adventures.
  • Help Older Kids and Teenagers Stay Engaged:  While your older kids have things like Tik Tok and gaming to keep them occupied, these resources offer unique ways keep their minds active.
    • Learn a foreign language on DuoLingo, which offers free language instruction in dozens of languages.
    • Grammarly’s free writing resources can help kids who need to practice their skills.  
    • TED Talks open up the opportunity for you and your kids to learn about world issues and new ideas, which makes for great dinner time education.
    • Khan Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free education, offers a wealth of courses in many subjects including test prep.

Playing from Home

  • Start Streaming: Want to jump into streaming TV? Check out our Cutting the Cord page that will covers streaming services and the available devices you need in order to stream. Many services offer free trials and some are evening offering access to movies that would normally only be in theaters right now.
  • Get Cooking: Our Michigan Country Lines Magazine hosts the MiCoopKitchen website with tons of reader-submitted recipes.
  • Move it. Move it.: Keeping active during this time is critical to both physical and mental health. Shape Magazine highlights several streaming exercise programs to keep you moving. 
  • Play Games: Family-friendly online games can offer a fun way to connect with friends and family whether they are in your home or across the country.  Here are some suggestions from TechRadar.
  • Take it Outside: Go for a mid-day walk, and see if you can identify new sights and sounds. With spring migration underway, now is a great time to look for new feathered neighbors.

Managing Your Home

  • Monitor Your Utility Usage: Increased time at home will likely mean higher electric and gas usage. If you have MEC for electric, you can monitor how much electricity you use via SmartHub. You can also look at past bills to see what you've used previously to compare. 
  • Watch Out for Vampire Loads: Plugged-in appliances, devices and chargers use electricity continuously even if they are powered off or not in use.  We call this usage a vampire load, and it can increase your electric bill by roughly $200/year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Check out this article for tips on how to reduce, or eliminate, vampire loads. 
  • Curb Electric Idle Time: Power down and unplug your computer and other devices whenever you are done for the day. Don't forget to unplug the charger too!  At other times,  place your computer in sleep mode or stop a game instead of pausing it.
  • Rely on Battery Power: If you're using a laptop, use battery power for as long as you can before plugging in.
  • Turn Lights Off: Remember when your parents would bark at you for leaving lights on in empty rooms? They had good reason. It's wasting electricity. Turn off the lights when you leave a room or consider leaving lights off altogether during the day.