By ANSON WONG
Melanie Barrett released her books How to Sabotage Studying and How to Make Working From Home-WORK in May of this year.
“I just want to help people live their best lives and be their best selves,” Barrett said. “And as a teacher, I think that’s what I’ve been doing for a couple decades.”
Having grown up on Wayland Avenue, Barrett spent most of her life in the East Toronto area.
Both her books draw from Barrett’s personal experiences as a secondary school educator working from her home Coxwell and Danforth avenues area.
Barrett said she challenged her students in the Peel District School Board to accomplish something during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of my students said, ‘Well, if you’re challenging us Miss, what are you going to do?’” said Barrett, and that comment inspired her to produce two short books helping students adapt to working from home.
Around December, Barrett’s brother recommended she start working on a new book aimed at employees working from home. The demand was high as employers struggled with managing their employees to work efficiently at home during the ongoing pandemic.
This culminated in How to Make Working From Home-WORK. The guide covers 25 strategies to balancing work and home life. The second half is a personal journal for readers to keep track of their own experiences.
“What I found in talking to friends through this whole adventure this past year is that there was so much confusion about how to handle things,” said Barrett.
She felt the biggest challenge was separating the work mindset versus the family one. Many people could not make that transition and found themselves either working all day or being occupied by familial responsibilities during their working hours, she said.
When writing her book, Barrett relied on more than just her 25 years of experience as a special education specialist. She spoke with several business owners and people in senior management positions throughout the writing of How to Make Working From Home-WORK.
Before COVID-19, many business owners and managers felt working from home stifled productivity, she said. However, the experiences of the pandemic has shifted perceptions about working from home.
“I think for employees, the overwhelming change for them is dealing with no separation between work and home and understanding how necessary it is to be able to shut off,” said Barrett.
And knowing how to switch between work and play mindsets is what she aims to help people with in How to Make Working From Home-WORK.
All books written by Barrett can be purchased at https://www.marmaladebooks.ca/