#WFH Diaries: Nick Wood of Syn

As confinement continues in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Nick Wood of global music company Syn.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I am the CEO and creative director of music company Syn, which I co-founded with Simon Le Bon in 1991. I have lived in Tokyo for 32 years, and we have studios in Beijing, Los Angeles, London and Manila. 

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

I live in central Tokyo with an incredible view of the Imperial palace—it's very calming and peaceful. I live with my wife Norico, my 19-year-old daughter Aqua, and three German Pointers—Ringo, Alpha and Vesper. I have a son Skye who is currently in the U.S. 

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I have my home recording studio in our open plan kitchen dining room. I've been working like this for two years and I really love it. I find the view and my work situation to be very productive and feel fortunate to be used to remote collaborations. I do miss visiting my team at our offices, and clients when we can get together in person. Zoom helps.

Describe your socializing strategy.

Zoom happy hour at 7 p.m. every Friday with my staff around the world and one-off sessions with friends to catch up and chat. That, and lots of family time. 

How are you dealing with childcare?

My children are adults now; however, we have three dogs who are like our kids and they get amazing walks at least four times a day. That way, we all stay happy. I'm appreciative that I don't have to be helpful with chemistry homework, because that's a dubious proposition to begin with. 

What are you reading?

I'm reading some educational books like Eat That Frog, The Courage to Be Happy and Christopher Harding's Japan Story. I find I'm often in a reflective mood, and appreciate hearing different perspectives on wellness, and also, in the case of Japan Story, further understanding this amazing country I live in. 

What are you watching?

Mindhunter on Netflix and John Oliver on HBO, as well as classic movies on Apple TV. I loved the 1962 Italian road movie comedy Il Sorpasso by Dino Risi. 

What are you listening to?

I finally bought an amazing home HiFi with a McIntosh Amp and JBL speakers, and I'm enjoying listening to old classic albums, along with Syn's Playlist-19—which keeps growing as we add suggestions from friends, clients and staff. I love some of the BBC's podcasts, such as Desert Island Discs (eight tracks, a book and a luxury—what would you take to a desert island? ), In Our Time and The Film Programme. A must for amazing eclectic music is BBC Radio 6; it's a bit like the U.K. version of KCRW.

How are you staying fit?

Walking the dogs, active stretching in the park, sets of stairs, TRX at home ... and the occasional run. This makes me sound like I'm ulta-fit. I'm not. 

Have you taken up a hobby?

Re-discovering albums and not skipping tracks! 

Any tips for getting necessities?

Amazon Fresh in Japan is doing a fantastic job. 

An awkward moment since all this started.

Dealing with Zoom while giving space to my family. It's a small flat so it's hard to avoid, but the plus side is that people have gotten to meet the people I love. Sometimes, like most people, I don't feel camera-ready in the moment. But I've never forgotten to dress, so there's that.

Best work email you got since all this started.

Whit Friese, who is vp of creative marketing at CNN, sent me a lovely email congratulating us on the music we created for their recent Covid-19 thank you campaign. That one made my day. Of course, it always feels great to know that work is well received, but when you can contribute to something that is from the heart ... that's everything.

An aha! moment since all this started.

Learning about time management, writing things down, planning my day and my week so I can have days to focus on business and lots of video calls and days to compose and be creative ... It finally all clicked, and I could see the light! Just let people know you aren't available so you can focus. It's amazing how good it feels to have time to be creative. And guess what? Wo one seems to be bothered when I suggest a different time for our Zoom. 

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I believe our creative culture will thrive and have a renaissance post Covid-19. I believe (and hope) there will be more appreciation, kindness and generosity towards each other. I'm sure there will be less travel unless absolutely necessary ... Video chat tools are proving we can collaborate effectively without being in the same room. I believe the way we work and where we work will be transformed, with less emphasis on having to go to big offices and more on creativity, productivity and well-being. Travel can be stressful, and we could be more productive if that time was spent creating and producing.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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