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Today’s Office: MCD’s Sylvia Flores on taking to gaming to wind down the work day

“This is how we release any daily stresses”

Sylvia Flores has been finding it hard to keep work and life separate since they’ve both been inhabiting the same space. Or at least she was, until the MCD Partners director of production started unwinding with Super Smash Bros.

I’ve been working from my dining room table for the last 10 months now. With a monitor and my laptop, I can still get the two-screen effect similar to my set-up at the office.

Behind me are the bay doors, which provide great sunlight and allow me to walk into my backyard for fresh air. And in the summertime, it means I can watch my son play in the pool while I work.

The dining area is the central location of my house, however, with the most traffic for my family. This means it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate while there is noise coming from the kitchen. I’m constantly shushing everyone, which has become a bit of a running joke in our family!

Multitasking between work, helping my eight-year-old with school, providing food and walking the dog means my average working day can seem never-ending at times. Whereas before my routine would be to drop my son off at school and then head to work, now I also have all these in-between tasks.

I have been getting up earlier so I can have some alone time and to take my dog for longer walks. This helps ground me on my tasks for work and family. But I really miss the simple things, like taking the train and walking to our office, having that time to myself. I didn’t realize how much walking I did when traveling to work. I really miss that.

I also miss the social interaction with my team. We still interact for work-related things, but I miss the more intimate conversations while getting coffee or lunch together. I just can’t wait to be back to ’normal’.

Adapting to this way of working has been challenging and a learning curve. Luckily, being in the digital industry, we were well prepared to work remotely.

One of the main challenges has become navigating the smaller, simple requests with aggressive timelines. Before, you could simply walk up to someone and explain a task in five minutes. Now, you need to schedule a meeting to explain the request and then be available for a meeting to address any follow-up questions.

Needless to say, calendars are increasingly flooded with meetings. The silver lining is learning through trial and error, and finding tools to streamline the process (team group chats, status boards etc), making for more efficient teams and workstreams overall. I keep reminding myself, however, this will not be forever. I am happy that I am still working and safe at home. And I really admire my husband who is a police officer and who is working hard to keep our city safe.

My daily routine has been a bit out of whack and I do find myself constantly picking at food/snacks. This has motivated me to create a workout room, however, which is great because now the whole family has a space to exercise and we all use it.

Keeping work and life separate while working from home has been tough and I’m trying to get better at it. It is hard to shut down and I find that I still answer emails if they come in after hours. To help with this, I’ve picked up a fun new hobby in quarantine to wind down the work day: battling my son in Super Smash Bros. This is how we release any daily stresses and (as a bonus!) makes me a ’cool mom’.

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