#WFH Diaries: Samuel Skwarski of Volt Stockholm

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend society and business, we're checking in with people in the creative industry to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Samuel Skwarski at Volt Stockholm.

Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.

I'm Samuel Skwarski, father to a 1-year old and PR/creative at Volt Stockholm who's currently on parental leave.

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

I live with my partner Malin and our son, Nils, in Stockholm suburb Midsommarkransen. Just across the street from an Italian restaurant that is holding off its grand opening due to COVID-19. Their pizza oven looks neat.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Right now I'm going through the tough phase of wanting to "be there" for the team at Volt, while "being there" for my son. It's reading emails when he sleeps and feeding in ideas and nuggets of new perspectives to the creative and PR team from the sidelines of real life outside the advertising industry.

Describe your socializing strategy.

A bit of texting friends through Facebook Messenger and Instagram DMs, FaceTime calls with family, and the occasional "hello" aimed at other parents from a safe distance of at least 1.5 meters. Apart from that I'm having plenty of deep conversations with Nils to distract him from eating sand off the ground.

How are you dealing with childcare?

Very hands-on, as I'm currently on my first month—out of six—of paid parental leave. Thank you, socialist utopia also known as Sweden.

What are you reading?

I just finished Michel Houellebecq's Soumission and have read half of The Eye by Vladimir Nabokov so far.

What are you watching?

Climbing movies like Free Solo and the Reel Rock series to get hyped for the outdoor season. Also, anything with David Chang on Netflix.

What are you listening to?

I'm trying to listen to records from A-Z. Right now I'm re-listening to Lykke Li's debut album Youth Novels from 2008 on Spotify.

How are you staying fit?

I do pushups, chins and different core exercises while my kid is playing. Go for long walks with the stroller, and climb during the weekends. But I also find myself snacking more than I used to. So you could say my strategy is "pain and gain."

Have you taken up a hobby?

I'm learning how to make noodles by following the Instagram stories of @pippyeats.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Buy them before the crisis hit. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Or get a car and drive really, really far out on the countryside—not popular among locals—to shop at less crowded stores.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Buying diapers wearing purple surgical gloves at the local supermarket.

Best work email you got since all this started.

My own out-of-office message bouncing back at me whenever I answer a work-related email when I shouldn't.

An aha! moment since all this started.

The painful realization of why it is important not to have all your savings in stocks.

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

I don't really have a theory, but a few beliefs:

• I believe that public trust in experts will increase post COVID-19.
• I believe Donald Trump won't get re-elected.
• I believe Sir Martin Sorell's S4 Capital will come out on top.
• I believe green pastures are waiting ahead for PR agencies who survive the short-term downturn in projects and budgets. Clients with big budgets will delve deeper into digital. Startups and those with shallow pockets will look to PR instead of traditional OOH/print ads.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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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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