#WFH Diaries: Vladyslava Denys of Cheil Ukraine

As quarantines continue across much of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're handling the ongoing WFH situation. Below, we chat with Vladyslava Denys, creative director at Cheil Ukraine.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Creative director at Cheil Ukraine, journalist and copywriter.

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

I live in the center of Kyiv with my daughter, a cat and a fish. The cat and fish are good friends, but my daughter and I are just beginning to get used to each other. Before quarantine, we only saw each other for an hour a day on weekdays.

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

We are working remotely at the moment. That means we're working more but, at the same time, we're getting more support, understanding and having more communication within our creative team. Every desperate situation has its positive side—have you noticed how many really brilliant jokes and memes have appeared since the lockdown?

Describe your socializing strategy.

I'm never bored at home, and I think that after all these years of working in an office I've earned some time for meditation, introspection and self-discovery. But if I'm in a particularly good mood I talk with friends. I really like the new format of Instagram interviews. One of my friends invites different people to Instagram Live and conducts speed-date interviews. It's incredible to see new modes of communication being created at home.

How are you dealing with childcare?

My daughter is revealing her teenage secrets to me. I learned that a modern teenage girl can fall in love with an imaginary boyfriend. She also told me that she and her teenage friends are currently pretending to be each other's psychiatrists, so they can discuss their problems—a bit like the Netflix series Sex Education.

What are you reading?

A book by historian Yuval Noah Harari called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. In moments like this, when we do not know what will happen in the next five minutes, it is interesting to look to the future—the author is trying to peep into 2050! Having said that, the book was published before coronavirus, so there are already some corrections needed.

What are you watching?

I am addicted to Netflix. I watched the sensational series Unorthodox, got into a bunch of controversial discussions over the topic, and this brought me to Shtisel, another Jewish-themed series. It's a charming story with brilliant actors and a script that will delight viewers of all nationalities with its universal truths about fathers and their children, love, aging and tradition.

What are you listening to?

I have found a great album by the Austrian musician Parov Stelar, Voodoo Sonic. Like his other work, it is very retro and full of irony.

How are you staying fit?

My colleagues and I gather together every day on Zoom to exercise. At 4 p.m., one of us pretends to be a coach and shows the others some exercises (a few shy people have asked their spouses to play the coach instead). It's the most fun part of the day.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Until recently, my main culinary achievement was scrambled eggs. Now, thanks to my friends' workshops over Zoom, I can actually bake cakes. Next stop, opening a Michelin-starred restaurant in Kyiv.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Do not be disappointed when you don't get exactly what you ordered online. Instead, see it as a nice surprise. Seriously, though, my main discovery during this period is that we do not need most of the stuff that we buy.

An awkward moment since all this started.

On the second day of lockdown, my daughter asked me: "When will you go back to work in the office?"

Best work email you got since all this started.

A month ago, at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in Italy, we sent a homemade video to Cheil Italy in which we recorded words of support in Italian (thanks, Google Translate) even though we didn't personally know anyone there. The best email I got was the video they sent back, which they recorded in Ukrainian.

An aha! moment since all this started.

I put on three kilograms, wasting a year of work in the gym. That made me go "aha," or was it "aargh"?

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

In Ukraine, everything may end in the most unexpected way, or it may not end. It feels like dropping your house keys from a bridge into a big river.

Our country has done fewer tests than anywhere else in the world, so no one knows what the situation is. But I am hoping for a miraculous ending to this story.

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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