Jacob Udodov, from Latvia, Bordio’s Founder
“As a European IT startup with both Ukrainian and Russian employees, our life changed instantly after Russia attacked Ukraine on the 24th of February.
When the news broke out, I was shocked and instantly went to check out the team chat where both Ukrainian and Russian colleagues were already messaging back and forth. Ukrainian teammates from all over the country were saying that there are bombings and explosions nearby. Russian teammates supported Ukrainians from the very beginning, telling them they were sorry and ashamed for the actions of their country, and offering help. It was obvious that none of the employees supported the Russian invasion.
I asked the Ukrainian staff not to think about work, but instead focus on their own safety and move to the west. Technically we gave them a paid leave until they reached a safe place. We also paid out their salaries earlier, so they could stock up on food. Several of them have left their homes and headed west on that same day. One of the team members who left their homes was a developer from Kharkiv. Later, when Kharkiv was massively bombed and left in ruins, he admitted that it was the best decision in his life to not stay there.
Those, who didn’t leave their homes, suffered from power cuts and internet connection losses. Obviously, none of them could work on those first days. All their thoughts were about the war, relatives, friends, and homes.
There were several problems they faced when moving to the west. The gas stations were overcrowded because everyone was trying to escape. There were also troubles with renting an apartment in the west because of how many refugees arrived there. Also, some Ukrainian colleagues wanted to move to Europe, and we were ready to help them relocate, but the government banned men aged 18-60 from leaving the country. To this day, they are in Ukraine with their families and children. Due to the situation, they can’t work productively, nor leave the country. There is no discussion about firing them because it would be a disaster. Some of them had already lost their homes, so we can’t take away their jobs. There is pretty much no other solution but to wait until the war is over.
In terms of the work process, in one day we lost six employees indefinitely but we couldn’t afford to stop the business completely. We needed to fill the gaps in the business processes quickly, so we came up with 2 effective solutions:
- We contacted the rest of the team outside Ukraine, explained the situation, and asked to work extra hours in order to help the company.
- We contacted our ex-employees, who left the company in the last 12 months, and asked them to help us for some time.
Surprisingly all of them were supportive and agreed to help in this situation, and the business was soon working again.
The second week of March was a little bit easier. Most of the employees have already arrived at safe or safer destinations and could now dedicate a few hours a day to work.”
Jacob Udodov Founder of Bordio