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How to help your employees in Ukraine & Russia

Table of Contents
I.Ways in which companies can help during the Ukraine crisis
1. 1.Pay for employee relocations
1. 2.Offer resources and information to your entire team
1. 3.Consider multiple payment options
1. 4.Offer mental health resources as well as extra time off
1. 4. 1.Commit to compassion
1. 4. 2.Create a psychologically safe environment
1. 5.Match Donations
1. 6.Create contingency plans
1. 7.Educate and prepare the workforce on the dangers of cyber-attacks
1. 8.What else can companies do for Ukrainian citizens?
There's no remote company guide on dealing with team members who are caught in a warzone. While there's no easy solution, we listed various ways companies have been dealing with the crisis and offer ideas on how companies can help the affected team members.
We will keep this article updated with any new information we can find, and please reach out to us @safetywing if you have advice we can include.

Ways in which companies can help during the Ukraine crisis

Pay for employee relocations

Wix, JustAnswer and Lyft are among many companies who have responded swiftly to the crisis by providing financing for employees who wish to relocate from Ukraine.
Now, this isn't as easy as it sounds since Ukrainian citizens can't just jump on a flight and leave the country. But financial support can certainly help while they navigate through lines at the border crossing with neighboring countries and looking for accommodation there.
Leaving Ukraine or Russia presents challenges and will take a long time. What else to expect:
  • Consider team members affected by this offline effective immediately. They might not have ways of staying in communication with you.
  • This situation is beyond stressful and frightening. Don't expect them to think of work at this moment.

Offer resources and information to your entire team

Providing a comprehensive list of resources every team member and leader can use is essential. The information and advice on this topic is still scarce, but the page HR for Ukraine is a great start.

Consider multiple payment options

There’s a strong possibility that employees may not be able to access their finances through their traditional means as banks begin to freeze in Ukraine. Considering multiple payment options such as Polish and Lithuanian banks could help employees reach much-needed finances. Keep in mind that paying for services in deemed unsecured cryptocurrencies is currently prohibited in Ukraine.
Companies may also want to consider what they will do if employees are drafted during the ongoing conflict. JustAnswer will pay half of the employees’ salaries if they’re called to fight and will reconfigure positions to cover for missing team members.
Paying salaries months in advance could provide a lifeline to many employees caught up in the conflict.

Offer mental health resources as well as extra time off

Giving employees the time and space needed to process the traumatic events that have enfolded is of key importance to their mental health stability. Both Safeguard & Lyft are providing access to mental health professionals and offering an increase in time off during the crisis.
A lot of people had to leave their homes and flee the country. Give them PTO with no concrete deadline to avoid causing additional stress.

Commit to compassion

Make sure the support starts with you and your team. In these times of increased stress and sensitivity, it is crucial for businesses to remain understanding whilst exercising compassion towards employees who could be facing some of the hardest challenges imaginable.
A few things you can do:
  • Remove teammates that are dealing with the Ukrainian crisis from intense projects
  • Offload their tasks to other team members
  • If they still want to be involved, make sure they can go offline and drop everything if needed at a moment's notice.

Create a psychologically safe environment

Keep an eye out for any signs of distress within your team. Even if they're not directly affected, they might have family or friends that are. It is normal for everyone in the team to experience a rise in levels of anxiety and lack of motivation. Communicate to your team that everyone is allowed to take time off when they need to in times like this.

Match Donations

Companies can choose to match the donations made by staff to causes helping refugees. Twitter recently announced that they would be doing this and regularly matches donations of up to $2000 to eligible non-profits.
Check the Donation section on our information page if you want to donate to help Ukraine.

Create contingency plans

Grammarly spokesperson Senka Hadzimuratovic said the company has a comprehensive contingency plan to protect employees and the business.
This includes, for example, securing backup communication methods and temporary transfer of business-critical responsibilities to team members outside of Ukraine to ensure our Ukraine-based team members can focus on the immediate safety of themselves and their families.
She noted that Grammarly’s data is stored on servers in the United States.

Educate and prepare the workforce on the dangers of cyber-attacks

Not all fronts of the war will be fought on the physical battlefield.
Cyberattacks are an increasingly real threat in the modern world and with the current disruptions they’re a likelihood that a company should certainly not ignore. Here are a few quick steps to help bolster your online security:
  • Use good common sense and keep calm. Be good to each other. No questions are stupid.
  • Ensure that the operating systems and apps on your devices are updated to the latest versions.
  • Be extra skeptical of email, and be wary of other phishing attempts.

What else can companies do for Ukrainian citizens?

Are you a remote company with open roles? Consider prioritizing Ukrainian citizens that apply and shortening the interview process if possible.
We are compiling a list of remote companies that have roles Ukrainian citizens can apply for, so let us know if you want to be added! The list will be published this week.

About the author

Luke Poulson

Researcher & Writer
Luke has been traveling around the globe for the last decade and is currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's been working remotely on everything from directing music festivals, to online ESL coaching, to writing and contributing as a researcher for Borderless. He is a passionate advocate for the modern nomadic way of life and enjoys getting others started on their journey towards remote living.