Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
The war in Ukraine obviously affected many business processes, financial markets, employee management and service outsourcing. However, these all sound like lifeless statistics until we hear the first-hand experience.
In this article, I share some insights on how the war in Ukraine has affected digital business from my own experience as a refugee and leader of a marketing management team with employees around the world, including l Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
Leaving the fear behind
The start of the war in Ukraine shocked everyone – people who remained in the country, as well as those who were stranded abroad, learning that they might never see their families again or return home, which saddened me. ‘arrived. Many have lost everything: their possessions, finances and even loved ones. But humans are incredibly adaptive creatures. Sad to say, but we were already used to war and instability in almost every aspect of our lives. Like any other tremendous stress, it has forced us to rethink values, relationships, and life goals.
I know people who have invested all their capital in property in Kyiv, which is now completely destroyed. Some of my friends have been betrayed and robbed by their own wartime families, business partners and colleagues. My friend, a woman with two children, was trying to find refuge in the Ukrainian Carpathians and was robbed and expelled from the village by locals driven by hatred towards the wealthier people fleeing Kyiv.
War has revealed its horrible face, allowing us to see the truth we would never have learned under different conditions – which is good and heartbreaking at the same time. It also taught us to be more flexible and strong enough to start rebuilding life even in the middle of the sea of madness.
Related: I run two businesses in Ukraine. Here’s how we’re resilient enough to keep operating during war
Teamwork on the go, while fleeing to other countries
Worried about what to do next with my own life, I also feel responsible for the safety and emotional state of my team members from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus – all working side by side. My main objective at that time was to maintain a healthy atmosphere within my team, a sustainable workflow and all marketing processes through all these challenges, often managing everything on the go and being stressed daily by the news of Ukraine.
I was very concerned about how our employees from the three facing countries feel when working together on the same project. They were shocked and scared. None supported this war. Everyone was trying to support each other, no matter what country they were born in or what passport they held. Some of our employees were working online on the go, just like me, while fleeing to other countries. Some of them (including Russians among them!) were returning to work just hours after Russian combat missiles were fired above the roofs of their homes in Kyiv.
Disruption of outsourced services
Ukraine is a key global delivery location for IT and software engineering services, so the war is creating widespread uncertainty and significant concern for companies with service operations in the region. At some point, we also stopped receiving updates and emails from our partner companies and external service providers based in Ukraine. The reason was obvious. A few weeks later, some of them contacted us with apologies, saying they weren’t available to work because they had to move entire teams overseas. Many processes were disrupted and it really took time to learn how to continue working during the war.
Related: Why the Ukraine crisis should make you rethink the way you lead
Support for humanitarian aid
Many tech companies have donated to civilians in Ukraine and also helped them with resettlement, transportation and logistics.
“Now our goal is to break the chain of war and scatter its bonds far from each other. So they can never see each other again. Our main fundraising tool is NFT. You can buy one of the works below or make a simple donation. Important! We don’t collect money for weapons. We collect funds for medicine, evacuation and repair needs, food and clothing. Our priority is to help civilians.— Unchain, a charity project created by blockchain activists.
“No nation deserves to be part of the heartbreaking circumstances we are all witnessing in Ukraine. No one should be left alone and unprotected in this situation. That is why we have taken the decision to donate a significant sum of money to civilians in the hope it will be used for humanitarian purposes and the protection of human lives”, — commented Sergey Krasotin, co-founder of Humbleteam.
“I was born and raised in Kyiv, the capital of one of the biggest European countries. It is heartbreaking to see what is happening. Many Ukrainians might have to move to protect their lives. Among them are top blockchain developers, project managers, scientists, young and ambitious people with families as well as seniors.” — commented Constantin Kogan, co-founder of BullPerks and GamesPad.
Related: What I Learned Running a Wartime Ukrainian Startup
Massive hiring of Ukrainians
As a manager looking for new employees for an international team online, I thought hiring Ukrainians was a double-sided coin in the current situation. Under high stress conditions caused by war, it can be difficult for them to concentrate on their work. On the other hand, an online job could be the only way of survival for those who remained in Ukraine – the country with a completely destroyed economy and an uncertain future – as well as for those who sought refuge in other countries.
However, I faced the opposite of what I expected. I now observe many Ukrainians working hard online like cyborgs, trying to rebuild their lives and putting all their efforts into business success at the same time.
So whether to support hiring in Ukraine or not in the current situation is a choice. But as a Ukrainian who always works on the go and handles marketing for two brands, I think you can guess what my hiring decision would be.