Waking up in the comfort of our home and not worrying about the safety of our family, is a privilege that we all take for granted.
However, the current situation in Ukraine proves that this privilege can be easily taken away.
The crisis inflicted by Russian aggression on our friends and colleagues across the Eastern border affects us all.
This is an attack on democracy and European values, not just the people of Ukraine. Therefore, we all have to take action and support the fight against the authoritarian regime.
We have to stand up for our right to live in peace.
In the early hours of the morning on Thursday 24 February 2022, Russian forces have launched an assault on Ukraine. Citizens have reported rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, videos of terrifying explosions were uploaded online. Some of those explosions could be even heard in Poland.
In fact, the closest attack happened just 70km from Poland's Eastern border. War is no longer reserved for soldiers and tanks. Parallel battles are also being fought online - on many levels simultaneously. Cyber security, information sharing, and resource management are areas where Ukrainian NGOs today need the support we can provide.
You might be asking yourself - is there is anything I can do right now?
Here is a list of actions that you might want to consider.
Take the pledge: Decide whether you want to provide custom software development, take part in a 2-week Sprint for Impact (27.03-08.04), or pledge your time to provide meaningful consulting for non-profits.
Share information: Help us reach as many IT companies as possible by commenting or posting on our most recent #TechforUkraine posts.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you get in touch with any employees who are working in Ukraine or have families based there and ask what kind of support they require. Be ready to respond by being flexible with their working arrangements and offer any help that you’re immediately able to provide.
With flights in and out of Ukraine currently suspended, relocation is difficult. Do everything you can to support your employees in the relocation process, either to a safer part of the country or abroad if possible. Be sure to include entire families in the planning process. You might also consider hiring professionals who could provide online counseling to support employees in deciding whether or not to move.
Try submitting emergency immigration or work permit to allow your staff to work from one of your other offices.
Consider offering to share your office space with people or whole companies for living or working purposes. You can also pledge your readiness to welcome some refugees to live at your place by listing your property on Mapa Gościnności.
Employers across the globe should prepare to support employees who may need direct assistance. The current situation may not be affecting your staff directly, but it is likely to cause emotional distress. Make it clear that employee safety and mental health come first. Try not to put unnecessary pressure on impacted employees to meet deadlines or attend meetings. Everyone should feel comfortable asking for support from other members of the team where necessary.
Now is the time to brush up on your approach to offering mental health services across your organization. Ensure your employees know what help is available to them. The support you offer could include some PTO available for burn-out and handling stress, extending the services of mental health practitioners to your employee's family, and most importantly - keeping an open dialogue. Often simple acknowledgment of one's struggles is the best medicine. Let your employees know they are not alone!
If you can do so, consider providing extraordinary financial support to employees who are directly affected by war. It may mean making advance payments for work. This will help to cover travel costs or travel documentation fees and charter flight charges.
Some employees might be unable to work due to their living circumstances. In this instance, you could continue to pay their salary at a regular rate. This solution will provide peace of mind and allow your employee to support their family through the current crisis.
If you are currently using Russian owed providers and services, you can consider simply taking your business elsewhere. Western governments are introducing strict sanctions against Russia. We all can contribute to enforcing economic pressure on Russia by suspending any trade. You can also unfollow any Russian media outlets, including Russian influencers and YouTubers.
In times of crisis getting hold of everyday supplies like groceries, water, medicine, or having access to cash might prove challenging. It might be a good idea to prepare boxes with basic items: medical equipment (bandages and dressings), blankets, clothes, bottled water, and non-perishable foods. Have them ready to donate to any local organizer who will distribute them to those in need. You can also explore websites such as Zakaz that can deliver shopping from local supermarkets to your employee's doorstep!
There is also a huge need for financial support to various causes - below you can find a list of verified organizations actively working on providing help in the affected areas. Here are some options to consider:
Szpitalnicy - volunteer medical service working directly on the front lines. They subsist on donations from Ukrainians, volunteers, and patrons.
Voices of children - an organization that provides therapeutic assistance to children. They help them overcome the consequences of armed conflict.
Polska Akcja Humanitarna - which actively pledges its support to humanitarian causes
Army SOS - they manage the procurement of necessary ammunition, shielding, communications, and reconnaissance equipment that is crucial during an active war.
Phoenix Wings - provides the Ukrainian army with the necessary assistance in regards to the appropriate equipment & uniform, personal non-lethal protection (vests, helmets), required treatment of the wounded soldiers, and acquisition of the personal first aid kits.
If you have more valuable ideas on how to support Ukrainian people and improve the work environment in times of crisis - let us know!