Contractors — 20 min
As the conflict in Ukraine escalates, companies with workers in the country need to know how to support their people. This article provides actionable information to make life for your team members in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other affected areas easier and safer.
For the past month, we have been working with our employees and customers to prepare for this potential crisis. While we were hopeful the situation would not reach this point, we recognized the need to prepare in case of emergency. The thoughts of all of us at Remote are with our colleagues, friends, partners, and all peace-loving people in Ukraine and the surrounding region during this time.
If you are a customer of Remote and engage workers in the Ukraine through our employer of record or contractor management services, we have set up a special email address to provide immediate assistance. We have also created a phone number to call in case of lost internet service in the region.
All potentially affected Remote customers and their team members in Ukraine should have received an email earlier this week with more information. Please contact your Remote representative if you did not receive this email or if you have any questions about how to support your team in Ukraine through Remote.
Your team members will be concerned about their safety and the safety of their friends and families while conflict is ongoing. This is not only true for your team members within Ukraine but also for those outside the country with loved ones who are still there. Your understanding and support as they deal with the emotions, anxiety, and uncertainty that will continue throughout this conflict will be vital to their wellbeing as they navigate these extremely challenging circumstances.
"For a manager, it's hard to sure everyone is safe," says Lemon.io founder Aleksandr Volodarsky. "We have a few team members who could not/didn't want to leave their cities that are now under massive attacks. And there is nothing we can do to get them out. But staying in touch, offering support, is very crucial. Even for those who are safe. Everyone is under stress and needs support and empathy."
"One of the main things managers/founders can do is to ensure that the company will save jobs and will keep paying salaries to those who are mobilized, volunteer, are in places that are under attack or just not on their highest productivity due to high stress. This is a game-changer to those team members."
With that important foundation in mind, here are some ways you can help your team members in Ukraine.
During periods of unrest, it is common for means of communication to become unreliable. Your team members in Ukraine may lose access to the internet for a few hours or days at a time. If that happens, your people will need to know how to reach you. Provide a direct phone number so you do not lose contact should a member of your team lose internet access.
Your team members in Ukraine may have to use mobile data or cellular services not covered by their regular plans. Offer to cover any extra communications expenses that may arise.
Banking services, even more so than internet access, can become unreliable during conflict. Your team members may not be able to access their funds, or they may need to receive funds quickly.
Your team members may need funds delivered directly to accounts other than their usual bank accounts. Please keep in mind that paying for services in deemed unsecured cryptocurrencies is currently prohibited in Ukraine. As always, delivering funds outside traditional bank accounts can carry additional risks, so be careful to ensure the funds actually reach the person you are trying to help.
Banking services may be unreliable, so if they are out for a time, you may want to provide advance funding to Ukrainian employees ahead of normal payroll cycles to assist in recovery or relocation.
Many people in Ukraine will choose to stay in their country, but others will want to leave, either during the height of the conflict or after its resolution. Providing relocation assistance for your employees may be one of the most critical pieces of support you can offer.
Keep in mind that any relocation assistance you can offer will likely need to include family members as well. Emergency immigration, special work permits, and emergency visas may all be options for team members wishing to leave the country.
Remote is currently assisting partners and their team members in the region with relocation as new options develop. However, please be aware that relocation will not be possible if your team member has been conscripted. While Remote cannot provide assistance with transportation or accommodations, we can offer recommendations for such services. Please contact us for more information about this program if your Ukrainian team members are seeking relocation assistance.
Getting reliable information from inside a conflict area can be difficult. During the week of the first attacks, many of Ukraine’s government websites were hit by cyberattacks, making it even more difficult for Ukrainians to receive communications through official channels.
From outside the country, you may be able to relay information your Ukranian team members will be unable to discover on their own. Keep an eye out for news that may be helpful to your team in Ukraine, especially if they lose internet access. Share information you come across that may be related to providing food, water, shelter, or transportation in the areas where your team members live.
Obviously, companies should not require workers living in dangerous conditions to perform their normal duties. However, some people may prefer to remain in contact as usual. Allow your team members to decide what makes them most comfortable and accommodate those choices to the best of your ability.
Maintaining accurate records can be extremely important in recovery after conflict or for relocation purposes. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information for all of your team members in Ukraine, including addresses, bank account information, legal status, citizenship, and anything else that may be important.
Your team members may wish to scan and send you important documents to protect against potential loss or damage. Your HR or people team should handle this duty to preserve any documents sent while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of your team members’ ’ sensitive personal information.
All of us at Remote grieve for our friends, coworkers, and fellow humans in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and the surrounding region for the hardships they are facing. We will continue to monitor events closely to provide support for our customers and their team members in the region.
If refugee support becomes necessary, our Remote for Refugees program will be available to help companies engage people who have been displaced by this conflict. More immediately, Remote Relocation may be able to help any of your team members looking to leave the country.
Remote fully owns and operates our local legal entity in Ukraine. We currently support employment of both full-time employees and contractors in Ukraine. If you have questions regarding the current crisis or need help with your Ukrainian team members employed through Remote, please contact your Remote representative.
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