How This Tech Founder Keeps His Business Afloat With Employees in a War Zone

Edna B. Shearer

When Jacob Udodov, a Riga, Latvia-based mostly entrepreneur, founded his team collaboration program business, Bordio, in late 2019, he intentionally crafted an international staff throughout Europe. Though it’s been a wonderful way to employ top rated talent, the downside of the approach arrived into full relief on February 24, 2022. That’s the day Russia invaded Ukraine and his modest 20-man or woman crew–comprised of six Russian and six Ukrainian personnel amongst them–met its match–putting the upstart tech business into compromising positions on an practically daily basis. –As instructed to Rebecca Deczynski

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My spouse had woken me up the morning of February 24 telling me that Russia experienced invaded Ukraine, and I right away got on my work chat. Group customers from distinct areas of Ukraine–Kharkiv, Kherson, Poltava, and Kyiv–experienced despatched messages about hearing explosions. There have been also messages from Russian teammates that had been sent in aid of their Ukrainian colleagues they claimed they ended up ashamed of the actions of their region, and requested what they could do to assistance. 

The events of the day ended up dramatic but not entirely shocking. One of my Ukrainian employees lives in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which has been occupied by Russian forces given that 2014. So, I begun next the news when, on February 18, Russian separatists announced that people of the region required to evacuate to Russia. At that instant, I understood that anything large was going to come about.

Shortly soon after the invasion began, I wrote to my Ukrainian staff and told them to not stress about function–they ended up cost-free to take compensated time off and do no matter what they experienced to do to shift out west and remain protected. Many of them moved, which includes just one developer from Kharkiv, who, following the metropolis was attacked, said it was the best selection he’s produced his whole everyday living. [Editor’s note: Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been one of the most-targeted regions by Russian forces. It is still under attack, and at least 500 civilians have been killed in the city.]

Immediately after a few days, some of my Ukrainian staff members started off performing once again, just for a number of several hours a working day. In addition to the shock and the emotion of the working experience, there are difficulties, like WiFi outages and bomb sirens that sign that they need to take shelter. 

I asked my other workers if they would be prepared to pitch in some extra assistance, which they were being more than inclined to do. I also reached out to former workers, who have remaining the corporation within just the earlier calendar year, to get non permanent assist from them. Now, we’re in a superior area. 

Just one issue that remains challenging is figuring out a way to pay our Russian staff members, which is controversial. The financial institution we utilised experienced banned payments to Russia, and it took some time before we discovered a different one that allowed us to effectively pay out these employees. Even however our Russian teammates are entirely versus the actions of their federal government, they are affected by sanctions. 

It is horrible to say, but we’ve gotten utilized to the war in a way–it is the truth we are dwelling in. I’m happy that my workforce was fully united in our assistance for the Ukrainians, and we will go on to be supportive right up until this is over.

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