Russia's invasion of Ukraine is just the latest large-scale crisis and source of consternation on the world stage. The effects of a lingering pandemic, decimated economies and the threat of a spiraling world war add up to a tense situation for employees, recruiters, managers and business leaders.
Here is a brief overview of how the Ukraine-Russia conflict affects the stability, availability, culture and security of international remote employment.
Work and payroll management
Some 40% of Russian citizens mentioned the flexibility of remote work as one of their top job search criteria in 2021.
Remote work has become equally important among Ukraine's workforce, especially the 200,000 software and app developers based there. Ukraine is one of Europe's favorite homes for employers looking to outsource development tasks.
The pandemic has played a significant role in the expansion of the remote work workforce in Russia. Unfortunately, recent events complicate bureaucracy and culture.
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Expect this ongoing conflict to have a measurable impact on employees, whether they are citizens of directly affected regions or not. It starts with significant complications about how workers are compensated in each country.
Russia: The international financial market has isolated Russia through sanctions and devaluations and made it impossible for multinational companies to compensate employees and contractors residing there.
Ukraine: Sanctions and other organized responses from world leaders have undermined and isolated the Russian economy. Ukraine, on the other hand, has been effectively crippled by deliberate attacks on its economic infrastructure.
Employers may be forced to place Ukrainian and Russian teleworkers on indefinite unpaid leave or terminate their contracts. Regardless of the end of the war, current events may have a long-term chilling effect on multinational employers hiring Russian or Ukrainian workers.
Due to Russia's economic isolation, multinational employers are likely to think of mass layoffs and the disbanding of remote teams based in Russia or Ukraine.
Bring employees to safety
In the eyes of the law in the UK, the USA and throughout the industrialized world, it is the responsibility of the employer to take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe workplace.
The war pushes these legal precedents to the extreme. However, employers seem to recognize the moral imperative to repatriate Ukraine-based employees and contractors, indigenous and non-indigenous, as quickly as possible to get them out of harm's way.
Other Labor Market Changes
The outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine resulted in one of the greatest humanitarian crises in living memory. At least 1 million people have been driven from their homes in Ukraine since the violence began.
It may be difficult to assimilate these citizens into the European Union (EU) workforce without reviewing visa and labor mobility laws. British governments are doing their best to accommodate these refugees by instituting visa waivers and other measures. Nevertheless, the business community may need to push for more desirable changes.
Mental health accommodation
Mental health experts note that remote work can amplify some people's tendencies to experience isolation and depression. Others thrive in this environment.
Either way, adding the mental burden of an ongoing large-scale armed conflict could be the breaking point for some remote workers. Some employees may have acquaintances or family members at risk, which seriously compromises their mental health and job performance.
Let this last question become a secondary concern. Managers and team leaders, especially those supervising remote teams, owe it to their direct reports to make a variety of mental health resources available, even if it's just a listening ear In case of problem.
Lost economic opportunities
The EU accounted for 37% of all Russian trade in 2020. Russia has also offered lucrative expansion opportunities for European companies in virtually every sector. The working class on several continents benefits from this product.