For some time, most of our team remained in Kharkiv. Thanks to our designer Victoria, who picked up our laptops from the office and delivered them to each teammate on the first day of the war, we were able to continue our work in the safety of our homes.
Having lived through countless COVID-19 lockdowns, we knew very well how to manage tasks remotely. But COVID-19 was an entirely different situation compared to the full-scale war.
We soon realized that working on our day-to-day tasks under constant bombarding wasn’t the best option. We were forced to spend a good portion of time hiding in cellars, basements, and bomb shelters with no internet, so productive work was out of the question.
That’s why the majority of the Softoria team eventually left Kharkiv. In a month or so, most of us had moved to safer places.
Some relocated to Western Ukraine, which was (and still is) the most peaceful part of the country. And a few even fled Ukraine, finding shelter in Poland, Finland, Bulgaria, and other European countries.
To this day, most of us continue to work remotely. And now our work is completely different from the one it used to be before.
Admittedly, some processes have slowed down. There are at least three culprits to blame for it.
The first one is the lack of personal communication. Instead of discussing work matters with colleagues in person as we used to, we now have to chat in a corporate messenger. So when we face problems, working on solutions now requires endless discussions in Slack threads, which increases the total time we spend on fixing bugs or introducing improvements.
The second culprit is the stress from the war. In the first days, we were so overwhelmed with the constant flow of bad news that some of us became numb and couldn’t focus on work. Telegram news channels were publishing posts literally every minute (sometimes several posts per minute!), and a lot of us found ourselves doomscrolling. The future seemed uncertain and coping with job responsibilities became unbearable.
To be fair, however, we should note that a lot of our developers, on the contrary, began to work even harder as a way of relieving stress. That’s why we’ve managed to release so many new amazing products and features despite the war.
The third culprit is the fact that some of our teammates still remain in the frontline areas and can’t be always available. Our company treats it with complete understanding and doesn’t expect anyone to work eight hours a day when their life is in danger.
With that being said, you might think that remote work has only made things worse for us. But that’s not true — there are still many advantages to it.
First of all, now we have plenty of time to generate new ideas. In Kharkiv, we had many distractions that we spent our time on. Having left them behind, we often feel bored in our free time. It turns out boredom is a good driver of progress, as we regularly come up with ideas for new products and features.
It’s also worth noting that when you work remotely, it’s easier to maintain a healthier work-life balance. Back in the office days, we had to spend about 30 minutes getting to the office, and the same amount of time getting home. Now you can wake up and start your shift right away. Thus, you finish your work an hour earlier than before and can go for a walk or indulge in any other activity.
And last but not least, we now hire professionals from all over Ukraine. When we worked from the office, we mostly preferred candidates from Kharkiv as they could visit the office and work hand in hand with our team. Given that it is now closed, we have stopped focusing on the geographical location of our candidates. Now we are happy to have plenty of professionals from different parts of the country who have become an integral part of our team!