Last year, Ukraine overcame an extremely difficult challenge — a blackout. The blackout especially threatened the IT sector, which literally depends on electricity and communication. However, Ukrainian business has coped with difficulties and is preparing for new threats to the country’s energy system. Obsessed neighbors from the east have already started trying to destroy it, so IT companies are insuring themselves in advance in case of new outages.
The European Association of Software Engineering (EASE) conducted a survey among residents to find out how Ukrainian IT companies prepare for possible power outages and blackouts.
Pavlo Ohrem, managing partner of Elogic Commerce, assesses the risks of outages as high, and notes that one must be prepared for the worst scenarios. Last year’s experience helps in preparation: even during the first attacks on the power system, all the company’s offices were equipped with generators, and some even with storage batteries and hybrid inverters. Also, Starlink was purchased for all offices, which allowed to continue work even in the conditions of a long-term absence of light. Most employees have access to Elogic offices, which have provided everything necessary for comfortable work.
The most memorable situation in the company happened to an employee during the first power outages. The employee established a connection to the Internet through a smartphone. He lives in an attic, but the indoor connection was bad, so he placed his phone on the roof. Having an uninterruptible power supply, it worked normally during any blackouts.
The SmartyAds IT company is also preparing for the harsh winter. Vladyslav Khilkovets, Operations Manager at SmartyAds, notes that in addition to generators and Starlink, with which all offices in Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Odesa are equipped, all employees are equipped with power banks and mobile modems for communication. The offices also have plenty of food and water, so employees can even spend the night in the office if needed.
But the issue is not solved by arranging offices, because the problem is not only in the lack of light. Due to the instability caused by the war, some foreign clients became suspicious of representatives of the Ukrainian IT sector. But SmartyAds has both a product and outsourcing direction. Since the company operates in foreign markets, support and account managers must always be in touch. It was thanks to the constant support of the employees that the business did not have significant problems.
Last year, a significant part of the SmartyAds team was temporarily relocated to the West of Ukraine, which suffered less from blackouts, so that the business could continue to function, and the employees were comfortable and safe. Now the company also has a backup plan for the relocation of employees in case of a critical situation. And, of course, SmartyAds is constantly growing, so it hires not only in Ukraine, but also actively seeks Ukrainians abroad, because they face less risk.
CEO & Co-founder of the outsourcing company LNOKS, Nazar Mysholivskyi, also does not rule out that the situation with the state of the power system may be even more difficult than last year. Because of this, energy conservation will be a must throughout this winter, so it’s a good idea to have back-up options for uninterrupted power during the work process.
Since LNOKS is a fully remote company, most of its employees are located in different cities of Ukraine. In order to ensure maximum productivity, the workspace had to be diversified as much as possible — for some, it was necessary to find a co-working space with backup power, while others were provided with power banks and generators. Moreover, this was done very quickly: within five days after the first shelling on October 10, the company acquired the necessary number of power sources and places in co-working spaces. In such a short time, LNOKS stabilized the work process for the entire blackout period.
A special case that pleasantly impressed Nazar was the day when it was necessary to report to the clients why the team was not communicating. It was just after the first shelling in October, when part of the country was cut off. Customers were expected to express concern, but they wanted to be involved in supporting employees during this difficult time, offered help and genuinely cared about the team. Such unexpected attention from customers was extremely pleasant.
In preparing for this year’s blackout, Ukrainian companies are helped by the experience of last winter. Many businesses already have no problems with the necessary inventory and have the necessary knowledge to overcome a possible energy crisis. This once again proves that the Ukrainian IT sector is ready for any challenges and works to win.