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Resilience being tested amid prolonged war in Ukraine

As a consequence of Russia´s invasion and start of war in Ukraine in February 2022, Lindström decided to withdraw all of our operations from Russia and Belarus. We concluded the sale of our Belarussian operations in December 2022. After receiving exit approval from the Russian authorities and finishing the registration formalities in the country, we were also able to complete the sale of our Russian business in April 2023. With these transactions, Lindström has now ended all of our local operations in these two countries.

The war activities in Ukraine continued throughout the year 2023. In addition to the apparent security threat, they have complicated the living conditions of the country’s population in many other ways. For example, the country’s infrastructure has been heavily damaged. There has been a shortage of everyday commodities and interruptions in electricity distribution. This has caused cutouts in the heating and hot water supply.

Despite the difficulties and the unimaginable human stress, Ukrainians have persevered in keeping the essential functions of their society running. As part of this, our business units in Ukraine, in Dnipro and Kyiv, have managed to continue business at least partially throughout the war. In addition, we have utilised third-party laundries to secure the continuation of our services. This way, we can help keep the country´s critical infrastructure in operation.

Mental training in focus

The Ukrainian management team, led by Managing Director Inna Novikova, has shown ingenuity and dedication. They have continuously been seeking different options to maintain and reorganise operations. Naturally, our thanks for such exceptional performance go out to all of the Ukrainian employees. As a token of our gratitude and to support them financially amid the rising living costs in a war-torn country, the salaries of all of our Ukrainian colleagues were increased in both May and October 2023.

As important as the continuation of customer service and deliveries has been for our Ukrainian management, the safety and well-being of our colleagues in the country have been the priority. Ukrainians have had to learn to cope with constant physical security threats, and the prolonged war also burdens the mental well-being of the people.

To support people’s mental resilience and well-being, we have organised training for handling various crisis situations. In 2023, in collaboration with an external expert, we conducted a workshop for the entire Ukrainian staff. This way we together discussed how to alleviate psychological trauma during wartime. Additionally, we provided separate training for supervisors. Topics were how to lead, motivate, and support people in unproductive states of the psyche.

The coaching sessions for the entire staff will continue in January and February 2024. During these trainings, we will delve into various methods to prevent and cope with Emotional Burnout Syndrome (EBS). EBS can be caused by prolonged stress. We will also focus on how to confront and support each other better. Especially in the midst of the painful emotions resulting from the war in Ukraine, such as grief and anger.

The We Care spirit robustly lives on despite the war in Ukraine

From the perspective of psychological safety, continuous dialogue with the staff is crucial. In Ukraine, we keep people united and updated on the state of ongoing matters. We also inform how well we are performing as a company, through regular Townhalls. This way, we foster the feeling of people being protected in the sense that their workplace is secure. Additionally informing that the company has solid financial performance, and this is mainly because of their contribution as team members. In October 2023, we also organised a separate live event. There, the members of the Group’s management team discussed and answered questions posed by the Ukrainian staff.

For people’s well-being, occasional breaks from war-torn daily life are critically important. During the summer of 2023, we rented rooms in a small hotel in the Carpathian Mountains resort area. We made it available for all of our Ukrainian personnel to come and recover for one week with a family member in nature and in an area, where air-raids were quite rare. The teams enjoyed it quite a lot; there was great positive feedback and quite a few pictures.

All the departments also organised their own outings and team-building activities. These were events such as picnics, bowling evenings, or trips to swimming pools to help people shake off some stress.

As the year 2023 approached its end, it was evident that traditional New Year celebrations with the staff were not possible for many reasons. Airstrikes restricted large gatherings for safety reasons, and, on the other hand, people were not in a very festive mood. Instead of communal celebrations, the local management decided to greet employees with vouchers for high-end chains of supermarkets. In this way, we are contributing to creating positive spirits at employees’ home celebrations, with their family members and friends.

Lindström Group