Oleksandr Panchenko, Sika Ukraine LLC, General Manager.
SIKA Ukraine has been doing business in Ukraine for 16 years. The main areas are the production and sale of construction and industrial chemicals, as well as the introduction of advanced and innovative technologies.
Like the rest of the world, our company faced a challenge — the pandemic — in March 2020. Unusual and unfamiliar to us conditions of work, life, and coexistence have emerged. We urged to introduce a new scheme of work for the production unit, the managers as well as for the office staff. We took special measures to minimize the possible consequences of a dangerous disease.
Thanks to the impeccable and well-coordinated actions of our team, we developed a program of remote work for the quarantine period with the possibility of its extension. This program implied remote work for the majority of employees. Noteworthy, the beginning of the quarantine imposed by the government luckily coincided with the transition of our company to new software and the implementation of Microsoft Office 365. So, we easily switched to virtual communication in the efficient MS Teams application.
The next step was supporting partners and customers. Despite various obstacles — both lack of raw material and physical (restrictions on movement) — we urgently produced two thousand liters of antiseptics, which were distributed free of charge to our partners throughout Ukraine.
Our usual work has not stopped even for a minute. We noticed the only threat in a potential change occurred in the psychological state of employees who happened to be in different circumstances. Some employees lived alone, and others found themselves in inadequate living conditions with family, parents, and children.
Nevertheless, under all restrictions, our staff continued operating and fully performing its professional duties.
Numerous webinars — both internal and for wide audience— were held. We were the first to hold two international online conferences with live broadcasting from job sites. During the bridge conference, we got more than 130 connections. More than 200 people learned about new technologies and Sika products. There were live broadcastings from bridges and overpasses from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, as well as three connections from bridges under construction in Ukraine. The conference on waterproofing where we streamed the construction of the metro to Vynohradar in Kyiv was maturely professional as well.
Throughout the quarantine period, we organized weekly online meetings of all employees to maintain a positive mood and communicate with each other. These meetings were very motivating for the staff – we were detached, yet united.
What’s more, on May 21, keeping our annual tradition the company celebrated the International Day of Ukrainian Embroidery. All our employees dressed in embroidered shirts for the weekly meeting. Numerous colleagues from Kazakhstan and Eastern Europe joined us.
At the beginning of May, we worked out a strategy for phasing out the quarantine that was based on the principles formed by our HQ in Zurich.
Our production did not stop for a day. We provided the workers with all the necessary personal protective equipment as their health has always been the paramount priority for us.
Sika Group has developed a diversified and intensive training program, so everyone could deepen their knowledge in the field of modern innovative materials and technologies.
Despite the uneasy financial situation, SIKA Ukraine, as a responsible employer, did not take any measures to shift staff to reduced hours or dismiss employees. As a result, we already see that the team will come out of the quarantine more united and confident in the future. Many thanks to our partners who did not stop operating at this difficult time, rebuilding the infrastructure and industry of Ukraine.