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Three colleagues look back at one year at war

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Author: Anders Græsbøll Buch, Communications Consultant, JYSK

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On 24 February 2023, it is one year since Ukraine was invaded by Russia. GOJYSK.com has talked with three Ukrainian colleagues about their everyday life in a country at war. 

Gloria Magdiy, Store Manager in Zaporizhzhia 

GloriaHow is your workday now compared to before 24 February 2022? 

24 February made some changes in our life, but we also adapted to these realities. If there is an alarm in the morning, we have an agreement that we do not go to work until it is over. When we are at work and the alarm sounds, we ask all the customers to leave the store.  

How do you in the store deal with power failure, missing heat, missing water etc.? 

We do not have any problems with power outages and water at all, thankfully. We are equipped with a generator and a charging station. Unfortunately, there is no heat in our store, as the shopping centre where we are located does not turn on the heating. We have solved this problem with additional jackets.  

What makes you go to work with the risk of air alarms and attacks? 

It is not difficult for me to maintain a normal atmosphere, because we try to joke a little about it all, and that helps. To be honest, I am even calmer when I am at work. There is so much to do at work that even after the night shelling, there is no time to remember them. 

Many of your country men and women have fled from Ukraine because of the war. Why did you choose to stay? 

I was in Germany for four months. My husband insisted, although I did not really want to. I left just at a safe time for Zaporizhzhia, but when I was back, heavy shelling began, one of which occurred 300 metres from my house.  

My husband went to the Armed Forces. Even with such fear and horror, I said: "I will not go anywhere until it becomes completely unbearable." JYSK and in particular my store are my second family and I do not want to leave. Thank you very much to the management of the company for the colossal support. 

Anna Bykova, Store Manager in Kyiv

Anna BykovaHow is your workday now compared to before 24 February 2022? 

It is hard to say. In Kyiv, there are no alarms for several days in a row and no rockets are flying at us. Usually, I immerse myself in work so much that for a moment sometimes I forget what is going on behind routines. We are already so adapted to working during air alarms that we often do useful things in the shelter with our colleagues: we prepare price lists for the campaign, discuss the results of the store's work, and set new goals for ourselves, read concepts and news on MYJYSK.  

What makes you go to work with the risk of air alarms and attacks? 

Personally, I like the company's attitude towards employees and responsibility towards colleagues. We are all in the same conditions. Only by supporting each other we motivate ourselves not to give up, but to move forward towards our goals.  

Many of your country men and women have fled from Ukraine because of the war. Why did you choose to stay? 

There were doubts, of course, a desire to take the children away from that fear. And before the war, I seriously considered such an option.  

But the first thing that kept me from going were my parents, who are unable to live alone. They live in the Sumy region on the border to Russia, where fierce battles were fought. They did not want to leave their native home, they could not. I understood that I would not be able to live peacefully abroad, knowing that I had left relatives in Ukraine.  

When our stores began to open little by little already in April, I finally understood that I would not go anywhere. I am needed here! 

Roman Klymovych, Store Manager in Lviv

RomanHow is your workday now compared to before 24 February 2022? 

On 24 February, everyone began to learn to live in war mode. Now, we have been living in a state of war for a year. No matter how scary it sounds, we are used to it. The working day now is almost no different from what it was before 24 February, only complicated by power outages and periodic alarms to which we are already accustomed. Now, we know exactly the actions in the store for everyone’s safety. 

How do you in the store deal with power failure, missing heat, missing water etc? 

When there is an issue with a power outage, it usually has a significant impact on the work process. There is no light, the cash registers do not work, so we cannot sell products. Therefore, a power station was purchased to ensure light during blackouts. As for heating, the winter has been warm this year, so it was not too cold in the stores. There were no problems with water.  

What makes you go to work with the risk of air alarms and attacks? 

Everyone is fighting on their own front. While someone protects us with weapons in their hands, others have to go to work to support Ukraine's economy. These are the significant things now.  

Many of your country men and women have fled from Ukraine because of the war. Why did you choose to stay? 

I think everyone weighed all the pros and cons before making such an important decision for themselves.  

The main thing is that we feel safe where we are. We live in the West, where many people also moved from other Ukrainian regions, not only abroad. Yes, there is no safe place in Ukraine when rockets are launched, no one knows where they will hit. However, I know for sure that there will be nowhere better than home. That is why we decided to stay. 

Below you can see on a map of Ukraine where the three Store Managers work.

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