Every year, we hear about the sacred month of Ramadhan commencing once again. 2 billion Muslims all around the word observe fasting from dawn till dusk, abstaining from drinking and eating, and engaging in charitable activities throughout the 29-30 days.

During this time of self-reflection, introspection, and personal growth, Ramadhan can be a challenging month for Muslim employees as they balance their work responsibilities with their spiritual routines. Our Junior Account Executive, Fatima, has been taking part in the festivities her whole life and has some tips to share to employers with Muslim employees…

Be mindful of workload and offer flexible work hours:

Given the disrupted sleeping routine of waking up at dawn to eat, 5AM fajr prayers, and then waking up at 9AM to begin the working-day, Muslims who observe fasting may feel tired or less productive during the day. With no food or drinks – or the well-loved morning coffee! – the brain fog is SO real! Due to this, employers and managers should be mindful with the workload and deadlines they may give. And to help with the lack of sleep, Muslim employees would be very appreciative of flexible working hours. Some people may feel like they’re being too much of an inconvience to ask for help and/or feel shy to ask for a later start. Thus, if employers can go out of their way to empathise with their employees and be happy to provide an extra hour of sleep, the support would be thoroughly valued!

Here at EV., flexible hours are no problem and I was more than welcomed to have a 10AM-6PM working day for the month. And with our Work from Anywhere policy, the ability of being able to work from the comfort of my bed (while I avoid the mouth-watering food smells from the kitchen) or even at the masjid (mosque), makes things very easy for me!

Accommodate prayer times:

It is obligatory for Muslims to pray five times a day, and it is likely that two out of five of these prayers would coincide with the working-day. Being respectful when an employee has to leave the office to pray, goes without saying, but employers should also be able to offer their employees a secure space to do this. Even if your office building does not have a designated prayer room as such, a simple, clean, and quiet room is totally fine. You could also let your employees keep essentials such as a musallah (prayer mat), a hijaab, the Qur’aan/any Islamic books, somewhere in the office to save them from travelling with a weighty bag when commuting to work.

Offer time off:

During a month where each good deed is multiplied by seventy, Muslims are naturally very motivated to focus as much as they can on praying and giving-back to the community. Balancing this with the work-day can be tricky, so some employees may choose to use some of their annual leave days to take the time to focus on the month properly. Since Muslims regard Fridays as the most holy day of the week, I have chosen to have the afternoons off to focus more on my Friday prayers and offer help to local charities!

Furthermore, it can be slightly difficult to book off when Eid-al-Fitr will be at the end of Ramadhan, due to the fact that it depends on whether the moon is sighted on the 28th fast. Due to this, please be considerate when Muslim employees cannot give a solid date on when they may need to book a day off to celebrate Eid, and remain supportive towards their day of celebration.

Be a resposible and conscious colleague

In order for a workplace to be aware and encouraging, businesses need to actively be conscious of what their Muslim employees are taking part in. Providing education and resources about Ramadhan to non-Muslim employees could help promote understanding and respect for their Muslim colleagues and their religious practices.

While it is good to do your own personal research from reliable sources, don’t be afraid of asking questions! I, personally, love talking about my fasts and Ramadhan routine to TeamEV. – and I love knowing that my colleagues are genuinely happy to learn about my beliefs. There is no harm in genuine curiosity and in a time where there are so many negative stereotypes, it is lovely to share and learn things which come from a genuine place.

And most of all…

Have fun!

To make things more exciting and lively for the entire team, there are so many fun things you could do together! Decorate the office with Ramadhan/Eid décor, take part in annonymous gift-giving by doing Secret Sheikh, schedule a work Iftar dinner at a yummy restaurant to open a fast, host a fasting challenge (one of our clients, Pawprint Family, have a fantastic one here), encourage each other to be involved in helping charities – which TeamEV loving doing through our Make Good Grow platform – and more!

I hope this was an informative insight on how businesses can help their Muslim employees! To those who are taking part in the blessed month, I hope your good deeds, fasts, and prayers, are rewarded abundantly. Ramadhan Kareem!

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