This year the month of Ramadan will begin on Tuesday 13 April. It’s the holy month where many working Muslims around the globe will fast from sunrise to sunset everyday for a whole month. This means not eating or drinking during daylight hours, that could be up to 16 hours a day within the UK.
Although people who observe this month are somewhat used to balancing their professional lives with their personal fasting obligations, it’s a rewarding feeling if employers acknowledge and support this period. Understanding employees diverse backgrounds and helping to accommodate any special requirements shows good management practices and encourages people to perform to the best of their abilities.
Businesses with a diverse workforce should encourage HR leaders and line managers to show extra support to their fasting colleagues during the next 30 days. Here are some ideas that you can implement on a short term basis to support your people observing Ramadhan:
During lunchtime, offer to turn a couple of meeting rooms into a prayer room, where people can dedicate five or ten minutes for their afternoon prayer. This space can also be used for a mini break or to simply relax in, away from a crowd.
Offering employees flexibility is a routine benefit for many businesses. Talking to your teams and understanding if they would like additional flexibility, is a thoughtful gesture. People who observe Ramadhan are required to eat just before sunrise so being able to start work a little later may go a long way for them.
If possible, try and avoid booking in meetings for late afternoon. If high concentration levels are needed from people, this will be a struggle for someone fasting so it’s best to use the morning when people are still relatively fresh.
You may wish to discuss scheduled work and projects and look at how you can support activities. Take some time to discuss any challenges with work and decide if certain projects or tasks can be delivered earlier or extended for delivery. This will give your colleagues a clear guidance for the month ahead so they can concentrate on what they need to achieve.
Annual Holiday for Eid
Businesses should be prepared for people to take some holiday to celebrate Eid. Eid marks the end of Ramadhan and is celebrated across three to four days. All those communities and groups of people who fast, usually come together on Eid to exchange gifts, dine out and have special foods on this day (this year the normal Eid celebrations may look different due to Covid-19)
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