Ramadan: Wednesday 22nd March to Thursday 20th April

    Ramadan: Wednesday 22nd March to Thursday 20th April

    For the month of Ramadan, just a week away, Muslims around the globe will fast during the hours of daylight, remembering the month the Qur’an was first revealed by the Prophet Muhammad.

    It is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar and one of the holiest times in the Muslim calendar as an estimated 1.9 billion followers of Islam will observe the four week period of fasting. The exact dates of Ramadan vary each year as Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the moon.

    For work colleagues observing Ramadan it’s a time of reflection and celebration, though the hours of daylight can be a challenge and we can all support our friends in the office and in the community. The frequently used greeting during Ramadan is ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ which translates to ‘blessed Ramadan’. And a second greeting is ‘Ramadan Kareem’ which means ‘have a generous Ramadan’.

    HR professionals and managers have an important role to play in supporting Muslim employees during the month of Ramadan by planning work days around fasting hours and giving workers time off when needed. People managers need to think kindly and think ahead, as team members may want to book time off for the Eid celebration on Friday 21st April.

    In the wrong environment it is a difficult conversation for many Muslims, particular the young, if they don’t feel the understanding and empathy from their senior employees, and this organisational culture is everybody’s responsibility from top to bottom. Making the whole organisation aware of Ramadan will help observing employees feel more included. And if a young Muslim is nervous about asking for the time off, the delay may result in work rota chaos, particularly if it falls at your busiest time of the year.

    So why not pre-empt it and plan the month now?

    And think about adjusting the work model to ensure Muslim team members can contribute of the best of their ability, structuring their day around fasting hours. Important meetings and complex work challenges are best scheduled in the morning when people are at their brightest. Fasting people say they often tend to be calmer and, with flexibility allowed, can be more productive. One solution may be to start work a little later and finish later so that when your employee clocks off, he or she or they can go home to eat.

    Communication, as always, is the key and inclusive language is vital to ensure that Ramadan brings no unnecessary stress to people in the workplace.

    The first time a Muslim fasts at work can be daunting so, during the first few days make sure your people are supportive, sensitive and inclusive. And for any young Muslims out there; you might be surprised just how keen your bosses and colleagues will be to learn more about Ramadan and support you in any way they can.

    Ramadan Mubarak everyone.


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