Supporting Muslim Employees During the Month of Ramadan
Tomorrow, for thousands of Muslims across the country, the holiest month of the year begins - the month of Ramadan. During this month, Muslims abstain from eating from sunrise to sunset and focus on being spiritually connected. But with their excitement, for many Muslims, comes the apprehension of how they will balance this with their day-to-day work.
It's therefore important for employers to be mindful of ways that they can support colleagues, recognising that during Ramadan, different employees may require different types of support.
Here are a few things that you can do to make things that little bit easier for those who will be fasting.
Learn About Ramadan
Diversity and Inclusion are said to be the cornerstone of the modern workplace and Ramadan is a great opportunity for those who do not observe the month of Ramadan to learn about the month. It may be that you ask your Muslim colleagues to share their personal experiences about the month if they are happy to do this. Learning about other faiths that may not be familiar to you is an important part of creating a more inclusive culture.
Provide Tailored Support
Ask what they need and regularly check in with them. Rather than assuming what you think they may need, simply ask. A lot of the time, small adjustments such as allowing more regular breaks, having a designated prayer space, or arranging meetings later in the day can have a big impact. A lot of the time, those observing Ramadan are just grateful that someone is thinking of their wellbeing!
Give Positive Feedback
An integral part of Ramadan for Muslims is doing good work in all aspects of their life. Giving positive feedback will not only help motivate them and make them feel like a valued member of the organisation, but they will feel they are making the most of the month even whilst working.
In the month of Ramadan, Muslims will have disturbed sleep patterns throughout the month. They will be required to wake up before sunrise to eat and then attend nightly prayers after the fast is broken at sunset. The last 10 days of the month are significantly more important, so they may want to partake in additional prayers. Employers should try and accommodate flexible working requests wherever possible.
This may mean allowing employees to start at a later time or finish earlier. You may even want to think about allowing employees to work from home for a few days a week to cut out commuting time, so they are not fatigued.
Most importantly, wish them a Happy Ramadan! Some Ramadan greetings you may want to use are “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak”.