Ramadan is an Islamic tradition that takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. For many Muslims, this period of religious observance will include fasting from sunrise to sunset.
When fasting, individuals are not allowed to consume food or liquids (including water). In the modern working environment where we usually lurch from snack-to-snack and meeting-to-meeting, accommodating employees who practice Ramadan could seem challenging. However, to promote a truly inclusive working culture, it’s important to reflect on this and think about ways in which we can make sure that those employees and their beliefs feel at home.
Here are a few of RMP’s top tips…
- Educate your team. All of our following advice won’t mean anything if your team doesn’t understand what Ramadan is, why it’s important to Muslims and what it means for people who practice it. Whether it’s sharing articles, reminding them about it in company and team meetings, or putting a poster on your noticeboard, make sure you open up the conversation.
- Be flexible. With many businesses operating with increased flexibility, this is not hard to implement. During the month, why not consider:
- Increased flexitime in order to allow employees to start earlier or later depending on when they feel the most energetic. Some Muslims attend evening prayers which means they will not return home until nearing midnight, so starting later might work better for them
- Let employees work through their lunch so that they can finish work earlier
- Allow time in the day for prayer
- Everyone is different, so try and take a tailored approach to each individual by finding out what works for them instead of a blanket policy. If in doubt, ask!
- Be mindful. For those employees who aren’t practicing, it could be easy to forget about. If you are a manager, take responsibility for reminding your team and remaining inclusive.
- Put meetings in according to when your team member will have the most energy
- If you’re organising social activities after work, try to avoid revolving them around food or delay them until after the month of fasting so that nobody misses out!
- Support them through it! Ask individuals how you can best support them through the month and encourage them to speak to you if they are facing any problems or challenges.
Finally, after the month of fasting is over, Muslims celebrate Eid. This is an extremely special time for Muslims to share with their friends and family, but don’t be shy about wishing your colleagues a happy Eid either!