This week Ramadan begins. Our Muslim staff have put together their top tips on creating an inclusive workplace during Ramadan for employers and co-workers.
Tip 1) Being able to pray on time
One way employers can help their Muslim employees is allowing them to leave for prayer. Praying on time is very important for Muslims, especially during Ramadan. Being able to leave for 5 minutes, even when it’s busy, without being bombarded with questions or judgment will help your Muslim employees feel less stressed. If there’s space, we also recommend setting up a prayer room or an allocated space in your office for both male and female workers to pray separately.
Tip 2) Accommodate employees who break their fast at work
If you have Muslim employees working after sunset, also known as maghrib, having dates and water ready for employees so they can break their fast would be much appreciated by your Muslim employees.
Tip 3) Consider condensed hours
Sleep schedules can be a little off-kilter during Ramadan; we usually sleep later, wake at dawn and then go back to sleep; this makes 9am starts a bit tricky. Some people may prefer taking a shorter lunch break and finishing work a little earlier too.
Tip 4) Avoid evening meetings
If you have late evening meetings or work events, try rescheduling them for earlier so your Muslim employees have enough time to rest and prepare for iftar (when we break our fast).
Tip 5) Think about the comments you make about Ramadan
Although you may not mean it with ill intent, comments like “I want to fast so I can lose weight” can be seen as rude. Ramadan is a religious tradition and a time meant for reflecting on and being grateful for the life God has given you.
Also refrain from saying comments like, “I’m sorry you have to do this” or “are you forced to fast?” Many Muslims look forward to Ramadan; it is a time where we feel more connected to God, our families and friends, we join together to celebrate and we step away from consumerism and material objects to appreciate life and feel more spiritually connected with those around us.
Tip 6) Be flexible with annual leave
Ramadan is based on the Islamic calendar which is lunar. This means Muslims may not know when Eid or Ramadan is until the night before, so if your employee calls the night before to change the date of their annual leave please be understanding. The last 10 days of Ramadan are considered the most holy, so if your Muslim employees come in late or take time off it’s so they can focus on prayer, Quran and their spirituality.
If you would like to learn more about inclusivity practises in the workplace, check out our open training workshops