ArticleApril 6, 2023by included

Fostering Inclusivity during Ramadan

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a time of spiritual reflection and growth for Muslims worldwide. During this holy month, many Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset, engage in prayer, and participate in acts of charity. As organisations and colleagues, it is essential to be aware of the unique needs of those celebrating Ramadan and foster an inclusive and supportive work environment.
Understanding Ramadan and Its Significance:

Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. For Muslims, it is a time of intense spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and community involvement. During the fasting period, Muslims abstain from food, drink (including water), and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. Fasting is seen as a way to purify the soul, refocus attention on spiritual matters, and develop empathy for those less fortunate.

As such, those who are fasting may have less energy or be less social than they usually are during this month.  This means that their needs might shift for this month, including changing working hours or how they might participate in meetings and social events.  As such, it’s important to ask your Muslim colleagues about how best to support them during this month.

Accommodating and Supporting Employees during Ramadan
  • Be flexible with work schedules:

    Offering flexible work hours or allowing employees to start earlier or work later can help accommodate their needs during Ramadan. This flexibility can help them balance their work and religious commitments more effectively, ensuring they remain productive and focused.

  • Provide a quiet space for prayer:

    Muslims pray five times a day, with extra prayers often observed during Ramadan. Providing a designated quiet space for prayer can help employees feel supported and respected in their religious practices.

  • Encourage open communication:

    Encourage employees to communicate their needs and preferences during Ramadan openly. This open dialogue can help managers and colleagues better understand and accommodate their co-workers observing Ramadan.

  • Ask questions:

    There are many different branches of Islam, and many different ways of celebrating Ramadan.  If you’re unsure about how your Muslim colleagues are commemorating this period, just ask! It’s the best way to ensure you are treating your colleagues the way they want to be treated and giving them the support they need.

  • Be mindful of food and drink:

    During the fasting period, Muslims abstain from food and drink. Be sensitive to this when planning meetings, events, or celebrations that involve food during working hours. If possible, schedule events outside of fasting hours or provide alternatives for those observing Ramadan. For example, for a lunch event that you cannot re-arrange, consider providing a boxed lunch that people who are fasting can take home with them to eat after sunset.

  • Educate your team:

    Raising awareness about Ramadan and its significance among your team can help create a more inclusive and understanding workplace. Share information about Ramadan’s customs and practices, and encourage colleagues to ask questions and learn from one another.

Fostering inclusivity and awareness during Ramadan is an essential part of creating a supportive workplace culture. By accommodating the needs of employees observing Ramadan and promoting understanding and respect for their religious practices, organisations can ensure that all team members feel valued and included. This, in turn, can lead to a more engaged, efficient, and cohesive workforce.