Aisha Ul-Haq, Accounts Assistant at EST provides insight into how employers can provide a supportive work environment during this important time.
Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month of the Islamic calendar year. It is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims and during this time of year Muslims are encouraged to give to charity, strengthen their relationship with God, and show kindness and patience. It is a month of giving; this year for example, I have supported a charity to get a water pump installed in Pakistan in a disadvantaged area.
During Ramadan many Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset as an act of devotion to their faith.
Eid celebration last for 3 days. On Eid we normally wake up early and go to the mosque to pray Eid prayer and wish everyone “Eid Mubarak”. This is the best time to spend with family. We dress up and then spend the whole day together. We have a big feast and gifts and money are exchanged.
During Ramadan, due to not being able to eat or drink anything for such a prolonged period it can cause some employees to feel an increased level of fatigue. Due to this, it can be easier to work from home. At EST we operate a hybrid working model and so I am able to choose where is best for me to work, although I have personally been happy to attend the office as normal.
As aforementioned, fasting can cause increased fatigue as we are unable to eat and drink during the day and we must wake up at unsociable hours within the night to eat and pray. One way employers can help with this is by allowing employees who are fasting to split their lunch breaks up throughout the day or work their hours at different times of the day if they feel they need to rest. Both of these small adjustments can be a great way to show support for your employees who are fasting during Ramadan. Luckily, EST have allowed me all the flexibility I need to be able to work in the most effective way during this important celebration.
Having an awareness of Ramadan and being supportive of fasting colleagues can be helpful, for example by not offering them food or drink while they are at work. It is also a good idea to avoid arranging any social events involving eating.
The Eid celebration is a time where Muslims get together as a family and celebrate their religion and what it means to them. This may mean that your employees request time off and it is important that employers encourage this time off for them. Here at EST, I am entitled to unlimited annual leave so I am able to celebrate with my family during this time without worry about how much annual leave I am using.
Another way you can support your employees who are observing Ramadan is by educating other employees. Colleagues may not be aware of the significance of Ramadan and often forget that people are fasting. By encouraging conversations in the workplace about Ramadan it can ensure that people aren’t falling into the trap of asking somebody who is fasting if they want a drink and avoiding any insensitive comments. Luckily, EST have just recently provided all employees with ‘EDI – Raising Awareness’ training which is so valuable, and I highly recommend that other workplaces do the same. Training like this helps promote the importance of inclusivity in the workplace.
Most importantly I and all at EST, would like to wish anyone who participated in Ramadan and are celebrating Eid, “Eid Mubarak” – we hope all who celebrate have a wonderful time with their family and friends!