How Flexible Working Can Help During Ramadan
28th Feb 2023
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is considered one of the most important months for Muslims worldwide. During this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, which can often be physically and mentally challenging.Ramadan, however, is not only about fasting; it’s also a time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and an opportunity to become closer to God. Fasting Muslims also engage in prayer, charitable giving, nightly prayers and other acts of worship during this month.
Why is Ramadan important?
Ramadan is important to Muslims for several reasons. Here are just a few of them:
- A time for spiritual reflection - Ramadan provides Muslims with an opportunity to reflect on their lives and their relationship with God. Fasting during the day encourages self-discipline and self-control, while the increased focus on prayer and worship helps to deepen one's spirituality.
- A time for increased charity - Ramadan emphasises the importance of giving to those in need. Muslims are encouraged to give generously to charity during this month, which helps to promote social solidarity and alleviate suffering.
- A time for the community - Ramadan is a time for Muslims to come together as a community. People often break their fast together in the evening, and the nightly prayers are performed in congregations at mosques. This sense of community helps to foster a feeling of belonging and connection among Muslims.
- A time for forgiveness - Muslims believe that Ramadan is a time to seek forgiveness for their sins and make a fresh start. This emphasis on repentance and forgiveness is an important aspect of Ramadan.
- A time for gratitude - Muslims have an increased sense of gratitude during this holy month; abstaining from food and drink can help to increase thankfulness during this month and moving forward.
- A time for discipline - Fasting during Ramadan requires self-discipline and self-control. By abstaining from food, drink, and other physical pleasures during the day, Muslims develop greater self-awareness and learn to control their desires. This can have a positive impact on other areas of their lives as well.
What can employers do to support employees during Ramadan?
Employers can take several steps to support employees who are observing Ramadan. Here are a few examples:
Be aware of the dates
Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar, which means that the dates can vary from year to year. Employers should be aware of when Ramadan is taking place and plan accordingly.
Be flexible with schedules
Fasting during Ramadan can be physically and mentally challenging, so employers should be flexible with work schedules. This could include adjusting work hours, allowing for breaks during the day, or offering the option to work from home if you don’t already offer this.
Provide a quiet space for prayer
Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and this is especially important during Ramadan. Employers could provide a quiet space where employees can pray and perform their religious obligations. Companies like Monzo Bank are setting an excellent example for the corporate world.
Be respectful of dietary restrictions
Muslims who are observing Ramadan will abstain from food and drink during daylight hours. Employers should be respectful of this and avoid scheduling meetings or events during meal times.
Educate other employeesEmployers can help to create a more inclusive workplace by educating other employees about Ramadan and its significance. This could include sharing information about the customs and practices associated with Ramadan or incorporating it into training on religious diversity and inclusion.
Flexible working during Ramadan
Flexible working can be very helpful during Ramadan for individuals who are observing the holy month, as it can help them balance their work and religious obligations. In general, partaking in Ramadan at work can often be more challenging in an office environment compared to when at home.Flexible working arrangements can help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance during Ramadan, increasing productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.