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Cultivating an Inclusive Workplace: Best Practices for Ramadan

Author by Reem Alzubeidi

Having Muslim team members, and being Muslim myself, I have always struggled with how to integrate a productive workday during the holy month of Ramadan. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing employers who aren’t afraid to ask questions and have been overwhelmingly accommodating during this time and it is my top priority to do the same with my teams!

For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims around the world, where we fast from dawn to sunset. For those who have never fasted before, it may seem challenging, but it's also an opportunity to experience the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting. As we observe this month, we would like to invite our colleagues to join us in fasting and learn more about our culture and traditions.

Most will be surprised to learn that fasting in Ramadan is actually secondary to a focus on prayer, self-reflection, spiritual growth, and empathy for those who are less fortunate. Fasting teaches us self-control, patience, and gratitude for the blessings in our lives. It's also a time for families and communities to come together and share meals, build bonds, and strengthen relationships.

For our non-Muslim colleagues who would like to try fasting with us, we recommend starting gradually by skipping breakfast and gradually increasing the hours of fasting. It's essential to stay hydrated and eat a balanced meal during the evening meal (iftar) to replenish the body's nutrients.

Consider some of the things Concurrency does to support Muslim employees during this time:

  1. Be aware of the dates: Ramadan is a lunar month that changes every year, so make sure you know the dates and duration of the fast. This will help you plan and accommodate your employees accordingly. This year, Ramadan falls on Wed, March 22nd and ends on Friday, April 21st, 2023.
  2. Provide flexible working hours: Muslims observing Ramadan will be fasting from dawn to sunset, which can affect their energy levels and productivity. Providing flexible working hours or allowing for shorter shifts can help accommodate their needs.
  3. Be mindful of scheduling meetings: Avoid scheduling meetings during the time when Muslims break their fast (iftar) or during evening prayers (taraweeh). This shows respect for their religious practices and allows them to fully participate in the holy month.
  4. Create a supportive environment: It can be challenging to fast for long hours while working, so creating a supportive environment can make a big difference. This can include providing a quiet space for prayer or allowing breaks for employees to rest and recharge.
  5. Avoid offering food and drinks during fasting hours: While it may be well-intentioned to offer food and drinks to your employees, it can be difficult for those who are fasting to decline. Avoid offering food and drinks during fasting hours, and consider offering non-food-related perks such as time off or bonuses.

Thanks for making it this far in the blog post! Having respect and support for Muslim employees during the month of Ramadan can go a long way in building a positive and inclusive workplace culture. By being mindful of their religious practices and accommodating their needs, you can help create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all employees.