Considered as one of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan is an important time for practising Muslims across the world. Being a 30-day period of reflection, which includes fasting within the hours between dawn and sunset.
The whole idea behind Ramadan is that no food or water can pass the lips of those that participate, with a few exceptions being children, the elderly and the ill. Depending where in the world you are, the length of the fast can vary. However, in the UK it is to be around 18 hours, which means employees across the nation will be at work whilst observing their fast.
As Ramadan will be taking place during the summer, the effects of not being able to eat or drink for hours on end will be exacerbated. Thus, employers are encouraged to allow their employees for a later lunch or work through lunch and go home earlier.
Although some Muslim employees may opt to take annual leave, many companies like Colewood, a digital marketing agency based in Stockton-on-Tees offers flexible working hours. The specialist PPC and SEO-based firm allows employees to work any time between 8 am to 7 pm, making it a perfect workplace for anyone observing fasts in Ramadan.
Umarah Hussain, a PR and Outreach Executive at Colewood will be observing Ramadan this year. When asked about the difficulties of fasting, she said: ‘you must ensure that you’re taking in a sufficient amount of fluids as thirst can pose an issue, especially when temperatures are rising.’
Every workplace is different, however being respectful and understanding what Ramadan entails can make a world of a difference to colleagues that are observing it, feel more comfortable to come to work. When talking about working life, Umarah went onto say: ‘I’ve found that the more the days go by, the easier it gets for me. My colleagues are really considerate and I have been given the opportunity of flexible working hours too, which is really accommodating of them’.
This year, not only is Umarah fasting but her manager decided to take on the challenge to see how it’s done. Wayne Thompson, Head of SEO said:
‘I’m looking forward to the challenge, Umarah has helped me to plan and everyone is so supportive at work‘
From sleep disruptions, hot weather and long days, having an understanding of colleagues that participate in fasting goes a long way to make them feel accommodated and productive even when the long hours become strenuous. Ensure that you speak with employees that are fasting to iron out any issues that may come about to allow them to be as productive as possible during the 30-day period.