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Ramadan 2023: five tips for HR

Upon the first sighting of the crescent moon, millions of Muslims worldwide will observe a holy month of fasting, prayer, and introspection in celebration of Muhammad’s first revelation from God.

As a result, many employees will have their sleeping patterns disturbed and be without food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Showing support and understanding during this period is crucial to building a happy and inclusive workplace. And, as we know, a happy office is a healthy one.

So, since the annual observance of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, here are five tips for creating an inclusive and supportive workplace during Ramadan 2023.

One: allow flexible hours

Sleep is deeply ingrained in Islamic culture and is particularly crucial during Ramadan. However, pre-dawn meals (Suhur) and prayers at dawn (Fajr) often disrupt sleeping patterns and complicate early starts. This is particularly true for the initial transition. Needs will also vary between early and late risers, parents, etc., so cases should be handled individually.

It’s not just the start of the day, either. Many might prefer to skip lunch or leave before five, and frequent breaks during the day are often necessary.

Introducing a flexible workday allows employees to care for their health and well-being and show that you, as an employer, care for them too. With Bayzat’s attendance and tracking, you can easily keep track of your workforce by allowing them to check in and out via their mobile devices, ensuring they still meet the required number of hours per week.

Two: easy medical consultation

It’s vital to ensure your employees and their health during fasting. While fasting is not dangerous in and of itself, it can put a strain on certain medical issues, and having a solution for quick and easy medical advice – before, during, and after fasting – is paramount. Remember, people may not know they’re exposed.

With Bayzat, you can afford your employees the opportunity to book a virtual doctor’s consultation through our benefits feature and should ideally be combined with a check-up on company health insurance as well.

Three: be flexible with annual leave

Three: be flexible with annual leave

As Ramadan follows the Islamic calendar, it’s impossible to know precisely when Ramadan 2023 begins or ends as it depends on the moon. In addition, the last ten days of Ramadan are considered the holiest and can be periods where deep prayer and study of the Quran may result in the need for time off. Consequently, HR must be prepared for a significant influx of annual leave requests that may also change at short notice. To support this and stay productive at the same time, HR needs to make it easy and stress-free to request annual leave and manage shifts. 

And when Ramadan ends, Eid al-Fitr begins. This is the three-day celebration during which we can wish our colleagues Eid Mubarak!

Four: facilitate prayer

Prayer, like fasting, is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith. Hence, facilitating prayer is a great way to show understanding and support. This can come in the form of a dedicated prayer room (ideally two separate ones for men and women if you have the space) or as the simple act of letting observing employees leave the room without demanding explanations.

If things are busy and there are no rooms to spare, a dedicated area is also a good option. Ask your employees for their advice on how to best facilitate their prayer times.

Five: know what to say

Remember that not all cultures know about Ramadan, fasting during Ramadan should be celebrated and supported. It has a far deeper meaning than simply skipping meals: it’s a spiritual cleansing meant to feed the soul instead of the body, and it’s a time for families and communities to connect on a spiritual level.

Educate your entire workforce about Ramadan using your internal communication channels. Organizing internal education or simply an awareness campaign will help demystify the celebration. It can be a fun and inclusive activity as well!

Here are a few encouraging messages you can send out:

·   Ramadan Kareem (Have a generous Ramadan)

·   Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan)

PS: if you forget these, just ask how their celebration is going.

(Six: bonus tip)

Having user-friendly and automated HR software with world-class employee benefits and solid customer support is critical for the modern workplace – particularly during Ramadan 2023 and beyond. It will help free up an HR Managers time typically spent on admin, so they can get back to the part they love most – your people. Bayzat’s all-in-one HR, payroll, insurance & employee benefits software ensures your business can maintain productivity levels during periods of disruption. Click here to learn about the Bayzat Effect.

Louise Harty