<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/4108.png" alt="" style="display:none;">

Inclusive Strategies in Working Time for Navigating Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and Muslims around the globe will follow it with a period of spiritual reflection and fasting. It begins one night after the new moon with the sighting of the crescent moon. In 2024, this being on Sunday 10th March, and it will end with Eid al-Fitr in April.

Sawm (fasting at Ramadan) is one of the five pillars of Islam - along with Shahadah (sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith), Salat (praying in the proper way five times each day), Zakat (giving charitably to benefit the poor and the needy), and Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). The fasting is observed with abstinence between sunrise and sunset, before breaking it at sundown alongside family and friends.

Challenges and opportunities for shift workers and their employers

This practice has various implications for the work environment, especially for shift workers who may have to adjust their schedules to accommodate their religious obligations.

Indeed, shift workers already have to deal with disruption of their circadian rhythms, which are the natural cycles of sleep and wakefulness that regulate the body's biological functions and fasting during the day and eating at night can alter these rhythms further, leading to fatigue, sleep deprivation, reduced alertness, and impaired performance.

Ramadan is also a time of spiritual reflection, communal worship, charity, and family bonding. These activities may be difficult to participate in for employees who have to work during the night or on weekends, when most of the religious and social events take place.

It is important with Islam, as with other beliefs, that there is good communication to co-workers or managers who do not understand these faiths or religious practices to ensure general acceptance, support and inclusivity.

There may be a need for those observing the practice to balance their work and personal obligations, such as by requesting flexible hours, swapping shifts, or taking leave days. As such employers should where possible try to accommodate employee requests, especially by varying the start and end of their working day and facilitating breaks for prayer. This could be enabled, for instance, by more, shorter breaks - to give the same work time and perhaps having little impact on actual work output. Although there is no legal right to vary hours due to religious belief, religion is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act and therefore employees should not be treated less favourably because they are observant.

Ramadan can and does offer opportunities for shift workers and their organisations.
For instance, it can be a source of motivation and resilience for workers who view their fasting as a way of expressing their identity and values. It can be an opportunity for employers to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, by accommodating the needs of their Muslim employees and creating a culture of respect and tolerance. This can enhance employee satisfaction, loyalty, productivity, and retention.

By employers allowing adjusted work hours, early morning or late evening shifts, or remote work options, this will show empathy and support for employee well-being. Rather than be something that is exclusive, good employers can use the opportunity for team building and fostering a sense of community and togetherness, for instance organising iftar (breaking of fast) gatherings.

Some employees have reported increased focus and productivity during Ramadan due to heightened spirituality and discipline. This could be capitalised upon by assigning important tasks, projects or even leadership roles during this time.

It is worth emphasising that understanding and respect are key.
Employers should communicate openly with employees, listen to their needs, and create an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity.

How can Crown WFM help?

To enable a smooth operation in practice inevitably means change and flexibility may be needed. So, whether you need to engage our strategic shift design services or use our intelligent rostering and scheduling tools, we can help you achieve the most efficient utilisation of your business resources.

Crown Workforce Management helps you and your people fit with their requirements whilst matching the right people to the right roles to improve productivity and optimise costs by identifying employee availability, expected attendance and relevant skills.

Wherever they are, managers are able to:

  • Approve absences and overtime
  • Gain clear visibility over staffing levels and skills availability to react quickly to changes
  • Broadcast work opportunities directly to the best available people for the job

And our mobile accessibility enables true employee self-service. All users can keep in touch with their schedules whenever and wherever they like.

  • Receive schedule changes instantly without the need for time-consuming paperwork
  • Submit holiday or leave requests from home at any time

For more information about how Crown Workforce Management can support your business, talk to us today.

Strategic Shift Design  find out more

Crown are here to help you drive efficiency and business growth

Arrange a call