18 Ideas For HRs To Celebrate Ramadan At Work
As an HR professional, you must have come across the term “Workplace Inclusivity.” The term isn’t a fad or trend that organizations may consider incorporating. It is a vital concept that must foster in every workplace.
Inclusivity is inherently associated with broadening the dialogue to embrace people who practice different faiths. Also, celebrating the diverse festivals related to different faiths.
According to Pew Research Center, 77% of the U.S population identify themselves as religious.
This makes an inclusive workplace necessary for creating space for employees of diverse faiths to feel welcome. And if your organization is big on diversity and inclusion, overlooking any momentous religious occasion is inappropriate.
Now, as Ramadan 2023 is approaching, here is your golden chance to celebrate inclusivity. But before jumping straight on to the ideas, let’s first know more about Ramadan.
What Is Ramadan?
You all must've noticed your Muslim friends, neighbors, or co-workers abstaining from food or drink, including water, from dawn to sunset during a particular time of the year. You sure must've wondered the reason behind their dedicated fast. Well! It's because they are observing the sacred month of Ramadan.
Ramadan commemorates the creation of the Quran- Islam’s holy book. For Muslims all over the world, it marks the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, prayers, introspection, charity and brotherhood. A significant time of the year for over 1 billion Islamic people.
But do you know what makes Ramadan so special?
If your answer is the splendid feast after the fast. You're right! But, partially.
Ramadan is significant because it is the time for self-introspection and spirituality. It is the opportunity for all Muslims to connect and converse with their beloved Allah (God). Acknowledge His presence and seek His blessings and protection.
For Muslims, Ramadan is about rejuvenating faith and revitalizing one's thoughts. And they do it by
Observing fast (from dawn to dusk)
Devoting their time to reading and reciting the Quran
Abstaining from immoral activities
Connecting with their thoughts and community, and
Undertaking charity works
People with faith in Islam practice these activities during Ramadan with full faith and vigor.
FUN FACT- The word "Ramadan" stems from the Arabic root "ar-ramad” meaning intense scorching heat.
Ramadan in 2023
Ramadan for the year 2023 is expected to begin on the evening of Wednesday, March 22nd, lasting 30 days and ending at sundown on Thursday, April 20th.
So, by now, you must have known a great deal about Ramadan. And is all excited to celebrate the holy month with your colleagues.
But wondering how to commemorate such a diverse and elaborate festival at your workplace.
Worry not! Here are some ideas for you to celebrate Ramadan at work.
18 Best Ideas for HRs to celebrate Ramadan at Work
1. Acknowledge the Significance of Ramadan
Ramadan is a vital part of the Islamic culture. But despite its importance, Ramadan can be a challenging month for many. It stands especially true if someone is working in a 9-5 job and is expected to stay at the top of their work without any respite.
It is your responsibility as an HR professional to ensure that all of your Muslim employees receive adequate support and empathy during Ramadan. However, you will only be able to support them if you are well-versed in the customs and traditions.
So, it would be wise to invest your time in doing some research. You don’t have to read Islamic texts to understand them better. Here are some better options for you:
Spend some time talking to fasting employees about how the company can help them through the day.
Communicate with an HR leader— who is also a practicing Muslim— to learn about the policies and initiatives that can be implemented.
Browse popular forums like Reddit to get real-life examples of how Muslim employees expect their organizations to support them during the Holy Month.
2. Don't Assume. Communicate
Ramadan need not be the same for everyone. Some people may observe it, and some may not. Assuming that all Muslims are obligated to fast during Ramadan is a false narrative.
We strongly advise you to take the easier path here. Simply ask (or send a Google form) your employees if they will be fasting during Ramadan. You can also conduct a survey. But, remember to send the survey to everyone because you never know who is a practicing Muslim.
Encourage your employees to submit their requests (if any) related to religious observances to the HR team. Try to accommodate their requests with discretion and grace. This way, you’ll be able to make their Ramadan more special.
Employees may be hesitant to come forward with their requests. Try to be more approachable.
3. Inform all Employees of the Organization Beforehand
Employees observing Ramadan should not come as a surprise to non-muslim employees. All employees must be notified of the coming of Ramadan beforehand. Prior notification will help avoid any confusion among co-workers.
But exercise empathy while doing it. Ask the employees if they are comfortable sharing the information about them observing fast. If they are not comfortable, do not disclose the information to other workers.
So, make sure to inform everyone in the organization before the occasion. This will also make non-muslim employees feel more included.
Remember to inform all employees at least a week earlier.
4. Wishes from Top-level Management
Some companies only hire URG (underrepresented groups) employees to meet the diversity criteria. Such companies’ leaders rarely acknowledge (or even know about) the community and the skills it brings to the table.
As a leader, you can definitely do better. Top-down recognition continues to be a powerful form of motivation for your people.
So, this Ramadan, ask your leaders to pen down a heartfelt message. The message must resonate with the Islamic community.
Ideally, the management should prepare the Ramadan message. But it doesn’t always work out like that. As an HR professional, you must ensure that the message sees the light of the day.
Proofread the letter and re-check the content. The message must not offend or hurt the employees celebrating Ramadan.
5. Accommodate Flexible Working Options
As you already know, Muslims fast during Ramadan. Due to this experiencing a dip in their energy levels as the day progresses is obvious. Also, adhering to specific timings is required while observing Ramadan.
So, don't you think offering them flexible working hours would be a good idea? Allowing them to choose their time and giving them a choice to work as per their convenience.
Flexible work schedules help them plan their days around their body needs. It can be a good opportunity to spend time with their family and friends.
Organizing lunch meetings while employees are fasting is not accommodating. Try to avoid it.
6. Provide a Better Work-life Balance
A healthy work-life balance is imperative for all working professionals throughout their career span. But it becomes inevitable during festivals like Ramadan. Ramadan, although a divine observance, also comes with certain challenges such as
- Difficulty in maintaining productivity at the workplace.
- Higher obligations to be present in the family and social front.
- Plummeting energy levels, increased fatigue, and dizziness.
- Time-specific rituals or activities.
With a multitude of employees observing the month with full faith and corporations strategizing ways to maintain work efficacy. A balanced work allocation strategy becomes a core part of the celebration. So, familiarity with certain work-life balancing approaches at the workplace would be great. Some ways that you as an HR can consider are-
- Set clear goals and plan ahead the work allocation strategies before the onset of Ramadan.
- Avoid scheduling multiple meetings during Ramadan.
- Eschew organizing events after working hours.
- Limit or if possible avoid allotting multiple tasks to employees observing the blessed month.
Provide more flexibility to your employees to promote work-life balance and job performance. Job flexibility will allow employees to strike a balance between personal and professional fronts.
Recommended Resource: 25 Best Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance and its Benefits
7. Encourage Managers to have Patience and Empathy
Managers or team leaders must be considerate and courteous to employees observing fast during Ramadan. They must voluntarily assist their team members in managing their workload.
During Ramadan, the productivity level of employees may be affected due to prolonged fasting. The decline may be visible towards the end of the working hours.
So, encourage the managers of your organization to be empathetic. Ask them to have patience.
Never penalize or criticize employees whose productivity has reduced due to long fasting hours. Penalizing them would be discriminatory in nature.
8. Establish a Faith-based Employee Resource Group
If you don’t have a faith-based employee resource group, consider establishing one. It would be a great move in supporting, celebrating, and fostering inclusivity at the workplace.
Faith-based resource groups focus on interfaith dialogue and encourage understanding of global faith diversity. These groups help create a culture of respect for each other’s religion and inculcates empathy.
According to an article published by abc News, more than 20% of the fortune 100 companies have established faith-based employee resource groups (survey by AP examination)
So, why not gift your employees such a resource group this Ramadan? It would make Ramadan in particular and all religious festivals in general so remarkable.
Fun Fact- One of the fastest growing faith-based groups, called Faithforce, was launched by Salesforce in 2017
9. Give your Employees Floater Leaves
Provide your employees floater leaves during Ramadan and see the joy it brings to them.
Yes, there is no better gift for your employees than offering them floater leaves. A floating holiday is a benefit that you can offer in addition to flexible working options. These kind of paid holidays ensures:
- better work-life balance,
- increased morale
- higher productivity
- improved inclusivity and diversity scenario of the organization.
As observers of Ramadan might have several celebration plans. It would be great to accommodate their leave requests through providing them floaters.
But, if their leaves are refused, provide them with a rational and reasoned justification. Simply turning down their request without explanation could be seen in a bad light.
Assign specific days on which employees can take floater leaves. It can be on state or federal holidays, festivals, employee’s birthdays, or anniversaries.
Ensure that other employees don't suffer due to the leaves taken by their co-workers. Have a proper plan for smooth functioning at the workplace during Ramadan.
10. Provide a Special Prayer Space
Do you know how many times a day Muslims pray?
Five times. Yes, even outside of Ramadan, practicing Muslims pray five times a day.
Most people don’t know it because they don’t see their peers or friends praying these many times. But that’s because your Muslim acquaintances are either:
- Hard-pressed for time, or
- Unable to find a good praying space and, thus, end up not praying.
If you pride yourself as an inclusive company, but your employees still face these issues, your workplace needs a major upgrade.
So, equipping the office with a dedicated prayer space would be a considerate move. Make sure it’s a clean, uncluttered, and peaceful area with no outside noises.
List down all the essentials required to make the space apt for the purpose. Remember to avoid spaces near washrooms.
11. Give a Festive Touch to the Office
How about some beautiful office decor? Decor with luminous fanous hanging, celebratory wreaths, scented candles, and some “Ramadan” word balloons. Wonderful! Isn't it?
Decorating the office would make Ramadan celebration look even more happening.
Also, there are many ways to adorn your office space and give it a festive touch. And it need not be expensive. You can purchase most of the decorations at nominal rates. Yet maintaining the aesthetics of the Ramadan season.
So, get ready to uplift moods with some decor and infuse a festive vibe in your office.
Excess of anything is wrong. Adding too many decor items may make it look messy. It will also take up time to rearrange post the festival. So, save yourself the trouble and go minimalistic.
12. Make the Office Cafeteria Ramadan Ready
The office cafeteria is one of the most happening places. That is where your employees love to spend their leisure time. So, why not utilize that space for the convenience of those observing Ramadan?
How about keeping some fast-friendly foods for the employees to consume? Some popular Ramadan snacks include dates, nuts, dry fruits, cut fruits, and pudding. Employees can have them after their fast is over for the day.
You can stock some beverages too. Beverages like rose syrup, coconut water, lemon drinks, or mixed fruit juices. These drinks are a perfect way to beat the quench after a long day of fasting.
Make sure to keep nutritious snacks in the office cafeteria. Snacks that provide energy and are fiber-rich. Also, keep clean drinking water available at all times.
Avoid stacking too many fried, sodium-rich, sugar-loaded foods in the office cafeteria. They are not recommended after a long day of fasting. Store healthier snacking items instead.
13. Encourage Rest Breaks
Fasting is a rewarding experience. Yet it may be exhausting at times. It may take a toll on the body and may result in nausea or dizziness. Owing to these hazards, frequent rest breaks are essential for the well-being of employees.
But most employees might feel reluctant to take breaks. As an HR personnel, the welfare of the company’s employees is your responsibility. Create a policy that allows fasting employees to take regular breaks throughout the day. Even a short 10-minute break can be pivotal in keeping employees’ health and productivity in check.
During Ramadan, prepare a schedule for breaks. A proper plan or timetable will ensure consistency. Also, all employees will know the timings and duration of breaks.
14. Hold a Feast at the Workplace
Whether your employees are fasting or not, hosting a Ramadan feast is a fun activity that you must try! After all, Ramadan isn’t complete unless there’s a communal meal.
That said, it is impractical to host a feast for an entire month. But make an effort to host it for at least one night. You can also encourage those who are not fasting to volunteer for the feast. But only if they are completely willing.
Celebrating the feast with everyone is a great way to make employees feel included. It also contributes to healthy work culture and leads to more engaged employees.
If possible, invite the employee's family members. They will get to spend more time with their families. Also, employees will get to meet their co-workers near and dear ones.
15. Partake in Charitable Activities
Fun Fact: Muslims practice Zakat during Ramadan. Zakat is the practice of charitable giving. Followers of Islam are encouraged to give 2.5% of their wealth to Zakat.
The Holy Month is certainly a wonderful time to practice the art of giving. Imagine how delighted your employees will be if you assist them in their charitable commitments.
There are so many ways in which organizations can provide a helping hand to those in need. Assist your employees in holding a community Iftar, providing care packages, and even organizing fundraising events.
The practice of sharing is an excellent CSR activity that will also inspire your non-muslim employees. People will be filled with goodwill and faith if they see that the company cares about the whole community.
Involve non-muslim employees in charitable activities. Encourage them to volunteer. This will make them feel included.
16. Eid Special Gifts
Everybody loves getting corporate gifts. Especially when it is a special occasion, receiving such gifts lends a festive air to the whole work environment.
So, this Ramadan, make your coworkers and employees feel appreciated by giving them a special gift. Remember to gift them something meaningful. Something that will most definitely cheer them up.
Some of the gifting options you may consider are-
- Ramadan Calendar
- Quran and Hadith Books
- Designed Sweet Box
- Pocket Sejadah
- Premium quality dates box
- Ittars (Perfumes)
- Handmade Scented Candles Set
- Healthy Snack Hampers
I Hope this list helps. But there are also plenty of other gifting ideas. You can either search for it online or do a little brainstorming.
If you cannot think of anything consider giving gift cards. Gift cards are a fantastic option since they allow employees to choose what they like. You can send gift cards with the Vantage Rewards Platform. It is an easy-to-use, hassle-free platform for an amazing corporate gifting experience.
Recommended Resource: The Ultimate for Corporate Gift Ideas for Employees in 2022
17. Greeting Cards
Giving greeting cards can be an incredible way to convey Ramadan wishes. A card thoughtfully designed could have a lasting impression on your employees.
So, design an eye-pleasing card and pen down heartfelt wishes. The effort of preparing a greeting card will go a long way in making your employees feel valued.
Recipients are more likely to appreciate cards that mirror their thoughts, personality, and values. So, if you are planning customized cards, keep this in mind.
18. Creating Ramadan-friendly Content
You can create some content on the occasion of Ramadan. Blogs/ Vlogs on celebration ideas, quotes, or fasting-related guidance. Also, collection of employee experiences, stories, or wishes.
Planning content around Ramadan would generate awareness. It shall resonate with the Muslim community.
Content should be engaging and informative. Also, it must be reviewed by someone observing the festival. As they can share insights and better ways to make the content effective.
At the End of Ramadan
As Ramadan draws to a close, it is time for Eid-al-Fitr. One of the most important holidays for Muslims. Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-dusk fasting. The festivities last for three days.
Eid-al-Fitr is an opportunity to express gratitude for the gift of life. During the “feast of breaking the fast,” Muslims visit friends and family. They exchange gifts and partake in a feast. For them, it is a great gala time.
1. Can employees work during Ramadan?
Ans- Employees not observing fast can work during Ramadan. Employees observing fast can also work. But, employers and HRs must provide frequent rest breaks to ensure sound health.
2. How to greet colleagues during Ramadan?
Ans- There are many ways to greet colleagues during Ramadan. You can exchange greetings by saying:
- Ramadan Kareem
- Ramadan Mubarak
- Happy Ramadan
- Eid Mubarak
- Eid Kareem
3. What are the ways to support employees during Ramadan?
Ans- Talk to your employees and understand their ways of celebrating Ramadan. Be considerate to those who are observing fast. Ensure frequent rest breaks are provided and used by employees as well. Encourage them to take good care of their health while fasting. Also, give them paid time off or grant their leave requests.
4. How many hours shall employees work during Ramadan?
Ans- There must be a two-hour reduction in working hours per day. During Ramadan, working hours are recommended to be six hours per week. However, the UAE Labor Law states that working hours must not exceed eight hours a day or 48 hours per week over a six-day working week. The reduction in working hours applies to all the employees in an organization.
5. How do people fast during Ramadan?
Ans- Muslims fast during the daylight hours of Ramadan. Fasting takes place from dawn to dusk. Before daybreak, people eat a pre-fast meal called 'Sahur.' At sunset, a meal called 'Iftar' breaks the fast. Muslims all over the world follow the sunlight hours of Mecca.
6. What are the gifting options for Eid-al-Fitr?
Ans- For Ramadan, there are several gifting options. One can gift fresh flowers, assorted dry fruits, sweets, date boxes, or chocolates. For some personal touch, handcrafted scented candles, designed fanous or handmade Ramadan calendar, or Sejadah can be presented. Luxury fragrances, ittars, or aromatic diffusers are also great gifting options.
Life is a festival of celebration.
~Anthony T. Hincks
So, these were some of the ideas through which you can make Ramadan at work memorable. You can also communicate with your employees and add more to the list.
Celebrating employees' cultures and values is great for employee engagement. It can pave the way in supporting diversity and inclusion. Workplace celebrations also positively contribute to employee well-being and happiness.
So, no chance of celebrating occasions must be missed. A vibrant festival like Ramadan shall definitely be not.