March 04, 2024

Impact of Ramadan at work: 5 best practices to know

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A pillar of Islam, Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hegirian calendar. What are the key elements you need to know in order to respect this important period for your Muslim contacts? What impact does it have at work, and what are the levers?

Impact of Ramadan at work: 5 best practices to know

With more than 10 years of experience as a Director in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, our intercultural expert shares some keys to promoting a respectful and caring approach while optimizing professional efficiency.

This month symbolizes the beginning of the reception of the Quranic verses by the Prophet Muhammad. The first revelation of the Qur'an or "Night of Destiny" would therefore be during this month.

For everyone of the Muslim faith, this month is offered to God and fasting (Saum) symbolizes a return to the primordial elements of existence.

In Muslim lands, the beginning of Ramadan is fixed by the observation of the moon (1st quarter) by the local authorities in several observation points on the territory. While waiting for this observation and the rising of the moon, Muslims live the "Night of Doubt".

Because of the Hegira calendar which is lunar, a shift of about ten days (going backwards) is observed compared to our Gregorian calendar (For example: if in 2021 the 1st day of Ramadan was the 12th of April, in 2022 we will expect the beginning of the holy month around the 2nd of April).

During the day of Ramadan (from the dawn prayer - Fajr - to the sunset - Al Maghrib), a Muslim person should not drink, eat, smoke or have sexual intercourse, and the use of bad words should be controlled. To come back to the skin of a poor person to become aware, to purify one's body and mind, to devote oneself to prayer and meditation are the main objectives of this holy month.

The breaking of the fast at sunset is an opportunity to share a meal with family or friends (Iftar, F'tour...). This warm moment is an opportunity to taste dishes specific to this period which will be diversified according to the country or region (Harira in Morocco for example). More generally, the break will start with milk and dates.

At the end of the holy month, the feast of Eid El Fitr will be the occasion to give alms to the poor (Zakat El Fitr) to make sure that everyone can celebrate this event.

Finally, it should be remembered that children before puberty, people for whom fasting is not recommended (chronic diseases, diabetes...) and women during their menstrual period (who will have to make up their fasting days after Ramadan) are not subject to the fasting rules.


What are the potential impacts of this month of Ramadan on the working environment and what are the levers?

5 best practices to know:

  1. The continuous working day is usually introduced during this month, due to the cancellation of the "lunch" break. Thus, the shortened day (e.g. 8:00-3:30/16:00) will allow for meal preparation, sports such as walking, meditation, and Quranic reading.

  2. Reducing the time of continuous work on machine tools is recommended for safety reasons, by increasing the frequency of breaks for example, to prevent possible drops in energy or alertness due to fasting.

  3. Avoid long meetings and prefer short "stand up" meetings because of the reduced energy time during Ramadan. Moreover, it is advisable to organize these small meetings at the usual meal times outside of Ramadan, in order to maintain the individual and collective dynamics.

  4. The search for efficiency will be reinforced in all positions and a management by "small" objectives (Daily/Weekly) is advised during this period.

  5. Classifying, tidying up, putting things in order can also be interesting issues in this period.


Do you work remotely with contacts based in a Muslim country?

  • Be sure to confirm schedules with your contacts as this can impact schedules, anticipate and reconfirm your meetings and appointments.
  • For meetings, brainstorming sessions and other activities requiring energy, try to organize them in the morning or mid-morning.


You work in a Muslim country, what good practices to adopt during this month as a non-Muslim?

  • As all year round, respect the local traditions and customs of your host country
  • Wish your colleagues, contacts and acquaintances :
    • a good Ramadan: Ramadan Karim, Ramadan Mubarak
    • then a good end of Ramadan celebration: Eid Mubarak Said
  • Avoid physical contact with people in a mixed team.
  • Out of respect, it is advisable not to drink, eat or smoke in public even if people are preparing meals (e.g. adults for children) and Muslims who are not fasting have lunch.
  • Increase your vigilance on the road shortly before the breaking of the fast because the risks increase; people are especially in a hurry to get home.
  • Be generous and offer "Ramadan baskets" (flour, dates, chickpeas, oil...) to people in need
  • Take advantage of the continuous day to put things in order, take a step back, ... and take some training!

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