Ramadan begins this weekend and Muslims are getting ready to keep a fast from sunrise to sunset for a month.
It got me thinking about how this would affect their life in the office, and that of the people they work with.
If you’ve ever been subject to a ‘nil by mouth’ because you’re due for a blood test or medical procedure, you know howwoozy you can feel. Bearing that in mind, keep an eye out for colleagues who are observing Ramadan. If you think they are flagging a bit, just check on them to see how they’re doing. (But don’t offer them a biscuit and a cup of tea.)
Because Ramadan entails waking up before dawn to eat before the fasting day begins, people’s sleep and rest patterns are disrupted. Some companies allow observant staff to start a shift/working day earlier or later, or to arrange meetings at convenient times, but this is really about good communication between management and staff.
It also depends on the choices of practising Muslims. Ramadan this year coincides with the latter part of the World Cup. Some football stars are Muslims and it’s reported that some have asked permission to continue to eat and drink during the tournament, while others have not.
And finally, here’s an interesting insight into the ‘Ramadan effect’. It cites a survey of 14 Muslim countries, which concluded that stock traders invested more ethically during that month and commodities prices were affected.
Talking of commodities, last year during Ramadan I got a cab to a meeting and there was this weird clunking coming from the boot of the car. The driver said it was a watermelon he’d bought for that evening to share with his family.