Insights & recommendations for employers:
- The study provides beneficial insight on how employers can support Muslim employees in honoring their religious requirements. This attention is expected to result in employee goodwill as well as productivity improvements.
- It is clear from survey responses that most Muslims fast, and those who fast do see an increased level of spiritual activity for which the respondents value employer flexibility.
- An important insight from this survey is that most survey respondents (77%) say they try to maintain same level of work productivity during Ramadan and feel that work should continue uninterrupted. Also, although there are no specific religious injunctions on reducing work hours, increased spiritual activity is to be expected and accommodated. Reduced or flexible scheduling is especially important for work that requires severe physical labor.
- For Muslim majority OIC based employers specifically:
- Most OIC based employees (74%) said they were happy with their employers’ flexibility during Ramadan. At the same time, over 25% have higher expectations of their employers.
- The survey highlights areas in which OIC based employers can improve their efforts to support Ramadan and productivity. These include:
- Organizing Iftar and Eid gatherings and gift-giving, and
- Arranging for special Ramadan working hours, prayer times and facilities. (Special hours may not necessarily mean a reduction of hours but an adjustment with consideration to key prayer times and Iftar.)
- Be aware of the activities Muslims are striving for to achieve spiritual excellence (e.g. reading the Qur’an regularly, praying at a mosque, giving extra in charity etc.). Perhaps special programs can be created to facilitate these efforts.
- While a majority (61%) of respondents from OIC countries said their company’s productivity does not suffer during Ramadan, a sizeable 26% said their company’s productivity unnecessarily suffers. This should be a cause for companies to evaluate their practices and policies.
- For Muslim minority non-OIC based employers:
- Contrasted with OIC based employees, non-OIC based employees were less happy with their employers’ flexibility during Ramadan (48% vs. 74%). Although commendable that a good percentage of Non-Muslim majority based companies do accommodate for Muslim needs, the gap does present HR departments within these companies’ opportunities to engage with their Muslim employees to impact not just goodwill but productivity.
- As mentioned earlier, most Muslims during Ramadan expect to be as productive as they would be at any other time. However, the survey results show that they engage in added spiritual activity which reduces physical energy. Any accommodation of this reality is expected to increase goodwill and productivity.
- The survey highlights areas in which non-OIC based employers can improve their efforts to support Ramadan and productivity. These include:
- A big percentage of non-OIC based respondents (49%) expressed desire for employees to set special Ramadan working hours. (Special hours may not necessarily mean reduction of hours but an adjustment—for example, providing an early start and an early end to the workday.) 25% of the respondents stated that their employers provide special working hours.
- 38% also expressed an interest in special prayer time or facility.
- Additional, but less prioritized requests include activities such as organizing Iftar and Eid gatherings.
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- Conducted a survey to determine actual Ramadan practices and expectations of Muslim workers, and
- Looked at Ramadan work-hour differences in various Muslim majority countries and its resulting economic impact, and to suggest areas of Ramadan productivity improvements.