Productivity in Ramadan Study: Exec Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

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Productivity in Ramadan 2011 Report

This groundbreaking study presents a fact-based assessment of the state of productivity during Ramadan across the world and offers recommendations for improving productivity of individuals, businesses and government institutions.  The study includes 1), a survey that benchmarks actual Ramadan practices and Muslims’ expectations, and 2) an assessment of governmental policy implications on work-hour differences in various Muslim majority countries and their resulting economic impact.

The survey was conducted online between June 28, 2011 and July 10, 2011, prior to Ramadan 2011, and marketed to Muslims in five key Muslim-majority countries (Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE) as well as five countries with sizeable Muslim minorities (USA, UK, India, Canada, and Australia).  A total of 1524 responses were received, representing a 99% confidence level with a +/- 4% margin of error.

Select insights & recommendations for Individuals

  • Key areas of spiritual activities that most Muslims struggle with were highlighted (reading Qur’an regularly 66%, focusing during worship 53%, Taraweeh attendance 47%, others), suggesting a need for Muslims to better prepare for Ramadan.
  • 77% of fasting Muslims would like to keep their work productivity the same.  However, the reality is that they undertake added spiritual activities during Ramadan (attend Taraweeh prayers 52%, others) and physical energy levels are low.  This again supports the need to prepare for Ramadan as well as to reprioritize regular activities in order to accommodate one’s Ramadan needs.

Insights & recommendations for Employers

  • 77% of survey respondents said they try to maintain the same level of work productivity during Ramadan and feel that work should continue uninterrupted.   However, increased spiritual activity is to be expected and should be accommodated, especially for work that requires a severe physical demand.
  • For OIC[1] (Muslim majority countries) based employers, the survey highlights areas in which they can improve efforts to support employees during Ramadan and productivity (e.g. arranging  Iftar gatherings, Eid gatherings, and Eid gift-giving and arranging for special Ramadan working hours, prayer times and facilities.)
  • Although commendable, non-OIC[2] based employees were less happy with their employers’ flexibility during Ramadan compared to OIC based employees (48% vs. 74%).  Area in which Non-OIC based employers can improve their efforts included setting special Ramadan working hours.

Insights & recommendations for OIC member governments

  • Although a detailed analysis of economic impact should be undertaken by each government, the economic impact assessment in this study shows that the economies suffer roughly 4% in monthly GDP per hour of work reduction per day.
  • Some key questions for governments to evaluate:
    • Is a two hour reduction necessary?
    • Is a mix of one hour reduction and one hour adjustment optimal, as generally practiced in Indonesia and Malaysia?
    • Do hour reductions generate the desired increase in spiritual connectivity, or do they have an adverse effect (e.g. laziness, apathy, etc.)?
    • Does a segmented approach need to be considered, i.e., work flexibility, for certain type of physical labor?

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[1] OIC = Organization of Islamic Conference 57 mostly Muslim majority countries

[2] Countries with minority Muslim populations