Alas the month of Ramadan is here! And although many of us are excited and can’t wait to embrace the month whole heartedly, some of us (like myself) are a little anxious. I would also like to add a disclaimer, it does not make you a bad Muslim if you are anxious.
Abstaining from food and water for almost 20 hours is not easy, especially when you are
working. On top of that, there is also the spiritual aspect of Ramadan and the fear of not
being able to make the most out of this beautiful month (watch this space, in sha Allah we can talk about in another blog post!). In this post, I want to focus on my biggest fear during Ramadan and that is working whilst fasting. Sigh.
I work in a big office where I am one of five people that observe Ramadan. My biggest worry is being able to observe my fast whilst also carrying out my daily activities at work which involve a lot of interviews and phone calls. For many years I used the majority of my annual leave during Ramadan. I enjoyed going to the masjid to pray Teraweeh and staying up until Suhoor. But the older I’ve gotten, the more responsibility I have gained and having the luxury of taking the whole month of Ramadan off is no longer a realistic option. For someone who is not used to working whilst fasting, I have decided that this year I will take on the challenge.
I have jotted down some tips on how to make your work life easier whilst fasting. I hope
these will be beneficial in sha Allah:
Think about what arrangements you would like to see in the work place whilst
Assess your daily routine at work and check if it is possible to make certain arrangements in your daily time table that will help you to achieve the maximum capacity at work, whilst also making it easier for yourself. For example, you could consider altering your work hours to ensure that you can leave work at a convenient time, just before your energy levels start to drop rapidly. Also, leaving work at a convenient time will also be a benefit as you will still have some time to go home to either rest, catch up on reading the Qur’an or helping with Iftar. Some of you may have the option to work from home, so see if you are able to it might be worth considering some days of remote working.
Another tip I would like to share is to organise your daily conference calls, meetings or
interviews at a time when you know you will most be alert. For most of us it will be during the morning, hence why I like to arrange face to face interviews with candidates early on. This frees up my afternoon so that I can work on paperwork which consumes less energy. It is also important not forget to take regular breaks throughout the day and to take additional time for prayers which brings me to my second point.
Talk to your boss
Once you have a plan about what kind of structure you would like to see in the work place, it is important to talk to your boss. Of course, it is better to inform them beforehand but remember it is never too late to ask.
An article I once read reminded me that all we are asking for is flexibility for a short amount of time. I asked my manager if it was possible to change my work shift to an earlier time, I also took this opportunity to request some annual leave for Eid and a few days in between. Fortunately for me this is my second Ramadan at this company, so my manager is already aware of what this month entails for Muslims. If you are new to the work place or find that your manager has little knowledge of what Ramadan is, this is the perfect opportunity to give them an insight. Do not be afraid of talking to your manager, they will appreciate your transparency especially if you show them that you want to be effective in your work. The worst they can say is no.
Plan your time outside work effectively
This is probably what I struggle with the most. If you are working 5 days a week then it is
important to plan your time effectively to ensure that you are giving yourself time to rest. For me I need to be up at 6am to get ready for work and with Suhoor starting at around 3am, as someone who can’t function without sleep, I struggle immensely. Lack of sleep really affects my body in a weird way so I plan my time effectively to ensure I get enough rest for the following day. I schedule my time outside work hours in a way that will gives me time to nap, help out for Iftar and to also focus on my Salah. As a result, I had to cut out going to Teraweeh prayers as the late nights were too much for my body. I now pray Teraweeh straight away at home and go to sleep shortly after.
I find that using social media and being on my phone less has helped me stay focused. These factors combined leave me well rested and more alert, which in turn helps me to carry out my role effectively.
I hope these small tips make a beneficial impact in your day to day work life because
struggling at work whilst fasting will impact your overall energy and you want to make the most out of this beautiful month. Please keep us posted if these small tips have helped your working Ramadan schedule. Until then, have a blessed Ramadan.
May Allah SWT make it easy for us all!
By Samirah Majeed