The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is once again upon us and we’d like to wish all our Muslim readers Ramadan Mubarak. For this month’s blog, we take a look at how best to utilise your time during Ramadan – both for those who are observing the month of fasting or “puasa” and for those who aren’t - and also give some tips for working with Muslim colleagues who are fasting.
Work and Job searching for those fasting.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of self-reflection and appreciation of others and community. Meals only take place before sunrise (suhur) and after sunset (iftar), with late evenings usually spent with families and in prayer. Naturally, we are now in the time of Covid19, so there are some restrictions this year on what we can do in terms of meeting relations – so for many this year’s Ramadan is somewhat simplified. Here are the top-5 tips for those observing the fast:
You may not be going to the gym to do an hour-long workout during Ramadan, but a brisk walk after suhur will provide much needed exercise and will aid in focus for the day. Another later in the day (if possible) can act a quick refresher as well, if you can fit it in, while ensuring you take regular breaks away from the desk to stretch and do some low intensity exercises can keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
That crucial morning peak
During Ramadan, the peak activity time is during the morning after suhur and (ideally) after that brief period of exercise mentioned above. This is the time at which you are most alert – so schedule the important Zoom calls and online meetings for this period.
If you are job hunting, this is also the time to be dedicating yourself to the search, writing applications, updating the CV and making calls. It is likely that any job interviews that take place will be during this period of the day also.
Be realistic about what you can achieve. While many are Muslims are fasting, they are generally expected to carry on with day-to-day work activities. If you are currently working, you may find that you need to reduce your effort on the job search during the holy month, as it’s unlikely you’ll have capacity for both work and job hunting in the same day. Bear in mind that for those working from home, managing concentration levels may be even more challenging this year without the sounds and atmosphere of the office surrounding them. The flip side of this is that reduced travel can help with energy levels.
Networking at meal times
Inviting colleagues and friends to a Ramadan Buffet, a social berbuka puasa, or a family Iftar meal is not only a way of giving thanks friendship, but it can also be an opportunity to meet new contacts and network, Covid19 permitting. In fact, many a business deal has been agreed at these meetings, where people are generally more relaxed and able to speak less formally – and for those job searching, this can be a great time to find out whether contacts know of any opportunities opening up together. Of course, these meetings might be restricted in your location due to Covid – hence why virtual Ifars have taken off online. There’s a lot of opportunity here to invite colleagues or contacts to a virtual berbuka puasa!
Evening workday planning
Evenings (between iftar and Taraweeh prayers) are the time to plan out your activities for the next day.Do take into account the reduced activities within client teams and business partners or suppliers, as well as colleagues who may be working in other countries and not observing Ramadan.Make a list of priority tasks, so you know where to be flexible and where to ensure that key activities are completed.
If you are job-hunting, you can use the time to plan out any applications and calls you need to make, and how best use the time to benefit your search. And if you are feeling alert at this time, why not squeeze in some research or interview practice? If you have an interview coming up – now is an opportunity to prepare.
Cut out unnecessary activities
This may seem obvious – but really, cutting down on time-wasteful activities to focus on those that will benefit you can make a huge difference in your productivity and performance over the fasting month. Refrain from sitting down after Iftar to watch TV – use that time wisely instead. Don’t spend ages in the morning scrolling through social media – use that time to perform the essential tasks.
Works and Job searching for those not fasting.
For those not fasting during this period, Ramadan is mostly about managing expectations to account for those who are fasting, and giving due consideration as to how best to work with them.
Think about meeting times
Suggest, and expect, meetings to be scheduled for the morning, including interviews. But also expect to be flexible. Some people have their preferred ‘main activity’ time during Ramadan.
Be mindful that some struggle with the fast more than others and make allowances for that. While everyone is still at work, be aware that some transactions may take longer to process and some activities may progress more slowly due to their nature. All times make an effort to keep things simple.
Avoid making people travel
Afterall, we are all supposed to be reducing travel during Covid anyway, but this is especially true at Ramadan. Take the opportunity to leverage the remote working we’ve all become used to over the last year.
Join the evening socialising.
As we’ve already mentioned, iftar is a great time to meet people, enjoy the company of friends and network.This is true for everyone – Muslims and non-Muslims alike, even if this is mostly online – we all need that casual interaction after the lockdowns. If you do meet in person, remember to closely observe social distancing and SOP requirements.