Dynamic working around the moon

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Did you know that the Muslim lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon on the 29th night of each month? If the moon is not visible, the current month will last for 30 days. This year, Ramadan started on May 27, and lasts until Eid al-Fitr on June 24, 2017.

So, what plans and support have been put in place at work to accommodate those fasting during Ramadan?  Here we find out from Sarah, a Senior Branch Manager, and Taiba, a Personal Banking Insurance Manager at the Birmingham branch, along with Chris, Kelly and Maxine from Head Office, how flexible and dynamic working makes life a lot easier during a period of self-reflection.

How do you plan for Ramadan?

There are four of Sarah’s team who are fasting in Ramadan. She explains how with a bit of planning and forethought it doesn’t affect productivity at all:

There are a few things to consider: - firstly, are there any outstanding Toil (time off in lieu) balances or holiday? As the first few days are the hardest, it may be appropriate for my colleagues to start later as they won’t have eaten and drunk anything since around 3am.

Next, complete any regular assessments/observations before Ramadan starts, and certainly not in the first few days as fasting can affect prolonged concentration.

If you’re thinking of planning a social event, it might be wise choosing a different activity that doesn’t focus on eating or drinking.

The EID festival also needs to be considered as this is a special time to spend with families. Planning for maximum capacity around this time is important.

“ All colleagues, irrespective of their faith, can play a supportive role, working together to enable an inclusive workplace culture. It’s the beauty of a diverse world. ”


Flexible working

Taiba, one of Sarah’s team who is fasting, explains what her day involves, and how flexible working helps support her through Ramadan:

In terms of energy I think the first week can be challenging waking up at 3am to eat, then eating again after 9pm, and praying in between. It takes its toll. After the initial phase, it becomes easier and it is just about making sure you plan your day accordingly and keep occupied.

“ I think the top tip is to make the most of your sleep when you can! ”

Making best use of Dynamic Working, to start your day a little later, and then not have a lunch-break during the day - which is meaningless - means that I can get some sleep. As I’m up at 3am to have breakfast and pray, going back to sleep can be hard.  When you finally do, before you know it, your alarm goes off to alert you to get ready for work. Sarah completely understands the need for flexible working during Ramadan, which is great.

Support across our society, Nationwide

Besides dedicated Faith & Reflection rooms across some of our sites, there are several teams, networks and communication channels in place for people to ask questions about different faiths. There’s our Faith & Belief Network that Chris Chairs:

“ Personally, I’m so pleased to see how we’re able to discuss Ramadan, and how managers and colleagues can support those fasting. ”

Within our central Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Team, Kelly leads on Faith and Belief:

“ Our Employee Network Groups (ENG) offer a rich source of information about specific diversity strands. Hearing from our colleagues about their experiences, helps us to shape best practice at Nationwide. ”

and the Dynamic Working team that Maxine’s part of:

“ We encourage anyone looking for any formal or informal flexibility, to discuss their needs with their manager. Dynamic Working provides more choice about how, where and when you work to achieve your goals. ”

Include us in your views

If you’re using social media to talk about faith and belief in the workplace, don’t forget to like, comment and share this article. Or take a look at our career opportunities. Putting our members at the heart of everything we do is what makes us an inclusive culture. #RamadanMubarak