The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is set to begin this week, which means followers will fast from sunrise to sunset every day for the rest of the month. Our guest talks about how those in the workplace can support colleagues during their fasts. We also talk to a guest who makes the case for minimalism, and discuss Hillary Clinton clinching her party’s nomination.
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Journalist Offers Tips For Being A Supportive Co-worker During Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan begins this week for Muslims around the world. Each day is marked with fasting from dawn until after sundown, with adherents abstaining from both food and drink throughout the day.
However, people who are fasting are still required to attend work and school, meaning potentially low-energy days for many Muslim co-workers.
But for those a little less familiar with fasting or who want to be supportive, there are some ways to be sensitive and aware during the month of Ramadan.
Ginella Massa, a Canadian journalist who has covered this topic for various media outlets, said that while fasting might seem daunting, for most Muslims it’s a joyous time.
“It’s something that I actually look forward to and a lot of Muslims look forward to because you get together with family,” Massa said. “It’s a moment for self-reflection. It’s a time to think about those less fortunate. So, there are some benefits.”
She said while people can fast and work at the same time, different jobs, such as construction, can be more physically taxing. In her experience, she said she has found that it isn’t the lack of eating that bothers her during the day, but the inevitable mid-afternoon slump where people normally grab a snack. Which, she said, makes her quiet and more reserved during the afternoon in an attempt to conserve energy.
During Ramadan, Massa said that while it might be awkward to have conversations about religion with colleagues and management, it can have the benefit of making the time easier for all parties.
“On the one hand, fasting is a very personal thing. You may not even realize that somebody is fasting until you get into an awkward situation where you invite them for lunch or maybe there’s cake in the boardroom and the say, ‘Oh no, I’m sorry, I’m fasting’ and that may be the first moment, and you don’t know what to do,” She said. “So, it is a good idea to open up that line of conversation and ask questions, because they also want to perform well in the workplace.”
She said management can try to be mindful of the long days ahead of Muslims observing Ramadan. Bosses, in particular, can work with Muslim employees to find compromises to help make the day less stressful, such as shifting hours or allowing those fasting to work through a lunch break in order to head home early.
However, Massa acknowledges that not all Muslims choose to fast during Ramadan.
“Not everybody fasts, people don’t fast for a number of reasons and there are a number of exemptions for fasting,” She said. “If you’re sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding. All of these things. So, some people may not choose to fast and may give to charity instead. So, also don’t assume that everybody is fasting.”
Massa said above all, co-workers who are a little bit unsure should feel comfortable asking their Muslim colleagues questions about their experiences during Ramadan, instead of simply making assumptions.
“The one thing I always I say is don’t feel like you can’t eat in front of me, don’t feel sorry for me, don’t apologize if you offered me your wife’s homemade brownies and you forgot that I was fasting, it’s OK!” She said, “We’ve chosen to fast and we know that the world will go on without us, we will be OK, we will live. So, enjoy your lunch and don’t feel like you have to hide in the corner if you’re enjoying a snack at your desk. It’s fine!”
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Many Muslims recently began fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, and our guest gives tips on how employers and coworkers can support their fasting colleagues during the Islamic month dedicated to fasting, prayer and reflection.
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The Associated Press reports that Hillary Clinton now has enough delegates to secure her party’s nomination, though Bernie Sanders disputes the announcement and says he’ll fight on. A political analyst weighs in on the Clinton announcement, and where the party goes from here.
- Rob Ferrett Host
- Veronica Rueckert Host
- Haleema Shah Producer
- Veronica Rueckert Producer
- Chris Malina Producer
- Ginella Massa Guest
- Joshua Fields Millburn Guest
- Lilly Goren Guest
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