Ramadan 2021

This Ramadan, focus is on physical and mental well-being of employees

suneeti@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 8, 2021
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Corporate world is trying to make the holy month as comfortable as possible for fasting faithfuls.

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. While last year, it was observed amid strict stay-at-home guidelines, this year is different. The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, but there is some flexibility in terms of movement, albeit, with safety protocols in place.

The UAE government mandates reduced work hours for the public as well as the private sector, but the corporate world is going a step ahead to make the Holy month as comfortable as possible for those who fast.

The human resource (HR) departments of companies, whether big or small, are looking at agile and hybrid work models to allow employees more flexibility and autonomy in the workplace. There are modules targeting the physical and mental well-being of employees, refresher courses, and upskilling programmes during this month. For a lot of companies, this is the time to review people's practices and attune them to allow a better employee experience and an ideal work-life balance.

At Adecco Middle East, the company has initiated a number of employee health and well-being initiatives. “Among corporate social responsibilities (CSR) initiatives, we encourage Win4Youth program, aimed to promote health and activity living among our employees, clients, and candidates. Each hour of fitness activity is tracked and later converted to a charitable amount donated to The Adecco Group foundation,” said Falhan Perry, HR at Adecco Middle East, a global recruitment and HR Solutions firm.

The company also uses this time to re-skill and promote free e-learning workshops on resilience and stress management.

Adecco Middle East has also introduced a Covid-19 protection application (app), which was launched last year, and chatbots for employees detected Covid-19 positive.

The initiatives help them choose the best way to combat the disease.

At Aster DM Healthcare, the Holy month is a time for austerity and reflection. “Some of the practices have remained standard during this time of the year, which includes some time off for employees who are fasting and reduced work hours for all employees. This year, however, is going to be slightly different given the pandemic. We're preparing to build stronger connections through small gathering Iftars and digital media. This is a month of togetherness and we will build that togetherness,” said Dr. Amit Singh, Head, Corporate HR, Aster DM Healthcare.

The mental well-being of employees is a focus area for a number of companies. “This Ramadan, we've organised various talks and seminars that would focus on the mental health of our employees. Globally, conversations surrounding mental health are seeing a positive shift and recent surveys have shown us that this is an area where employees would like to have more assistance from or more dialogue in the corporate space. We have taken this seriously and 80 per cent of our wellness activities for this year focus on mental health. April also being Child Abuse Prevention Month, we have collaborated with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children who will be conducting a workshop for our employees on Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention,” said Clarise Morris, Manager, Human Resources — Leviton Middle East & Africa.

Ramadan is a time of reflection, as much for individuals as for corporates, companies, and organisations of all kinds. “It's very important to understand an individual's physical and mental needs and be as flexible as possible with deadlines and expectations during this time. Remember, we are all living in unchartered waters as a result of the pandemic. Many have been stretched thin juggling distance learning, working from home, and health challenges. Therefore, be compassionate to your employees and nurture an atmosphere of openness. Furthermore, ensure you have regular check-ins,” said Aakanksha Tangri, Founder of Re:Set, a platform that promotes mental wellbeing. —



Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

Suneeti Ahuja-Kohli has been in Dubai long enough to call it her spiritual home. She loves to travel but plans to settle down in Koi Samui, Thailand eventually to spend her sunset years by the sea. For now, she writes frequently on personal finance, retirement planning, business news and features, health and almost anything assigned by her editor. Her sojourns can be followed on instagram (suneetiahujakohli), news and views on Twitter @suneetiahuja, and for the rest, there’s a Facebook account.

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