Ramadan 2022: Some UAE firms offer remote work on Fridays, option to leave early

Companies also avoid meetings over lunch and coffee to ensure that fasting colleagues do not feel uncomfortable



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Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 10:21 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 10:28 PM

Some companies in the UAE are offering additional incentives to their employees, such as leaving early, adopting a hybrid work model and working from home on Fridays who are observing fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

According to UAE's recruitment and staffing companies, companies are also considerate not to have meetings over lunch and coffee so that employees who observe Ramadan do not feel uncomfortable.

In addition, some firms also make arrangements for the employees to offer Friday prayer within the building premises.

Mayank Patel, country head, Adecco Middle East, said many companies opt for flexible or partial work from home arrangements for fasting employees during Ramadan.

He said some firms also accommodate fasting colleagues to leave early with reduced work hours as they do not take a lunch break.

Mayank Patel, country head, Adecco Middle East. Photo: Supplied
Mayank Patel, country head, Adecco Middle East. Photo: Supplied

"For roles that require a lot of energy or high level of concentration which is difficult during fasting, some firms organise hybrid work modules. Many firms are also initiating mindfulness and well-being programmes to support employee health during fasting. With the new working week, many firms are now making arrangements for an early leave on Fridays for fasting colleagues," Patel said.

Starting January 1, 2022, the UAE moved to a four-and-a-half-day working week. Friday half-day, Saturday and Sunday formed the new weekend in the country, aligning it with the global financial markets work week.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. In the UAE, Ramadan began on April 2 and will likely end on May 1. As a result, residents in the UAE are likely to enjoy a five-day break during Eid Al Fitr.

Adecco's country head stressed that hybrid work modules are picking up pace in the new normal in the UAE.

Patel pointed out that some firms have already adopted flexible and remote work trends, but the rest require employees' prior approval from line managers for such arrangements or an early leave during Ramadan.

No coffee, lunch during meetings

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for the Middle East at Robert Half. Photo: Supplied
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for the Middle East at Robert Half. Photo: Supplied

Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for the Middle East at Robert Half, said companies are careful not to arrange meetings over lunch and coffee to ensure that fasting colleagues do not feel uncomfortable.

With the new working week, he added companies no longer need to reduce timings on Fridays.

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"Many companies are operating a 4.5-day week, ending at 1 pm on Friday, which affords workers all the flexibility they need during this period without adjustment.

"Within businesses with a full work-week, many employees follow WFH (work from home). On Fridays, as standard and religious requirements are already accepted and built-in to the day-to-day schedule, employees can easily take the time they need for Ramadan," said El Mettouri.

To support Muslim employees, Mayank Patel noted that some firms do have prayer room arrangements within the office for their employees to save travelling time and add convenience to fasting employees. “In other cases, where there are no such work arrangements, we often find facilities such as communal prayer rooms in office buildings.”

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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