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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Working professionals explain why productivity takes a hit in Ramadan

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Lost productivity

Though Ramadan tends to boost morale at work, the month also tends to be a productivity killer – though many working professionals surveyed recently by Bayt.com said they wish it weren’t.

According to “Ramadan in the MENA Worplace,” Some 87 percent of the nearly 8,000 people surveyed in Qatar and the rest of Gulf, as well as several other Arab countries, said their companies have different working hours in Ramadan.

Bayt.com Ramadan

About 56 percent of people said less work gets done during this month, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • People stay up too late (82 percent said this lowers productivity);
  • More people go on vacation (69 percent of respondents say co-workers do this);
  • Business is slower (according to 75 percent of respondents);
  • People are grumpier (55 percent said employees tend to become short-tempered);
  • Important decisions and vital meetings are postponed until after Ramadan ( says 56 percent); and
  • There are fewer working hours (58 percent said more working hours would improve their performance, and thus boost overall company performance).

This is not to say that people are not willing to get stuff done in Ramadan – more than 80 percent of respondents said bonuses would motivate them to work harder this month.

The survey results don’t mention a lack of food and water as another reason for decreased performance, but did allude to that by recommending that people eat a healthy sahoor (early morning breakfast).

Other recommendations include mapping out a to-do list in the evening, and finishing difficult tasks first thing in the morning.

Thoughts?

26 COMMENTS

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Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

no morning tea/coffee

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago

Hungry, angry, late and tired….

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago

I always get surprized why productivity also gets lower among non-Muslims 🙂 ? In my view, the reason is more subjective rather than objective

guest
guest
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

When I worked in a Ministry, some years ago, kitchens were closed for Ramadan, no drinks food allowed. Same for Muslims and non Muslims, yet working hours for muslims were reduced by two per day, non muslims carry on as usual!
Expected to observe the Fast for longer than Muslims! Intolerable.
Emir Hamad, recognised the essential unfairness of this and applied the same laws to everyone. God Bless him and Shiekha Mozah, who have done more than anyone to move the country forward towards a fair and just society.
D

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago
Reply to  guest

Just out of curiosity, which year was that when non-Muslims had to work usual hours during Ramadan?

Huw Nicholas
Huw Nicholas
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

Every year according to our bosses. Non Muslims are expected to work usual hours because we don’t fast, which on the surfave makes sense, but we cant eat or drink so end up having to push through. I go home in Ramadan with splitting headache and what feels like a hangover every day, desperate to sleep it off. I wouldn’t mind, but I dont ever remember my drive home. #dangerous

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago
Reply to  Huw Nicholas

Hmmm, very strange and disappointing.

I’ve worked for two different government organizations here in Qatar and have never seen (or heard of) any discrimination. Both Muslims and non-Muslims worked equally shorter hours during Ramadan.

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

Not where I work! Non-muslims work normal hours, and a memo directing that came out at the start of Ramadan.

guest
guest
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

Until at least 2005, can’t remember exactly when the Emir decreed that all should not work more than six hours per day. I do remember that non Muslims snuck in water bottles and in one top floor office coffee was brewed when the Muslims left.
Anyone who thinks work was carried out normally during Ramadan is wrong, lavish midnight banquets, a few hours sleep, then up for Suhoor ensured that very few fasting people were at their peak in working hours.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

I’ve experienced 4 Ramadan’s (2 in country, 2 out) in which we were all expected to abide by the rules, but only Muslims worked reduced hours while the rest of us worked normal hours (which makes sense). But your message has me thinking, is there a rule against that? Have I been taken for a fool?? It wouldn’t be the first time…

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

I’m not sure about the rules but it simply doesn’t make any sense to discriminate among employees, unless non-Muslims are paid overtime for working longer (than Muslims) hours during Ramadan (which I’m sure is not the case).

Again, I’ve worked for 2 government organizations and can confidently claim that non-Muslims (just like their Muslim colleagues) spent shorter hours at work during Ramadan.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  theobserver

Hmmmm….interesting… well maybe I’ll just leave at 1:00pm today and see what happens 🙂

theobserver
theobserver
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Good luck 🙂

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  guest

Since when. Non Muslims are expected to work full days and not eat and drink from my experience.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  guest

Er, DN is not a direct line to the Emir you know

guest
guest
6 years ago

I had a Qatari boss who called me in,always, 3 days before Ramadan and asked me “if you require any decisions. ask me now!”

He knew, poor man,m that he would as a chain smoker, socially inclusive person (i.e. late night banquets etc.) be in no condition to think straight during the day!

He was exceptional, so many people do not consider themselves impaired, The results are there to see. Every morning driving to work from Azizia to Dafna I used to count the number of accidents along the way usually two to three each journey.

Qatar must recognise this and prevent bad effects by structuring life accordingly. Great progress with the six hour working day but how applicable for all?

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

who says less working hours…. many companies are screwing their non fasting employes for more than 9 hrs a day without paying anything extra (neither money nor extra leaves)… Mockery of Labor Law at its best… and really even authorities turn a blind eye….

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago

Lol, 80% of respondents feel “special bonuses” would make them more productive. Well yes, if you phrase a question in a survey as: “Would a bonus help you to be more productive?” Who is going to answer “no” to that?

Maybe shift the working day to be from 12pm to 6pm. or 11am to 5pm? That way people have time for the morning prayers at dark o’clock in the morning, go back to sleep for a few hours, wake up, go to work, iftar at 6.30-ish, shop till they drop after evening prayer, and sohur till before morning prayers? I realise it turns the day completely upside down, but that seems to happen anyway, just with the fact that everyone has to work from 8am to 2pm….

I know some of my friends have been called in to work at 9pm for meetings, because that is when their bosses feel most productive and able to make decisions

RoughRock
RoughRock
6 years ago

All the working hours restrictions are only on paper. How many establishment follow 6 working hours during Ramadan and 8 working hours during non-Ramadan days. I am sure 80% of the private firm do not follow this.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  RoughRock

I can point to the Hamad Medical Corporation, a Government entity that doesn’t follow the rules for the non-Muslims.

Speed
Speed
6 years ago

I worked with Qatar Petroleum from 2004 till last year. I remember very clearly that during the Ramadan of 2004 and 2005, we had different timing for Muslim and non Muslim employees which I though was very unfair because just being a Muslim on paper doesn’t necessarily make you a practicing Muslim and there were many who didn’t fast even they were Muslim and yet availed reduced workings hours. Anyway there was this human rights issue raises about this discrimination and they changes the rules in Ramadan 2006 just before the Asian gnaws because they wanted to look good to the rest of the world.. No discrimination and all that stuff.

Speed
Speed
6 years ago

Ok here I go again.. I worked in QP from 2004 till last year. I remember very clearly that Ramadan 2004 and 2005, we had memos from HR saying during the holy month M will work 7 to 12 whereas non M will continue working regular hours 7 to 3.. They changed the rules in Ramadan 2006 just before the Asian games were held in Qatar due to human rights rule enforcement.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

What is the Coke can doing in the picture?

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

I suppose it just spreads from the top down the line all the way to the bottom. When the boss or the leader of the organization himself seems to be on holidays while officially still at his desk how do you expect the rest to perform

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

Non of my non-Muslim friends eat or drink at work during Ramadan- there isn’t anywhere private unless you don’t mind sitting in toilet cubicle. My Muslim colleagues tell me to go ahead and drink, but it isn’t as easy as that when you know everyone else in the office is fasting- I feel it is disrespectful and unsympathetic to have coffee etc. when they can all smell it. I am fortunate in that we all work reduced hours in Ramadan, regardless of faith and I personally find it hard to concentrate by mid-day so am relieved to be finishing mid afternoon. Regarding drop in productivity- it is no different to the UK Christmas to New Year period- companies often close completely for 2 weeks, because the workers are tired, hung-over, stressed with planning the family Christmas with all its shopping etc. and business gets slow, the weather is miserable etc etc. As workers, lets just be thankful for at least a few weeks each year when the pressure eases.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

The lack of coffee is what does it for me yet I’m usually in the office earlier than 8am and long after 2pm to get work done. That’s just me…

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