The countdown is on for the month of Ramadan. There’s less than two weeks to go until the month starts, so preparation for a month of fasting, praying and building good habits is underway.
Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet, so expect many Gen Z Muslims to fast this April. With Muslims making up 3.5 million of the population in the US, it’s important to make sure that our wants & needs are understood. What better time to do that than at an auspicious occasion close to our hearts?
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the festival of fasting for Muslims across the globe. For 30 consecutive days, Muslims will refrain from eating during daylight hours. Out goes our usual three meal a day routine and in comes a more stoic routine that reduces us to two meals a day – suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (the sunset post-fast meal).
Aside from fasting, Ramadan encourages Muslims to build better habits and break bad ones. Science says it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so Muslims find that it’s the perfect time to pick something up or reconnect with something again.
Ramadan is also an opportunity to do more good with the promised reward being multiplied. With this in mind, Muslims give a lot of money to charity during the month. Globally, up to $1 trillion is spent on Zakat giving annually. Research showed that Muslim charities on average expected to raise 40% of their annual income during Ramadan.
Many Muslims also find that Ramadan is a time for community and family. We inevitably end up eating two meals a day together for 30 days, which doesn’t tend to happen through the year for many people with busy lives and work commitments. We share food with neighbours and spend more time together. This is something Gen Z cherishes as part of the Ramadan festivities.
What can I do during Ramadan?
Now that you understand Ramadan a bit better, here’s some tips that will make it easier to understand if you know, work or manage someone who will be fasting over the next few weeks.
First and foremost, the key to understanding how the month will go is by being empathetic and opening up conversations with your Gen Z Muslim colleagues. Sometimes these conversations can be tricky to approach as many Muslims will be aware that they do not want to be given special treatment, but would like to keep it clear that they are fasting and may not be in the same routine as normal. Taking the lead to start these conversations can go a long way.
The fast while spiritually enlightening can take its toll on bodies that are not used to fasting for hour. Many Muslims are happy to continue their daily routines without needing any adjustments to be made necessarily, however, where employers and managers can make life easier, it is appreciated.
Takeaway: Take the time to think about what your Gen Z employees will need during the month.
Each person’s experience of Ramadan is different. Some may like to work at the exact pace they usually do without any loss of energy or concentration, meanwhile others may need more regular breaks to maintain their flow. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
The pandemic has shown how we can be flexible in working arrangements without loss of productivity. Gen Z as a generation can take flexibility well, being able to make small but helpful changes will make all the difference to your colleagues and employees.
Takeaway: Be adaptable with how you can help adjust for the month.
Being mindful of how your colleagues are getting on as they’re fasting is immensely valued. Just checking in every now and again to make sure that they’re getting on ok whilst fasting can ensure that they’re not struggling and get support where needed.
Gen Z are well-versed with mental health lingo and understanding, so feel free to open that avenue of conversation and empower them to speak up if they are struggling.
Takeaway: Ask how your Gen Z colleagues are getting on through the month.
While this isn’t an exhaustive guide, it’s a good place to start on how to approach the coming month in an open, transparent and considerate way. Ramadan is celebrated as a month of community & understanding – here’s to a blessed month for all of that.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at email@example.com if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Screenshot, to get Gen Z insights straight to your inbox.