National Inclusion Week is an annual event organised by Inclusive Employers, aimed at raising awareness of good practice in Diversity and Inclusion. This year's theme is The Power of Now.
At WuduMate we have been assisting employers for over 15 years, to understand the cultural and religious requirements of their employees, and to design and fit multi-faith areas, that meet the needs and preferences of those people who are likely to use them.
Our booklet Diversity Matters - a Guide To Best Practice Multi-Faith Room Design is freely available on our website, click the image below for an instant download.
This booklet condenses everything that we have learned about the religious needs and preferences of many diverse groups - what they would ideally like to find in a multi-faith area, and also things that they would prefer not to see, which might render the space uncomfortable for them.
If you don't practice a religion yourself, you might find it hard to imagine why a religious person needs to worry about their religion while they are at work. Many people feel that religion has no place in the workplace.
To be honest, many religious folk would agree with this opinion - they certainly do not want to cause any fuss, or to make an issue of their religion, and they really do want to keep it mainly personal. They only ask that they may have some time to pray or contemplate each day - just a few minutes.
This is particularly important for devout Muslims, who should pray (perform salat) five times a day, and it is thus likely that one or more of these prayers will be required to take place during working hours. Muslims are also required to perform ‘wudu’ before salat, a washing ritual which involves washing the face, hands, arms and feet before each prayer.
Most other religions do not have a daily prayer requirement, but some people may still wish to visit a ‘quiet’ space, whether to read a religious publication, or just to find solace for a while as a break from a busy work schedule. Some may have suffered a bereavement, or might want to 'just take five minutes' in the midst of a stressful working day.
In such a way, a multi-faith room is sometimes referred to as a ‘quiet room’, and as such is a useful resource for all members of the workplace community, irrespective of religion.
We have seen lots of testimonials on social media from people expressing their gratitude that their spiritual needs were being met at work. These posts are being liked, shared and commented on by thousands of others.
Taken all together, it would seem that the main benefits to a company of providing a multi-faith area, are an increase in staff morale and productivity, and for the company to get a reputation as a good place to work.
Here are some examples, with links to the full post on social media. Wouldn't it be good if your employees talked openly about your company this way?
"This is the best prayer facility that I've had! Thank you Amazon London!
A dedicated ablution room with towels for drying and a large comfortable prayer room with huge windows. These make me feel like my needs as a Muslim are acknowledged, understood, accepted and cared for.
It's things like this thoughtful set-up that go towards making workplaces inclusive and accessible."Atikah Z
This post received 7,068 likes, 177 comments and 107 shares
"Some of you may know that Muslims wash their hands and feet before praying which is always a pain to do in western countries. So I was amazed to notice these beautiful Ablution seats at one of Microsoft's newly refurbished buildings #inclusivitythroughaction."Humayun R
This post received 96,327 likes and 1,743 shares - comments are turned off
"BT's office has very impressive amenities, but I was pleasantly surprised with the prayer space in particular.
I was able to comfortably remove my hijab and perform ablution to prepare for prayer.
It meant a lot to me to be able to comfortably pray, as I was able to return to my desk re-energised and refocused, which is one of the great benefits of the five daily prayers which Muslims observe and helped me feel so much more motivated.
This for me is a great example of inclusivity, and I hope these facilities become standard in all offices that are looking to attract female Muslim talent."Nuzhah M
"We love to see religious inclusion and that is what I found at Sky today.
They built an ablution room, a wet room where Muslims can comfortably make wudhu, without making a mess in the bathrooms.
I love it when an employer REALLY acknowledges and supports their employees."Mubina K
The provision of a suitable prayer room and amenities, can really improve staff morale, and can make a huge difference in the lives of your employees.
Our booklet Diversity Matters will help you to design and specify a space that will work well for people from all cultures.