Why And How To Ask For A Prayer Room At Work
Being a devout follower of any religion can be difficult when you try to incorporate it within your place of work. Although employers aren’t obligated to give you a space to pray while at work, it is not totally out of the question.
In some cases, discrimination against religion is very prevalent and can be off-putting when you are trying to practice your faith. Businesses can find ways to balance both work and prayer in the same setting no matter the religion to provide employees with a space to exercise their religion without prejudice from their co-workers or management.
There are Federal and provincial codes that mandate that employers must accommodate employee religious practices.
The challenges of working in a non- Muslim environment:
Being Muslim means having to pray 5 daily prayers each day. This can be quite a challenge when you are working in a non-Muslim environment. Other followers of other religions have their own rules and practices and might not require them to do these in their work time.
Having no available private space to say prayer can make you feel stressed out especially if you are a devout member of your faith. It also leaves you feeling uncomfortable as you would have to go to extra lengths to accommodate everyone else by leaving the premises or having to stop during your prayer if someone walks past the spot you chose or needs to get by on the stairs.
Finding a vacant room in your work building could possibly suffice, however, having a talk with your boss beforehand is something you should consider before converting it into your personal prayer room. There are certain criteria that need to meet the basic standards of what a prayer room should be so make sure you aren’t using just any space to get in a quick prayer before running off back to work.
Why you should ask your boss for a prayer room:
Prophet Muhammed has said in his teachings that praying is the first deed that gets accounted for. This teaches Muslims to take prayer seriously and to commit to praying as it is a way to connect to their creator.
Prayer is also linked to success in everything you do- praying about it helps you achieve better results. It gives off a calming effect after praying about something that has caused you anxiety.
It can also be a way to teach other people about your religion and beliefs. Some days at work can be extremely difficult and methods such as counting to 5 or taking a walk, as effective as they might be just might not be enough. Saying a prayer can be therapeutic, it can help you regroup and be ready to focus on any task at hand.
There are also physiological benefits to praying. The Salah (prayer) can be compared to yoga. By praying and bending down while you are praying can help you unwind and detach yourself from the world. This serene environment is advantageous to have within the workplace.
Although it can cut into your working time, and you might only get to squeeze in a quick prayer during your lunch break, there are some things you can do to help ease your boss into allowing you to have some time away from the desk.
Keep your prayers short. Only focus on doing obligatory prayers. While you are standing you can recite the short surahs.
While reciting your surahs, focus on the words you are reciting, this will help you connect to what you are doing and gain a deeper understanding of the surahs if you read the translations.
Being fully present is important as it will boost your energy levels and have you feeling fresh and ready to tackle any other obstacle that may come your way during the rest of the day.
This can also help your company create cultural and religious awareness among staff members and endorse diversity.
How to ask your boss for a prayer room:
It might feel uncomfortable to ask for a prayer room at your workplace, especially if you don’t see anybody else needing one. Don’t be embarrassed to ask, praying is apart of who you are, don’t hide this huge part of yourself while you are at work. It is not against any laws to ask for a prayer room.
Explain why having a prayer room is important to you and how it affects you positively.
People who smoke are allowed to have a break, wanting to take time out to say a prayer should not be as shocking, although to some it might be a weird request given the environment.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when asking your boss for a prayer room:
Be grateful and open to compromise
If you are given a room that’s been vacant but not well kept, you can maintain it and use the open space to your liking.
Remember that Praying is a sign of a good character trait
Showing your boss that you are diligent, committed, and loyal to these practices of your religion, shows that you are a great asset to your job. Those traits will be exhibited in the workplace as well. This reflects well on your behalf, knowing that you can be disciplined to do a task and see it all the way through.
Choose your times carefully
Be clear on when you want to take the time to say your prayers. Are you doing it in your lunch break, or do you want to have a time slot allocated to you when your prayers must be said?
There is the fear of having your employer say no when you ask for a prayer room. If there are other people in the workplace that are also practicing Islam, you can speak to them about a collective request from the boss. You could raise points as to how other people have luxuries and certain privileges within the workplace.
You could find ways to compromise and negotiate a way that works in everyone’s favor.
If you have explored the building you work at chances, are you already found a space that is suitable enough to be converted into a prayer room? Refer to that space when asking your boss about having a prayer. This shows you that you have taken the initiative to make sure that your request is not out of the question and won’t cost the business any money.
Here are some ways you can accommodate people of faith within the workplace:
Have a faith inclusive workplace- Allow people to wear religious clothing to work, such as the Muslim women wearing hajibs, and allowing other religious symbols.
Don’t alienate any faith groups- Allow all faith groups to work within the same environment and have the same opportunities for all of them.
Allow staff to attend congregational prayers- Fridays are important for Muslim men to attend the mosque as in Islamic practice. Fridays are the holiest day of the week.
Provide a prayer/reflection room that anyone can use during working hours
Offer halal and kosher foods at the cafeteria- The dietary requirements of different religions aren’t the same and hosting meals that your staff cannot eat is very insensitive especially during staff functions.
Allow staff to take holidays for their own religious festivals instead of just the normal collective religious holidays like Christmas day.
Create a faith policy that includes all the above. This sets the tone of your workplace and embraces diversity among workers.