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According to the ‘Productivity in Ramadhan 2011: Survey Based Report’, which was compiled last December by DinarStandard, a US-based research firm, shortened workdays in Pakistan reduce the country’s GDP by $1.121 billion. And while 77% of the Survey’s respondents stated that they try to maintain productivity while fasting, many employers and line-managers in Pakistan admit that productivity in Ramazan decreases significantly.

In order to make this Ramazan more productive and agitation-free for you and your employees, follow these guidelines:

1. Schedule a pre-Ramazan practise session. Ask team members to readjust their eating and sleeping patterns a few days before Ramazan begins. Discuss the side effects that team members experience and how they plan to combat them to maintain productivity. Don’t forget to talk about avoiding absenteeism, especially on Mondays.

2. Prioritise the workload. Discuss and list key goals and targets for the month; assign the projects and stick to the agreed schedule. Avoid reviving shelved and forgotten projects during a time when energy levels are at their lowest.

3. Employ technology. Reduce travel and transit time by scheduling meetings on Skype or video chat. Don’t waste energy fretting about people leaving the office
early – just pick up the phone and call them on their mobiles, have a conference call and put them on speakerphone.

4. Allow flexible timings. Recognise the fact that everyone has a different bio-rhythm and use this to your organisation’s benefit by allowing your team to work at their individual peak hours. Allowing flexible timings will produce better results and increase employee satisfaction. Remember, it is not about the number of hours spent at work but about how productive those hours are.

5. Lead by example. Do not lose your temper, criticise unnecessarily or reprimand team members for being lethargic. To avoid miscommunication and mistakes, have critical meetings and discussions in the first half of the day since concentration and energy levels tend to plummet as the day draws to a close.

– Sadya Siddiqui
The writer is a branding and HR consultant; she can be contacted via LinkedIn.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 15, 2012.