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This Ramazan will be more gruelling than previous years for people stepping out to work. The relentless July heat, coupled with the frequent electricity breakdowns across the country is going to make managing teams more challenging than ever before.

Here are five practices to put in place to be a more productive manager:

  1. Focus on productivity, not punctuality. Rather than expecting your employees to reach work on time, ask the HR department to allow flexible timings for your team, ensuring that they clock in six hours of work. This way, employees will be able to work during the hours in which they are the most productive.
  2. Use technology. The first week of Ramazan is always the most difficult, since everyone’s bio-rhythms are still adjusting to their new schedules. Therefore, try and avoid meetings if possible during this time, and remember to use apps including Skype and tools such as conference calls, instead of regular meetings whenever possible.
  3. Don’t rush. Fasting can cause low blood sugar levels, which, according to research, affects the decision making process. Therefore, avoid making hasty decisions pertaining to recruitments, terminations, accepting resignations and policy changes; take a few extra days to make such decisions.
  4. Plan well. Break projects into weekly deliverables; by doing so employees will be able to be more efficient and prioritize their work according to their assigned deadlines.
  5. Hold an iftar party. The team that eats together, stays together, and an iftar party is an ideal informal setting where team members replenish their energies simultaneously, bond and discuss official matters.

Ultimately, the need of the hour during Ramazan is flexibility with regard to managing employees. Be accommodating instead of making your team adhere to stringent rules. That way you will have happier and more productive employees.

– Sadya Siddiqui
The writer is a branding consultant and can be reached via LinkedIn.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 22, 2014.