My name is Lana Abdallah and I am a Muslim. I work remotely for a diverse company, Bunny Studio My company supports me in my faith. Let me explain how.


Lana during our company retreat in 2019

May 17th marked the first day of Ramadan in 2018. If you are not familiar with it, Ramadan is a holy month where Muslims all over the globe fast from sunrise till sunset. They go without food and water, for around 15 hours, depending on where they reside.

This helps us experience how the poor go without food and water, sometimes even for days. As a result, people will eventually have more gratitude for what they own and how they live. They start to appreciate the little things in life that are mostly taken for granted.

Fasting also cleanses your body from toxins and increases its immunity.

Moreover, according to research conducted by neuroscientist Mark Mattson and peers, decreasing your calorie intake by fasting several days a week is beneficial. This helps your brain counter neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and at the same time improves memory and mood.

Ramadan is a spiritual month where Muslims try to abstain from negativity and bad behavior. They also try to do more good, such as being kinder to one another and feeding the poor. The latter is one of the most valued deeds.

Dates are traditionally eaten first to break the daily Ramadan fast. This is part of Sunnah — what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do in his daily life and whose teachings Muslims are encouraged to follow. [Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst]

Every Ramadan, many cities around the world produce very long iftar tables and feed thousands of people. This year in Dubai, where I reside, the Dubai Police broke a Guinness World Record. They organized the longest iftar table in the world. It stretched 6km and more than 12,830 workers were fed from this initiative.

However, what makes Ramadan special to me is the gathering of family and friends. We all sit around the dining table waiting patiently for the Maghreb prayer to call at sunset. Then happily, we break our fast all at once and share the food.

If you ever dine outside during Ramadan, you can see the beauty of hundreds of people all eating at the same second! Adding to that, beautiful decorations take over the cities.

But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:

Working remotely during Ramadan.

However, how does celebrating Ramadan affect my work?

This was the first Ramadan my colleague Nadeem and I celebrated at the company Bunny Inc. We couldn’t be happier and more comfortable.

Both of us live in the Middle East, I in the UAE and Nadeem in Egypt. Companies in Muslim-majority countries shift their working schedules to a 6-hour shift during Ramadan. As I reside in such a country, I wanted to have a 6-hour shift too. I knew this would help me adjust to the fasting and allows me to spend extra time with family.

I asked my team leader, Juan Manuel, and my team, whether this would be possible. They not only respected my faith, but also were very supportive.

At Bunny Inc., team leaders care about the wellbeing of their team. They give you the flexibility and loyalty you need, in order to smoothly fulfill your work. This is what a healthy employer-employee relationship should always look like.

As long as you are productive, happy, and succeeding in your challenges, the company is happy to support you!

The 6 hour shift was great and much needed during Ramadan. It allowed me to nap after my shift, as fasting during summer in the Gulf is not the easiest. During this month, the night life becomes more active, as most cafes and shops open in the evening and stay open until sunrise. Sleep hours usually get affected and naps during the day are essential. In addition, the extra hours during the day were also spent well, with my husband and son.

We are very proud of our diverse team within Bunny Inc. When asked about how accepting team members where about the diverse team culture, Nadeem replied:

“In most places you go to, people have pre-conceptions about you. Those don’t really happen here [in Bunny Inc.]. People are open to learning and listening.”

However, there are always some challenges to working in a remote, diverse team. One personal challenge is the time zone factor. I live in a time zone that is 9 hours ahead of Bogota, where most team members are located. Sometimes, I need to compromise some family hours in order to accommodate meetings with the team.

Nonetheless, I can say that while we are still figuring it out, we are learning and developing more understanding of one another’s cultures and traditions. We in Bunny Inc., believe that there is always room for improvement. We are constantly changing, growing and improving. Hopefully, more companies will start having more diverse teams, like Bunny Inc. is always working towards. Having a diverse team is not always easy to achieve, but you can always try to do better. Diversity in teams encourages more understanding of one another. It also means more growth.

Please note this blog is a copy of the original published in Medium by Lana Abdallah.