The UAE loses an estimated $1.4 billion (Dh5.14 billion) in gross domestic product (GDP) due to reduced daily work hours during Ramadan, suggests a new study.
In the Gulf region, only Saudi Arabia loses more in terms of productivity during Ramadan at $2.4 billion (Dh8.81 billion), states the report, Productivity in Ramadan, Strategies for the Modern Muslim Work Environment.
Conducted by Saudi-based firm Productive Muslim in partnership with New York-based Muslim business media firm Dinar Standard, the study found that countries in the region which mandate a six-hour working day during Ramadan witnessed falling productivity.
Overall, the six GCC countries lost a combined $5.8 billion (Dh21.3 billion) in GDP due to reduced work hours. Estimates are based upon the last recorded annual GDP per country.
Mohammad Faris, founder and CEO of Productive Muslim, told Gulf News yesterday that the survey is believed to be the first of its kind and may help workers and businesses find a better balance between personal and professional life during Ramadan.
“I believe the most important lesson learnt is that on an individual level Muslim workers are keen to maintain their productivity throughout Ramadan, however, employers and governments need to play a bigger role in helping the individual Muslim worker maintain productivity,” he said.
“For those countries who average two-hour workday reduction (GCC, Pakistan, Egypt), the total hours lost are approximately 40, which is essentially equivalent to one week of economic productivity. Percentage-wise, this averages to a 7.7 per cent loss in such a country’s monthly GDP value,” the study stated. “This assessment does not consider end of Ramadan Eid holidays.”
The study, based upon 1,524 Muslims surveyed around the globe, said that loss of productivity was not due to a lack of performance by workers who were observing Ramadan.
The survey reported that 77 per cent of Muslim professionals said they make every attempt to maintain the same level of workload during Ramadan as they do during any other time of the year and believe work should continue in a normal fashion.