Some of the colleagues would buy a huge box of dates for the month. And every day at iftar someone would go round to all the desks with a trolley and offer everyone, even those not fasting, some dates and water. Then, as people went up for their breaks, the floor would start to fill with the smell of everyone's home cooked food. And there would be plenty to share too.
It was such an amazing feeling, that I didn’t mind not being home for iftar. Our staff created the best atmosphere and that’s what made it easy. We were all going about our day, doing the same thing, feeling the same tiredness and hunger and then come sunset we all got to break our fast, together.
Now people are slowly coming back into the office and restrictions are a little lighter than they were, I hope this tradition can carry on at Gedding Road. I’m so grateful to have been a part of such a beautiful vibe and with amazing people that I would love for everyone to get to experience that same sense of community. Our staff lead this, they were passionate about being there for their colleagues and it’s one of the reasons why I’m proud to work for Next. Our people really come together.
Working in the daytime is a completely different kind of togetherness. My colleagues in the Online HR & Recruitment team have been amazing. We’ve had open conversations about Ramadhan and I feel confident and comfortable to go into the office whilst fasting. And whilst I don’t have that same community I did at Gedding Road, I get to create a new one here at Phase 5. Last year we were all working from home, so this year will be a hybrid mix, which so far has been working wonders. When I am in the office I get to experience a little bit of what we had at Gedding when I go to offer my Zuhr prayers. I normally tend to bump into old colleagues who also worked with me in the evenings and we exchange our salaams, repeat the same phrase ‘It’s just like being back at Gedding’ and then continue with our day. It’s these small things that are so warming and give me another reason to go about my day with a smile.
Ramadhan for me is a beautiful month, full of peace, tranquillity and reflection. It’s so much more than just fasting but also about discipline, helping others, charity and community.