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Dr Zakwan Arab - Flexible Working

Zakwan Arab

Zakwan is a Senior Lecturer in the Civil Engineering department.

Zak has been a member of staff at Nottingham Trent University for three years, and makes arrangements with his line manager during Ramadan to manage his work around fasting and prayer times. During the month of Ramadan Muslims will not eat or drink between dawn and sunset and it is a time for prayer and doing good deeds. The month marks the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad and observing Ramadan is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Ramadan is an essential part of the faith that is at the heart of Zak’s life and profoundly important to him. During Ramadan Zak starts teaching from 10am onwards and the department will not timetable teaching when they know that he has prayer.

The flexibility to do this has a great impact on my happiness and is one of the reasons that I work at Nottingham Trent University. Ramadan is a religious requirement, and not being able to observe it would make working life extremely hard.

Students are the most important aspect of Zak’s work. His department’s flexibility and support during religious periods allows him to give the best for his students. “You should enjoy the time at work. If you are happy then you work better.” says Zak. Zak first approached his manager about flexible working, who was understanding and willing to help. Zak feels that flexibility comes when people know that you will do the job, which creates trust between everyone, which in turn means that your colleagues will be flexible. Openness within the team is crucial.

During Ramadan Zak will start later in the day and then work later or work from home. “The team is positive about my flexible hours, and I am very happy that they are supportive. As long as the job is done then people are happy and willing to be supportive, and it works both ways; because of the support of my colleagues I am also keen to support them when they need help. Making sure that you help the team as well is a key part of ensuring the flexibility works for your department.”

Zak’s manager is also understanding of childcare needs during the school holidays, and works with the team to accommodate people’s needs. “Most times something is achievable between us all, and even if it’s not, then you have seen your colleagues trying to be helpful and supportive. As long as I am doing the job and the students are happy then I will be happy.”