What is Inclusive Scheduling?
Inclusive scheduling is just one way to ensure your organization is nurturing a culture of respect for all religious, spiritual, and secular identities.
In order to make your workplace as inclusive as possible, it is important to schedule meetings, product launches, conferences and other social and business events during times and dates that will not exclude those celebrating religious or cultural holidays from attending.
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Things to Consider
Make it part of the culture:
Find thoughtful and gracious ways to let everyone know about upcoming holidays through reminders in newsletters, meetings, and scheduling calendars.
Don’t wait until people ask:
We may not know which religious observances are important to our team members. Some staff, particularly those who are in a minority or who are new to a team may not be comfortable asking for meetings to be moved or accommodations to be made.
For events which require longer term planning make sure you check the dates in the coming years. Many religious calendars do not align with our Gregorian calendar, meaning dates can shift, sometimes substantially. Before you set dates for future conferences, AGMs or staff retreats, double check the dates.
Don’t forget about travel:
Consider not only the date of the events or meetings you are planning, but also any travel time which might be required. For example, Jewish holy days begin at sundown on the previous day and many Jews will avoid vehicles or technology during this time. Avoid scheduling meetings requiring significant travel in the days before these holidays.
Remember the social aspect:
Inclusive schedule extends past office hours. if you have standing social events, especially ones which involve food or alcohol, consider rescheduling them if they conflict with holy days. Encourage colleagues to think about inclusion even for spontaneous lunches or gatherings during holy days like Ramadan which requires Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset.
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What Holidays should be Recognized?
Most calendar programs like those in Outlook, Teams or Google have functions which allow you to add holidays.
As a starting point, we recommend talking about how the following list might apply to the makeup of your team or staff. There might be other days that will be relevant depending on the location and demographics of your team and the communities you serve.
- Lunar New Year
- Ash Wednesday (Christianity)
- Holi (Hinduism)
- Purim (Judaism)
- Naw Ruz (Muslim, Bahai’i, Secular)
- Palm Sunday (Christianity)
- Vaisakhi (Hindu)
- Passover (Judaism)
- Maundy Thursday (Christianity)
- Good Friday (Christianity)
- Easter Vigil (Christianity)
- Ridvan (Baha’i)
- Easter (Christianity)
- Pascha (Orthodox)
- Ramadan (Islam)
- Eid al Ghadeer (Islam)
- Eid al Adha (Islam)
- Rosh Hashanah (Judaism)
- Yom Kippur (Judaism)
- Day of Aushura (Islam)
- Sukkot (Judaism)
- Simchat Torah/Shmini Atzeret (Judaism)
- Arba’een (Islam)
- All Saints Day (Christianity)
- Diwali (Hindusim)
- Birth of the Bab (Bahai’i)
- Eid al-Mawlid an-Nabawī (Islam)
- Chanukah (Judaism)
- Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Christianity)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe (Christianity)
- Christmas (Christianity)
- Bodhi Day (Buddhism)
(list from McGill University)
For more information about winter holidays download our Guide to Winter Holidays in our resource section which includes a variety of free materials.
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