How is DCMS creating a culture of inclusion for DCMS staff members who practice a faith
Category: testimonial, Faith, Faith & Culture, Flexible Working, Government, Jobs in Government, Staff Testimonial, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, UK Government, ramadan, islamic, islam, month of ramadan, flexibility, ramadan in workplace, DCMS, faith & belief, Faith & Belief Forum, Inclusive and flexible workplace culture
As part of Keeping the Faith month DCMS were keen to highlight the ways in which they ensure staff members from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds feel included and able to practise their faith.
They spoke with Tasnia Chowdhury about her experience, as an individual who practises a faith, at DCMS.
What working arrangements have supported you in practising your faith at DCMS?
The ability to work flexible hours is incredibly helpful because I can take 10 minutes out of my day, whenever I need, to pray. Currently 3 of the 5 daily prayers fall within working hours and so the flexibility to work from home is helpful. When I'm in the office I utilise our multi-faith prayer room, facilities that are often hard to come by in organisations I have previously worked in. Both our London and Manchester HQ’s have prayer facilities.
With the month of Ramadan coming up, my colleagues appreciate that meetings later in the day are preferable. DCMS colleagues have been really considerate of that in the past.
What about DCMS creates a culture of inclusivity that helps people from diverse religious/spiritual backgrounds feel comfortable to come as they are?
It’s certainly not always comfortable to come to work as you are, particularly if there is a lack of diversity. I appreciate the steps DCMS are taking to improve diversity in the department and I have experienced very welcoming colleagues who may not practice a faith themselves, but respect that I do.
My feeling of belonging grew through seeing the various facilities that are available to people of different faiths, and the kind nature of staff at every grade.
I appreciate the awareness that DCMS has been actively promoting on the intranet, the vast breadth of knowledge and information about all different faiths and cultures has been crucial to tackling implicit biases.
We have a Faith and Belief Staff Network at DCMS. What has been your experience as part of the Network?
I am an active member of the network and actually co-hosted a faith and belief network event last year during the month of Ramadan. We had c.115 people on a video call, due to COVID restrictions, and we answered questions colleagues had on Ramadan and Islam in general.
It was a huge success and very encouraging to see non-Muslim staff make the effort to attend and learn more about their colleagues. I left feeling inspired and humbled at the open and honest conversations that took place.
Any advice for prospective candidates applying to DCMS?
Walking out of Westminster tube station can be a surreal experience at the start of your career as the Civil Service still has a lot of improvement to become truly diverse.
However, know that your DCMS colleagues will see you, hear you and support you. There is room for growth, development and so many career opportunities that you'll be supported through no matter what your background is. My favourite thing about the Civil Service generally is the constructive culture - the fact that everyone is eager for you to expand your portfolio, stretch yourself and be bigger and better.
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