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Recovering the Calm - Best practice guide to prayer rooms and quiet space at work Book Cover Recovering the Calm - Best practice guide to prayer rooms and quiet space at work
St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation & Peace, sponsored by Barclays and The Mercer’s Company (and a number of other organisations)
June 2008
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This short but informative guide should be essential reading for HR managers. It provides case studies of the quiet rooms - or prayer rooms - established at the Newham General Hospital, The Guardian News & Media Group, Transport for London, Citi at Canary Wharf, BT and the giant legal firm Norton Rose. In the last mentioned, it is noted that the multi-faith prayer room was established to "offer a space for prayer or quiet time to all their staff, and also for the many clients who visit the office, some of whom are Muslims. The room has integral washing facilities consisting of two low level sinks with a tiled floor and space for two seats. The room was replicated when they moved offices to their new buildings on the South Bank, and is much appreciated by their staff". The employer 'Transport for London' have "created rooms in over 15 different locations across London including offices, underground stations and bus depots...in the past, Faruk Patel, a driver from Woodford Green depot sometimes used to say his prayers in the back of his vehicle. After a room was allocated and repainted, the response from staff was very positive. 'It's good to know they are listening', he said 'it means a lot to us to have this facility'."

A section in the guide entitled 'The business case for prayer space' identifies eight valid reasons 'why it makes good business sense to offer quiet rooms to employees', including: demonstrating in a pro-active way a commitment to equality in diversity; the growing body of empirical research showing that meditation and contemplative forms of prayer have a range of benecial efects on health and well-being; providing a quiet room does not need to be costly for employers and in situations where demand for space is high, dual-purpose rooms are possible.

The guide's preface is by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Hazel Blears MP, where she writes, "It is a privilege to commend this guide to the design, creation and management of prayer rooms and quiet space at work. No matter who we are, I believe we can all benefit from finding a little time to reflect and rise above the daily routine. I hope this guide will inspire many more businesses, large and small, to help people find their own moments of refuge in a busy day."

The guide includes links to two companies that provide design and architectural services: Quiet Room Designs (www.quietrooms.co.uk) and Jon Allen Architect (www.jonallenarchitect.co.uk). The author is Justine Huxley, Interfaith Projects Coordinator at St Ethelburga’s.

The provision of prayer facilities will bring great comfort to Muslims in the workplace. However this is not just good employee relations (that translates to improved productivity) but enlightened policies on the provision of inter-faith prayer areas - pioneered for example at City

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