Almost all of the offices where I have worked in Kuwait have had prayer rooms. Several of them have been political: you pray on the floor with the management, you get promoted faster, the guy who is leading the prayer shouts to appear overly devout/zealous when upper management is present.
[On the flip side, if the office doesn’t have a prayer room and the mosque isn’t too far away (which, it usually isn’t because they are all over Kuwait), I’ve seen employees take up to 45 minutes to “pray”. Um hmmmmm.]
So there isn’t really a division of business and religion. Religion is present and makes itself known through broadcast prayer calls at intervals during the day. This is life in an Islamic country. I think perhaps many people of any religion should stop during the day to pray. I’m sure that others in my office do – silently bowing their heads to pray at their desks.
My question is this: if one prays, shouldn’t one be righteous? In other words, if you are going to pray, shouldn’t you act on your religion and be compassionate to those you work with (or who work for you)? This is my new argument at work (because very little of what I say actually gets through and I thought that I might be able to incorporate basic concepts of belief): If there is no division between our business (supposedly ethics) and religion, then why not incorporate it into our management practices? That means doing the right thing. If not, hey – we could probably make 2 or 3 more offices out of the prayer room for operations – or even to rent it out to another company to make extra profit.
I recently told a senior-level manager that I believed what he was doing was going against his religion. The look on his face made me think I was about to get an ear-twisting, but he said, "You know, I went home last night and something bad happened to me with my family and I immediately thought that it might have had something to do with what I am doing at work." I told him that if he had actually had a conscious thought about it, then perhaps it was a message and had been for a reason.