FIFO workers have a very unique work environment, which can be quite stressful, and when you are working, you are working hard!
That said, it also provides a unique amount of downtime, both after your shift, while in your donga, and at home, when you are reconnecting with friends and family. There is a fantastic opportunity to devote some of this time to explore other interests and activities. Making sure to keep a balance of healthy activity personally and professionally speaking.
The FIFO work environment is a high-pressure environment in which it is crucial to make sure that as an employee you are also taking free time to do things that will not only alleviate stress levels but help maintain a mentally healthy state of mind. No two people are the same, in terms of what interests them, but everyone can benefit from setting goals and implementing some routines and disciplines around how they spend their time.
While although working as a FIFO worker, your disposable income increases, your social life and the time spent with friends and family dwindles. Mental health problems are all too prevalent in the FIFO industry as the schedules are incredibly demanding, not only on the worker but also on their family. It is noted that the swing shift “4/1” meaning 4 weeks of work and 1 week off, is commonly called the “divorce roster”. This makes sense as there is little time to spend on life, responsibilities, family, friends, and hobbies. This not only proves the need for continued campaigns for family-friendly rosters that have become more of a hot topic in the FIFO industry, but the need to be sure that the industry as a whole is providing workers with the time needed to refresh, de-stress and come back to work feeling as if they had the proper and much needed time to decompress and come back to perform their job safely.
This is where goal setting and brainstorming goals and achievements come in to play. It would be wise as a FIFO worker to create a specified time with loved ones, time to spend on hobbies and adding whatever “fun” means to you as a worker in to your life during those days off so that you are better able to come back on those fly in, fly out days mentally prepared for the next shift.
A few great tips to consider as a FIFO worker would be to plan financially and create goals so that bring a reward down the line, an achievement to look towards. Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it is a great pay off financially, especially if you start early. Finding ways to manage stress is one of the most crucial aspects when working in this industry. Although exercise may seem like the last thing a FIFO worker may want to do at the end of a long day, it is also a healthy form of stress relief while also maintaining and keeping a healthy and active lifestyle. Sleep is also a crucial factor when attempting to be at your best while working as a FIFO worker, and although it may not seem like something desirable to do when downtime occurs, but the importance of creating a sleep routine can have a huge impact on the workers health and mental well-being as lack of sleep can cause havoc on the body and sleep cycle. Lastly, managing time with friends and family will help create a routine and provides everyone involved with something to look forward to during the worker’s expected downtime.
Juggling this demanding work life and family life can be a struggle for many FIFO workers as well as their family members. Finding a good company should also include one that not only allows you to plan for your future as a worker and as a family as a whole, but should also offer perks that help the worker maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle during their downtime. If FIFO workers are able to focus on themselves, loved ones, and find a balance between work and home life, everyone including the employer will all mutually benefit in the long run.
25 Jan 2018. “How is Our Team Spending Quality Time with their Families?” Rio Tonto. https://www.riotinto.com/ourcommitment/spotlight-18130_23965.aspx
15 January 2015. “12 Tips for the Perfect Fly-in-Fly-Out Lifestyle”. Rio Tonto. https://www.riotinto.com/ourcommitment/spotlight-18130_23965.aspx