In Australia, FIFO has become a well-known work pattern for those in the mining and energy sectors. It entails long-distance commuting to and from remote work sites. Due to the geographical isolation of these work sites, workers often live on-site during their shifts before returning home for their time off.
If you are thinking of getting started and joining the FIFO life or are already part of it, we have compiled some tips to help you find balance with your FIFO life.
STICK TO ROUTINE
Although it may be tempting to have a sleep in on your days off, particularly if you're accustomed to waking up early daily (for instance, at 6am), altering your sleep pattern can significantly impact your job performance and sometimes your health. Try not to exceed two hours of deviation from your typical waking time to ensure that your sleeping pattern is not disrupted.
ENJOY THE SOCIAL ASPECT
As a FIFO worker, one of the perks is becoming a part of a community of fellow workers who share similar work schedules. Participate in social activities after work, such as team sports, movie nights or other organised events. Forging new bonds with your colleagues in the time spent together are just a few ways to get involved and helps with a sense of belonging.
LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH
It's not uncommon for FIFO workers to experience weight gain during their time away, which can potentially result in various health issues and impede job performance. While it's important to fuel your body for the demanding work ahead, it's equally essential to be mindful of the quantity and quality of the food you consume. Most sites are well equipped with modern gym facilities, pool and basketball courts. Keeping you healthy and relaxed is a priority for your employer as it should be for yourself too.
Although it may be tempting to skip exercise after a tiring day on the job, maintaining a regular exercise routine is vital for any FIFO worker. Exercise not only strengthens muscles and improves cardiovascular health but also helps to alleviate stress associated with long working hours. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often referred to as "feel-good" hormones, which can leave you feeling more relaxed and content after a workout.
There are various other effective stress management techniques to explore. By discovering what works best for you, you can better manage stress and foster a healthy work-life balance.
By regularly checking in and sharing your experiences, you can maintain a sense of belonging and stay connected to what's happening in the lives of those closest to you. With the help of platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Facetime, phone calls, social media and texts, it's easier than ever to maintain emotional closeness with family and friends, even when we can't be physically present.
SHARE THE LOAD
It's crucial to remember that looking after a family is also a full-time job. While your week off is an opportunity to rest and recharge, it's essential to consider that your partner may also need some downtime.
Establishing a plan that includes downtime for everyone can help manage the return to family life. Many families assign responsibilities gradually, allowing the FIFO partner to rest and recuperate first, before taking on household tasks. Creating a shared plan ensures everyone has the opportunity to rest, leading to a happier and more harmonious family life.
As well as spending time with family, it’s also important to maintain friendships with your mates back home. Catch up for a BBQ, game of pool or anything that makes you feel connected to being home.
Working FIFO can be very rewarding and can set you up for life, for you and your loved ones. Finding a balance between work and personal life is crucial for maintaining job satisfaction. It is important to make time for self-care, hobbies, and staying connected with loved ones while on-site. This can help alleviate stress and isolation, making the overall experience more rewarding. Achieving this balance can help promote a positive outlook on the job and lead to overall life fulfillment.