All FIFO families should regularly reassess how they’re coping with the lifestyle – and there’s no better time than when confronted with a change in roster.
Naturally there are exceptions to every rule, but it’s fair to say that any extension in time worked away will have a negative impact on most families.
For FIFO workers, lengthy time apart from family and friends is likely to increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.
These workers are also likely to be much more tired during their time at home, which affects the quality of precious days together and often increases stress levels among partners.
Extended FIFO rosters are also tougher on the partner holding down the home front, dealing day-to-day with things like children and school, work and household routines.
Couples dealing with these kinds of rosters need to be absolutely committed to strong communication. They also need a good sense of humour; they need to trust in one another implicitly; and they need to develop clever ways to show a united front with parenting.
Long and short-term goals are also vital to ensure couples are working for a common cause.
Mining Family Matters has always advocated the need for families to reassess the FIFO lifestyle and its impact on couples and their children. Regardless of the roster, FIFO couples should regularly discuss how all members of the family are coping, any additional support systems that can be introduced, and generally weigh up the pros and cons of working away.
The truth is that some families will easily readjust to longer rosters, while for others it just won’t be feasible. That’s not a failure – it’s the reality of relationships.
Mining Family Matters was the winner of the inaugural Community Interaction award at the 2012 Australian Mining Prospect Awards.