REVEALED: Top four issues for FIFO workers
FLY in fly out workers face many hurdles when it comes to working away.
However there are four top issues which were raised by mining workers across the country.
From missing family events to workplace mental health, there were many issues which FIFO miners struggled with.
However the Mining Family Matters team is offering professional tips and practical advice for dealing with these four common challenges.
Mining Family Matters co-founder Alicia Ranford has chatted with thousands of miners since first attending AIMEX in 2011, and believes the most important message for workers is that they're not alone in finding the lifestyle tough sometimes.
Expert advice on key issues raised by mining workers doing FIFO or DIDO shifts - as outlined in MiningFM's Survival Guide for Mining Families - includes:
Missing big family events: Remember there's no law that says major birthdays, anniversaries or even your family Christmas need to be celebrated on any given day (or can't be celebrated twice). If you feel sad or anxious, get it off your chest by talking to a trusted friend or family member so your children don't "wear" your unhappiness. On big days that you're apart, be kind to yourselves and each other.
Staying connected to the kids: Young children can be very literal, so replace phrases like "going away" with "going to work". On the phone, replace uninspiring questions (How was your day?) with open, informed queries (How'd you go in the spelling test? or What made you laugh today?). Be present when you're home - drive your children to school and to sport. Stay in touch with teenagers through text messages and social media. Don't use working away as an excuse to be disconnected.
Workplace mental health: Set strong goals that will keep you focussed in challenging times. Stay healthy with smart food choices and decent sleep. Encourage a similar focus on mental health as physical health in the workplace. Remember that depression and anxiety are common and can be treated, while skills can also be learnt to manage stress. Take advantage of confidential Employee Assistance Programs.
Keeping the home fires burning: Remember that life is not a competition - you're both exhausted! Regularly reassess how you're coping and be proactive with support systems like a gardener, cleaner or grandparents to babysit to give you both a break. Be open and honest. Discuss issues as a team (replace How are YOU going to fix this? with What can WE do?)