As a FIFO worker, if you’re reading this, you will probably understand all about the frustrations, lack of control over your life, sleep disturbance, stress, feeling lonely or socially isolated and how the demands of FIFO work arrangements interfere with your home and family life.
When compared to other parents, partners of FIFO workers experience higher levels of stress. FIFO workers are often working away from home for four to six weeks at any one time. Studies have also found that FIFO partners are more likely to use harsh discipline when it comes to handling their children.
Often, FIFO partners who are at home with the children while their partners are away are more anxious, stressed, and prone to depressions compared to other parents in the community. They carry the weight of the responsibility, making the decisions, as well as running around behind everyone. This increases the risk of burnout.
However, the strength of the relationship can hold more influence over the function of a family than the work schedule. This can increase the stress and anxiety that a FIFO partner experiences, as when their fly in fly out working partner is home they may not pick up the slack that’s necessary. Certainly, when workers are home for just one week there is less time to spend with the family, adding more pressure to the FIFO partner. While many companies offer support a lot of the workers are hesitant to discuss their struggles.
Of course, every situation faced by FIFO families and is unique and solutions are dependent on their situation and needs. The greatest asset to these families lies in their ability to communicate with each other and open up about the struggles they face.
Do you have a FIFO story you would like to share? How has your family been affected?
If you need to speak to someone about your struggles, contact Beyond Blue