Fly in fly out – more commonly known as FIFO – workers have a lot on their plates when it comes to juggling their work and home lives. The nature of their work, which tends to comprise of long shifts over a period of 2 to 6 weeks, is so all-consuming that it can cause havoc with maintaining your relationships with your partner and children back at home.
Although it’s a great feeling when you do fly back in for a stretch of time at home, you will necessarily need time to wind down and regain some normalcy which can be quite difficult for your family to adjust to.
If you’re considering undertaking the FIFO lifestyle, take a look at these tips to ensure that you manage to achieve some much-needed balance.
1. Manage expectations
At the outset and before you start as a FIFO worker, it’s worth taking the time to sit your family down and have a frank discussion about what is in store.
Honesty with your partner means everything – don’t promise that you’ll only work a certain number of shifts or only work for a certain period of time and then go back on your word later. Your family left at home will be missing you and looking forward to your return; stability will be wrecked if you cannot keep to pre-agreed timeframes.
Also, it’s a good idea to let your family know just how tired and in need of recuperation you may be on your return home – your time at home is partly to re-energise, as well as to spend time with your family, so make sure that they know this from the outset.
While you will undoubtedly be tired working long shifts, you must remember that your partner at home will essentially be acting as a single parent. Don’t forget that they may be just as tired as you and in need of help upon your return.
If you’re able to, arrange with your partner beforehand some additional help that they can call on whilst you’re away. This could be an assistant, a concierge service or a child minder who can lend their assistance when times get tough.
It’s easy to lost sight and perspective on family when you’re within the confines of the FIFO lifestyle – always remember that they could be having a hard time at home adjusting to your working decisions.
3. Make the effort
When you do get home, remember that you will need to create the time and make the effort to enjoy that quality time with your family. Agree to date night with your partner and arrange to take the kids to the park. They will have been looking forward to your return since you left so it’s imperative that you make the most of your time together.
If your partner is finding the adjustment to the FIFO lifestyle difficult, now is the time to try and rectify their concerns. If necessary, you could even take the time to attend therapy to try and iron out any issues there may be.