Fly In - Fly Out (FIFO)

FIFO is a terminology used when employing people in remote areas, where the person would be flown in and out, as and when required for the job. FIFO is very common in mining, because mines are often found in remote locations, hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town.

Generally FIFO jobs will involve working long shifts, for a specific number of days, whilst on site, and all the time off will then be spent at home rather than at the work site. FIFO can work well, and many employees prefer this option, than having to relocate their entire family, where remote areas can be extremely limiting in terms of educational choices for children, job opportunities for other family members, and limited social activities.

What are the PROs and CONs?

Pros of FIFO
  • On the upside of it, all your living costs are basically taken care of whilst on site, as you would be provided with accommodation and meals
  • Because as a general rule, you will spend as much time at home as at work, this gives you the opportunity to pursue other interests
  • Generally if you are working FIFO you will be given an additional allowance, as compensation for having to spend time away from home, and you can expect to earn a very competitive salary
Cons of FIFO
  • On the downside, FIFO can put stress on family relationships, as being away from your family can be difficult for everybody involved
  • Because there are generally long shifts involved, working long hours, for extended periods, it can be very tiring, and there is the risk that you will "burn yourself out"
  • The areas where mines are located, are generally not very glamorous, and you can be exposed to extreme temperatures, and harsh terrain
  • FIFO workers can feel socially isolated, and after a year or two may decide that the money isn't worth the sacrifices they have to make in their personal lives

The bottom line is that employers have a very important role to play when dealing with the dynamics of FIFO. It is vital that employers take into account the impact that FIFO has on the families involved, that they look at what sort of hours and rosters will be implemented, how it's going to impact on the family unit, and that they are able to try to introduce some sort of balance into their employee's lives. ance into their employee's lives.