Fly-in, fly-out operations: Strategies for managing employee well-being

Fly-in, fly-out operations: Strategies for managing employee well-being Conference Paper

International Mine Management Conference

  • Author(s): Sibbel, A., Sibbel, J., Goh, K.
  • Published: 2006
  • Publisher: The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Abstract: A key issue facing mine managers in remote locations in Australia and overseas is that of managing a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforce. Current Australian research (Sibbel, in prep) indicates that FIFO employees and their families do not differ from the general population in terms of their overall mental health and the well-being of their family relationships. However, they do face unique issues/pressures associated with the lifestyle, the impacts of which are dependent on the policies and practices of the company as well as individual coping and support mechanisms. Successful management of a FIFO site and its employees therefore requires specialist knowledge and skills beyond those of a solely residential operation. The well-being of the FIFO workforce depends on both site and individual employee characteristics, and has implications for productivity and turnover, as well as safety and health. In addition, although FIFO separates individuals and their families in time and space, the interaction between work and home must be acknowledged and taken into account. Drawing on findings from recent Australian and international FIFO research (eg Annear, Poot and Kingston, 2006; Beach, Brereton and Cliff, 2003; Brereton et al, 2006; Gallegos, 2006; Keown, 2005; Parkes, Carnell and Farmer, 2005; Sibbel, 2001, 2004, in prep; Shrimpton and Storey, 1996; Storey, 2001; Watts, 2004) this paper discusses key understandings of both the positive and negative impacts of FIFO employment on employees and their families, and provides practical management strategies as an aid to the development of best practice. Individual impacts including fatigue and loneliness, as well as family issues such as communication, continually changing roles and responsibilities and the impacts of regular parent absence are key areas which can be ameliorated by appropriate management understanding and action. A flexible framework approach is presented that is suitable for a diversity of operations, including principal and contractor workforces of different sized operations.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
Sibbel, A., Sibbel, J., Goh, K., 2006, Fly-in, fly-out operations: Strategies for managing employee well-being, Conference Paper, viewed 11 December 2023,

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again