Science Network Western Australia reported today that a new research project is being undertaken by Edith Cowan University PHD student Philippa Vojnovic to determine why FIFO workers are suffering from a range of illnesses and mental health issues at a higher rate than the average Australian.
Ms Vojnovic will collect data from 250 FIFO workers from areas across WA including Perth, Karratha and Kalgoorlie starting at the end of 2013. It’s great to see another research project will document what we all know is going on in the lives of FIFO workers. It is my hope that with the rigor and relevance of an academic project to measure information that we out here know already to be true – the issue of support for workers and their families will become part of the workforce/industry standards in the future.
Things like – after work privacy, better phone connections, personal growth opportunities after work and building strong relationship training, the use of short meditations at work (see free phone app: Smiling Mind), light healthy food, more family friendly rosters and annual family visits to sites -things like this might boost moral, increase productivity and save millions of dollars and a lot of heart ache in the process.
If only a tiny portion of the said $6 billion dollars that poor well being costs the industry was spent on improving the lives of workers and their families I’m sure it would reap great rewards for productivity, the workers economic and emotional lives and the society as a whole.
We must begin to broaden our understanding of what cost is – and consider that the cost of unhappiness or low well being is far more than $ 6 billion dollars per year. Some costs are not economic but social, family and personal and the negative impact of these costs cannot often be measured in a short time. The cost of human unhappiness and poor well being seeps quietly into individual lives, families, homes and our society as a whole – for generations to come.Time to measure life through a broader range of filters and take the monetary blinkers off.
I have a suggestion today to improve well being for FIFO workers and their families. Let’s bring back the hand written letter. It sounds too simple but it is a powerful and very accessible way of doing something positive and personal right now! I know that when I receive a hand written letter in the mail I am thrilled that someone has taken the time to sit down and write to me. Can we start a little project that does our bit to bring joy, love and old fashioned happiness back into the lives of someone we love? Could we start a small wave of positive well being and write a letter to someone today? On real paper? With our own hand? Sent in the mail? Why not? Let’s start a revolution of well being and write a letter to someone we love.
Let me know how you go.