I love that a big part of my job at Creating Communities is travelling throughout regional and remote Western Australia, to work with local communities and document rich, colourful stories in incredible places.
But sometimes travelling for work takes a toll – being away from home, your own bed, your routine and the food you normally eat can all add up when you’re also working long days. Much of the time when we travel to regional and remote communities, we either stay at FIFO villages or accommodation that is very similar to this.
I don’t need five-star luxury, but I do need a clean room, a comfy bed, and healthy, tasty food options to ensure I can be my most productive self when completing field work. Unfortunately, I’ve had experiences in the past where the accommodation hasn’t provided these basic needs, resulting in increased stress levels, poor sleep and productivity wanes by the last few days of the trip
However, while on a recent work trip to a remote community we stayed in FIFO camp accommodation, and it was one of the best stays I’ve had so far. It made me stop to think why my experience was so positive.
The rooms were clean, the beds comfy, the shower pressure was just right. Each night we had so many options of both healthy and not-as-healthy dishes at the buffet, which was all so fresh and tasty. The recreation room had a coffee machine, which made all the difference when trying to get through the emails that mount up over a long trip.
I think the thing that stood out to me most was that the camp felt friendly, the people were cheery and welcoming and there seemed to be a real community where people chose to spend time together either in the dry mess, the gym or the recreation hall. The positive vibes in this camp were clearly a product of both good facilities and amenities, and the work to cultivate great culture among staff.
We know from experience in working if FIFO research and planning for nearly 15 years that the FIFO village and camp experience can be inconsistent depending on where you work. It is our goal to see all FIFO villages and camps meeting a good standard, so it’s not a lottery when you arrive on site.
This is why we launched FIFO Insider in October, to gain real-time feedback from FIFO workers about their accommodation experiences so that we can create a benchmark of Australian FIFO villages. We want to provide a tool to resources companies and service operators that shows them how they compare across the board, while providing real-time insights into how they can approve their accommodation services.
Not only are we capturing the honest opinions of workers about their experiences, we are using first of its kind generative AI to gain a deeper understanding of the data, which will guide our strategies for improving villages and camps.
By doing this, we can ensure better health and wellbeing for workers and in turn, better productivity and reduced turnover for businesses.