Rotational work and its pros and cons

Posted July 10, 2015 by Blog AdministratorLabour Market Information

To close out the week, we leave you with our fourth fact on Alberta’s oil and gas rotational workforce!

Fact #4: The rotational lifestyle isn’t for everybody.

Workers who have a realistic perspective of the benefits and challenges associated with rotational work are most successful and able to make use of the financial, social and lifestyle impacts of this type of arrangement.

Financial impacts

The oil and gas sector pays above-average wages. Rotational schedules give workers the chance to engage in more highly paid oil and gas industry work, which often includes additional allowances.

However, research shows that workers who engage in rotational work solely for the financial benefits tend to be less satisfied and less likely to stick with a rotational work arrangement for any significant length of time.

Lifestyle impacts

The availability of a support network to assist the rotational worker’s family is a key factor in reducing potential negative effects. For dual income families, choosing rotations rather than relocation means one spouse does not have to interrupt or change his or her work situation to accommodate the other.

The ability to work in one location and live in another provides workers with the opportunity to choose where they wish to call home. This personal decision is based on the types of medical, educational, social and recreational amenities desired by workers and their families.

On the other hand, if the rotational work lifestyle does not meet the needs of workers and their families (for example, due to a birth or death in the family), it’s likely they will leave this type of arrangement.

Social impacts

Another key factor for sustained success in rotational work arrangements is the ability of workers to engage in rotational patterns that meet their needs. This typically means that the length of uninterrupted, quality time at home offsets the drawbacks associated with being away and unavailable for periods of time. While rotational workers may miss important family events, they can enjoy extended periods at home and have the opportunity to spend blocks of quality time with their families.

While interviewing rotational workers, however, it was indicated that two of the key reasons workers leave rotational work arrangements are they could not handle time away from home and family life and were unable to adjust to being restricted to camp during time-off hours, with feelings of social isolation and loneliness.

It’s important to weigh the benefits and challenges before pursuing a career with a rotational work schedule! 

Rotational Work checklist

We’re back with more on Monday – have a great weekend!