Fortescue’s flexibility allows work/life balance

Nov 29, 2018


When Mining Operator at Christmas Creek, Stephen Froome, learned of wife Nola’s diagnosis of breast cancer, he wanted to do as much as he could to be there to support her through her treatment and recovery.

With the months ahead soon to be filled with doctor and hospital appointments, he knew he would have to adapt his work/life balance in order to make it possible.

Together, Stephen and Nola made the decision for Stephen to adjust his work roster so he would have more time at home and be able to regularly accompany Nola to her appointments.

Stephen discovered there were others within his team with circumstances which also required them to spend more time at home and, with the support of the Superintendent and HR team, he was able to take advantage of Fortescue’s flexible work arrangements and establish a three-way job share arrangement.

Stephen said having the option to adapt his work roster to suit his personal circumstances took the pressure off.

“With all the doctor appointments, sometimes every week, I am thankful Nola doesn’t always have to go on her own,” Stephen said.

“She can’t do as much as she used to so me being at home more really takes the burden off.”

Fortescue recently updated its Flexible Working Arrangements guidelines as part of its commitment to retaining and attracting highly talented people, introducing a wider range of options including job share, staggered start and finish times, part time work, school holiday hours, change in work location and occasional working from home.

There are no restrictions on eligibility; all employees can request a flexible working arrangement regardless of length of service.

GM Fortescue People, Linda O’Farrell said flexible working is proven to offer many benefits including assisting in retention, reducing absenteeism and turnover, increasing employee morale and attracting the best people.

“Offering flexible work arrangements empowers us all to work in a way that suits us, our team and our business,” Linda said.

“The mining industry is growing and we are keen to ensure we retain our best, as well as attract the best in the industry.

In some cases, flexible working allows us to extend our hours of business, for example with staggered start and finish times.”

Flexible work arrangements are not new at Fortescue but the updated guidelines provide more options for more people, particularly for new employees who can request individual work arrangements from day one.

The process has also been made easier with employees simply having to request a change to their work hours directly with their manager.

“All our employees need to do is have a conversation with their manager about what might work for them and their team,” Linda said.