An Article by Peter Roles and Gary Mackay, 4xi Global Consulting & Solutions
Waiting for a flight at Santiago airport, observing the wave of fellow travelers going about their business to board flights, mostly business travelers these days, as the usual tourist traffic is nonexistent due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Those that really get my attention are the mining personnel who for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, is easy to pick out from amongst their fellow travelers.
Having spent many years working on remote site projects in Africa, Russia, and the Middle East, I find myself thinking back to those days and how difficult it is being away from those that are dear to you for sometimes months at a time. Yes, money can be good, but life is hard, I remember the importance of what others would consider basics, and how the little things often meant the most whilst away from home.
Across the globe, there are millions of remote site workers rotating in and out of Oil & Gas, Mining, Construction, and Military operations every day.
Whatever we use during our daily routine, be it filling our cars with petrol, turning on the tap for a glass of water, or simply using our cellular phones, a remote site worker somewhere has played a part in providing the raw materials to make it happen.
In Chile alone, there are more than 220,000 Chileans directly working in the mining industry. Almost all these workers rotate in and out of the country’s multitude of mining camps. Most of these camps are in very remote locations and many are at high altitudes.
These are not easy environments to live and work in and for the Chilean mining workers, for any worker for that matter, it’s not easy being separated from family and friends.
However, having spent some time on one of Chile’s biggest and most productive copper mines, Escondida, 'the hidden mine', the facilities and focus on employee welfare on these camps is quite impressive - I wish I could say the same of many of the other camps that I have worked on throughout my career.
“Although many remote site operators try to maintain good standards of care for their employees, there never seems to be a consistent approach from camp service providers.”
So, why are Remote Site Operations different from normal Business and Industry Operations?
We all choose our destinies, and as I glance around the airport lounge, I see the familiar, hardened faces of the remote site crew. In their own zones, dealing with their separation of choice in their own way.
The single, the newly married, the career remote site worker from cooks, to cleaners, to miners, engineers, and the camp bosses – probably earning at least double that of their counterparts choosing an alternative, probably easier life.
The 'regular, work contract usually means getting to see your family at least once in each 24-hour period. Their commute is a different one to these folks who travel long distances to remote places and may not have that luxury for days, weeks, or in some cases months.
For them, it's making the best of it, the more tolerable it can be the better, and for those sites that have the best amenities can also become a draw to attract and retain talented people – it's not just the money but the experience too – these people around me have one common need - to have good a clean safe and consistently well-maintained and managed facility to live and work in, and hopefully even some perks along the way.
“This has a huge impact on employee morale. This is often a deciding factor whether an employee stays or leaves their employer to look for a job elsewhere.”
More than the rest of the work experience elsewhere, remote site workers are seeking basic home comforts that many of us take for granted. Sure, they want to be safe (these are often dangerous places with lots of personal risks), well-compensated, cared for, but they are also seeking specific features of the overall work experience for them to make the sacrifices that they do.
Easy flights and transportation to site
Seamless arrival and checking in
Comfortable and clean accommodation
Good quality, wholesome food
Internet connectivity to the outside world
Streaming (in-room) content
A friendly bar to meet with colleagues
Opportunities to advance education
Comfort service such as laundry
There are many other aspects to remote site and camp management services, but the ones mentioned are all emotive for employees working a long way from home. They must be content with the services they are receiving whilst they are on-site, to make for a better experience, to compel them to return.
It’s no different to the broader world of work: attracting and retaining the best talent, employee engagement, collaboration, connectivity, and driving the overall employee experience make for better and more productive business all around.
The 4xi Global Remote Site Consulting team can help your organization navigate through the complexity and make it easy for clients who want to optimize contractor performance, design statements of work that drive value, look at operational efficiency and make improvements, and ensure that clients are getting the right balance of the value of service and cost.
Whether onshore, or offshore, in Oil & Gas, Mining, Construction, or Military contracts, 4xi can help you no matter where you are.
Lean on our experience and expertise and let us help you gain better accountability from your service providers and build a better, more cost-efficient set of services for your teams, wherever you may be.
Drop us an email at email@example.com and we can help you to assess your service levels and move them up to the next level. For more information on 4xi and our Global Remote Site solutions visit: www.4xiconsulting.com
Consultant, Global Remote Site Consulting
Africa, Middle East, Rest of the World
Consultant, Global Remote Site Consulting
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