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Exploring the feasibility of a shorter working day in the TV industry

Following global desk research, a UK poll and shadowing the filming of two productions, we developed a blueprint for a shorter working day for TV crew. The aim is to address wellbeing concerns, and to improve recruitment and retention by making the sector a more attractive place to work.

By Emma Stewart, Co-Founder

It’s almost a year since Timewise reported on ways to increase flexible working in the film and TV industry. Our conclusion back then was that the biggest challenge for people who work in this sector is not so much a lack of flexibility, as simply its long hours’ culture.

With 10+ hours hard-wired into daily film schedules, the problem is structural. And with management fears of additional costs to change the approach, coupled with the absence of any detailed analysis of how to make this work, the working model is in a stalemate situation.

So this latest project has assessed the viability of a shorter working day of 8 hours. We looked at working models in other countries, polled over 800 UK crew members, and shadowed two productions to explore the likely impact of a shorter day on the filming process and its budget.

The result is a blueprint for an 8 hour filming day, with guidelines on how to implement it successfully and projections for the likely additional costs (which turned out to be considerably lower than feared).
The next step? We now hope that our findings will encourage the commissioning of a future drama production on a shorter day model, and are talking with a number of commissioners and funders to take this forward. If successful, the idea is to share the results of the pilot across the industry to drive top down change for the benefit of all who work in this creative but stressful sector.

Published February 2024

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