Timewise Foundation Logo

How to make flexible working work within the film and television industry

The film and television industry has some of the longest working hours in the UK. Industry leaders acknowledge the culture is unsustainable, but can flexible working help? We report on action research conducted by Timewise and BECTU Vision, commissioned by Screen Scotland.

With a standard working day of 11 hours, and crew increasingly work back to back on productions because of escalating demand for new film and TV shows, the sector is under immense strain. The drain of skilled and experienced people (especially women) in mid-career is endemic, as the long and unpredictable hours are incompatible with raising a family.

Our action research project explored potential opportunities to improve flexible working – the underlying goals being to reduce long hours, enhance health and wellbeing, and enable productions to attract and retain talent.

We identified several tactical ways to introduce flexibility to some roles within the constraints of the current working model. Alongside our report, we have therefore produced a checklist of practical actions for production teams to consider.

However, there is no getting away from it: the biggest challenge is the length of the standard 11-hour day. The majority of crew and producers we spoke to believe that fundamentally tackling this is the way to change the industry, increase retention and minimise burn out.  Piloting a model for a shorter working day is therefore the key recommendation of our research report.

Published March 2023

Other Recent Articles