You are currently using an unsupported web browser. For the best experience using the Talent Manager website please consider upgrading your browser.

Flexible working campaigners are calling on broadcasters and indies to pilot models for eight-hour day shoots after research found that this would increase production costs by just 4%.

The Timewise consultancy, with Bectu Vision, has published a blueprint for an eight-hour working day, drawn from a study of 812 people and the shadowing of two productions, which aims to dispel myths about the financial impact of cutting daily working hours.

Some 41% said their top priority is for a better work-life balance and would consider reduced pay proportionate to the shorter hours worked. Only one in 10 said income was their top priority.

Almost all – 98% - said they were interested in shorter working days, while 71% said that they would still be interested even if it hit their daily rate.

More organised pre-planning would, the report said, help to offset the anticipated longer production cycles, which could be around two weeks on an average production.

Its blueprint, partly inspired by Sweden, where legislation limits the working week to 40 hours, recommends:

  • a continuous working day of eight hours for all staff with a half-hour lunch break
  • pro-rata pay (i.e. a 20% reduction for eight hours compared to the standard 10)
  • scripts locked in two weeks prior to filming
  • first assistant directors coming on board earlier
  • investing in extra preparation time for heads of departments
  • double-banking crew, including having two writers
  • having one single ‘out of hours’ contact to avoid establish an ‘always-on’ culture
  • ensuring 36 continuous non-working hours per week

Recognising the costs and time involved with location shoots, the report recommends that productions involving less than three weeks on location should stick to Pact and Bectu’s existing 10-hour day recommendations.

Citing work/life benefits and the potential for healthier, more resilient crews, Timewise called on broadcasters and additional funders to commission and fund a trial of a shorter day across all departments of a production, and share their experiences with the industry.

The study was funded by BBC drama commissioning, Screen Scotland and the Film and TV Charity.

Need Help?