Flexible Working at the BBC - you can't keep a good man down

Thursday 20 May 2010, 13:25

Chris Kane Chris Kane

At last week's Leadership meeting Mark Thompson paid tribute to our Deputy Director General Mark Byford for running the BBC's General Election campaign from his front room. What's this all about you may ask? Has the BBC taken its property cost cutting campaign to an extreme?

As a result of an unfortunate accident Mark Byford (pictured below) found himself nursing a badly broken leg for three months and unable to make his daily commute. Not to be constrained by such an inconvenience Mark was determined, as Head of BBC Journalism, to be able to lead the overall co-ordination of the BBC's Election coverage. Armed with his broadband connected laptop, Blackberry, TV and radio, he was able to do this from his Winchester home. In effect he watched and listened to more output than anyone else and was able to lead the overall Election team effectively throughout the campaign chairing daily phone conferences and giving regular feedback.

Mark Byford with a broken leg

From a flexible working point of view this is yet another example of how we need to stand back and reflect on the adage - 'work is something you do, not a place you go to.'

We want the BBC to be the most creative place to work in broadcasting - flexible and dynamic, where people can achieve their best. People often say they feel obligated to work in a BBC building even when they know they could be more creative or productive in a different environment.

To solve the problem of 'presenteeism' we need to strike a different work-life balance that, where possible, gives people the option of working part of the time away from their building base.

The case of Mark Byford proves it can be done.

Chris Kane is Head of Corporate Real Estat for the BBC


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.


    That's good news when it's comes to working at BBC and, its flexibility....


  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Can you go into more detail about:

    The dilemmas you faced, during the critical periods,
    Any difficult decisions where you had to weight up complicated factors,
    What unforseen events threw away any planning strategy,
    What kind of events needed coordinating,
    Any technical problems,
    how planning was different from the last election,
    lessons learnt,
    implications for future homeworking, etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I admire the BBC's approach to flexible working. Recent examples of this include the fact that it has allowed the person responsible for over-spending 100 million pounds on rebuilding Broadcasting House to keep her job. It has also employed a jumped-up advertiser with no broadcasting knowledge or experience to decide the future of the BBC's radio services.

    Of course neither of these examples is in the interests of licence fee payers but it is essential that the BBC is run in the interests of the people who work for it rather than the people who pay for it.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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