Channel 4’s ad sales team, 4Sales, is introducing an “agile working” policy from January that will allow staff to work from home one day a week.
The apporach has been tested in other parts of Channel 4 since the summer and has now been officially introduced across the broadcaster. 4Sales will be the last part of the business to introduce the policy, which a spokeswoman said was due to the importance of getting the right technical support in place.
According to Channel 4, the scheme was the result of discussions and consultations with staff that had been taking place for some time. Feedback from sales staff was that they wanted to improve their work/life balance.
Channel 4, which employs about 225 people within 4Sales, said it has invested in laptop and mobile technology that can be used by staff when they work out of the office. The scheme is particularly pertinent to Channel 4 given the relocation of jobs from London to Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. While most jobs at 4Sales will remain in London, the traffic division, which co-ordinates the broadcast of ads, is moving to Leeds.
Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer, said: “As businesses across our industry evolve and Channel 4 becomes a multi-site company, we now have the tech and support framework in place to introduce agile working within our sales team to support the different ways in which people need to work.”
Flexible working is a hot topic in advertising at the moment. In September, it emerged that Starcom told employees it would have to reconsider its flexible working policy if office attendance on Fridays did not improve. Campaign’s story on the development was among the most well-read of 2019. In an article the following day, Creature’s Dan Cullen-Shute argued that flexible working was easier in theory than in practice.
Channel 4 announced in October that it was tripling the number of staff selling directly to advertisers as part of a wider shake-up of 4Sales. It wanted to bolster staff numbers in the client-facing part of the main ad sales team from around five to between 15 and 20.
This summer, Channel 4 revelaed that its ad sales revenue in 2018 had fallen below £1bn for the first time in four years. However, the broadcaster pointed out that it had outperformed the overall TV ad market.