AICP announces new remote work/life balance guidelines

(Pictured: Yvette Cobarrubias)

We’re not sure if our friends at the AICP will address the newest remote working from home issue, now known as the Jeffrey Toobin incident, but in their defense it did happen after they released their new guidelines. As remote working has increasingly encroached on the concept of the ‘work/life balance,’ the AICP Post Council has now decided to address the issue.

The Council, an advisory group to the AICP National Board, has created a set of common sense guidelines for working remotely and is recommending to AICP members – particularly post production companies – that they be referenced in the notes section of all upcoming bids. 

Designed to help agencies and clients better align their work habits and expectations in ways that are most efficient and effective, the guidelines address the importance of recognizing normal operating hours; the premium costs associated with after-hours work; the value of following an agreed-upon communication process; and respecting the roles of all involved to ensure a smooth experience. The guidelines were shared with hundreds of agency production professionals earlier this month.

Sections of the guidelines specifically address:

– The role of the post producer in helping clients and agencies manage the remote working scenario most effectively and being the gatekeeper for communications between artists, editors and assistants.

– Scheduling and time management recommendations that take into account things such as lunch breaks and child care, the vagaries of internet speeds, how quickly one should expect responses to after-hours emails or texts and the overall importance of observing regular business hours.

– Communications protocols covering cancellations, the importance of ensuring appropriate lead time for video conference calls and best practices for managing supervised sessions on platforms such as Zoom. 

The guidelines include an advisory that can be inserted into the notes section of post production bids. It reads: “Your project is incredibly important to us. We have all adapted to working from home, and with help from our industry leaders, we have determined best practices to help us all communicate more efficiently and execute projects in the most productive manner possible. Please refer to the AICP Post Production Guidelines and Best Practices: Working Remotely. Thank you!”

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Yvette Cobarrubias (pictured above), managing partner / executive producer at Cosmo Street, who serves on the Post Council as well as the AICP National Board, spearheaded the effort, along with the full Post Council, to develop the Remote Working guidelines, said: “Our motivation was to bring back a sense of normalcy in our day to day lives,” she explains.

She adds, “Due to varying lifestyles, we saw many of our clients and internal teams operating around the clock. To save everyone from burnout, we came up with guidelines to unify our WFH experience. We recognised that every single person on the project, from agency to editor to producer to assistant, was grappling with these same issues, and we needed to find a solution.”

Cobarrubias points out that while the guidelines are more specific to the nature of post production work, where artists spend hour upon hour sitting in suites or bays, “this is not just a post issue. It’s a production issue, an agency issue and a client issue, too. 

“These were written with all of us in mind, not just post production,” Cobarrubias continued. “We all need time to stop and eat a sandwich, help our kids, or just not look at a screen. The language is there for companies to include on their bids, and also to spark conversations with clients about the importance of boundaries when working remotely.”  

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The Remote Working Guidelines will be a living document, revised and amended as circumstances and conditions change, she notes: “They’ll evolve as we learn new things about working remotely, set different boundaries and realise we all have similar needs. We hope they will be adopted much like the AICP guidelines for cancellation and postponement.”

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