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Employees at Midland Lead design their Dream Shift

Here at Midland Lead we are committed to support and develop our people and we actively encourage our staff to ‘Tell It How It Is’. After feedback on our shift patterns, we recently consulted with the operations team to see how we could improve the shifts to offer both production efficiencies and a better work-life balance.

As a family-owned business we understand the importance of our team spending time with family and friends, and unwind. That’s why after the team consultation we decided to introduce a compressed working week by reducing weekend overtime and testing an earlier shift finish.

Lead manufacturing involves a production process with very short lead-times; orders that come in today, are often produced today and with the customers within 2-3 working days. To keep up with the demand and expectations, our production operators were used to working a rotating morning and afternoon shift, starting at 6am and finishing around 10pm – with a possibility of overtime at the weekend during busy times. During Covid, these shifts had the additional benefit of keeping the team safe in smaller groups.


Now that we’re slowly heading back to ‘normality’ and we like to stay true to our value to ‘Look Out For Each Other’, we have invited Production Operators to design their own shift pattern.

A pattern that would give them a better work-life balance, whilst maintaining the high levels of customers’ expectations, safety and quality. The ‘dream shift’, means that our Production Operators work 9- hrs days during the first 4 days of the week in early (6am start) or late (9am start) day shifts, finishing no later than 6.30pm. On Friday all operatives work a short 4-hrs day, finishing either at 10am or 1pm.

If needs be, we’ll schedule our overtime for Friday afternoon. This way, all staff can still enjoy uninterrupted evenings and weekends, free for family and leisure.

Sarah Loates, Director of Derby based Loates HR Consultancy, has worked with Midland Lead since 2016 said; “Midland Lead is a forward-thinking employer, who genuinely listen to their workforce and have great people practices. Employee wellbeing is top of the HR agenda, and engaging the production operatives to suggest their own working patterns is all part of Midland Lead being a great place to work.”

Francoise Derksen HR Manager said; “We are currently trialing the new working arrangements, and we hope that they will be permanently in place for Summer, when the team can spend more time with their family, friends and look after their wellbeing. We have a great team who consistently come with suggestions and solutions and show they want to ‘Be Part of Our Future’, so we are really pleased we can implement their ideas. Not having to work evenings and an early finish on Friday are great benefits for the team.”

Steve Watt, Operations Manager added; “This is a win-win situation for the business and our teams, with crippling rising energy costs we have been able to reduce our cost base, whilst maintaining volumes, quality of product and our delivery service for customers. The compressed working week means the team get some proper down time with their family and friends, with no reduction in their overall income”.

Midland Lead, has been producing lead products at our specialist site in Swadlincote for nearly 40 years, and the change in shift patterns we have introduced recently is one example of the way we listen and build a productive and happy #TeamMidlandLead.

If you would like to join our operations team, please contact Francoise via email or call us on 01283 224 555.