University of Dundee

Michael Hannan Q&A

Dundee born and bred; Michael Hannan has been the Store Manager of the School since 1 May 2020. He has worked at the University of Dundee for almost 25 years. Before lockdown, Mike was leading the Stores Team from the basement of the research complex. Since March, he has been leading a reduced team, mostly from home.

What’s your typical day now and what was it like beforehand?

My typical day before the pandemic was to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the School of Life Sciences Stores which meant having line management responsibility for staff within Stores, responsibility for store requisitions both internal and external, ensure all outgoing packages were shipped correctly, communicate with internal Life Sciences staff and external suppliers on a daily basis, ensure the loading bay area is managed correctly and ensuring that all other store activities are completed to the best of the stores team’s abilities. 

Now it is working from home four days a week and only having one day of store activity within Life Sciences but still ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the School of Life Sciences Stores. Working from home has been very strange and to be honest not an experience that I’ve enjoyed as I do miss the stores and workshop team. I was promoted to Stores Manager during this pandemic shutdown which has been very surreal as I have not had an opportunity to meet with the team on site with most of them on furlough. We communicate each week virtually, but it isn’t the same as face to face and I do miss our general banter.

Having online courses to complete for my new role has helped a lot and given me a greater knowledge of what is and will be required in the future, especially post Covid.  Home schooling has also been an eye opener and in between shouting at my teenage son to get out of his bed and making sure that he completes his work it has made me realise that the kids have a long and emotional road ahead of them post-Covid.

How does it feel to be able to support the scientists working on Covid-19?

Our store team ensure that our scientists have what they need in terms of products to complete their research and also have access to shipping out their valuable research samples around the globe. We all have a part to play with all the professional services coming together to ensure the day to day running of Life Sciences can carry on as best it can so that our researchers can concentrate on the amazing work that they are doing.

What’s it like to work in the School of Life Sciences?

As most of you know it had already been an emotional year with the passing of our store manager, Donald Gardiner, and I still talk about him or think about him every day and wonder what he would think of what is going on at present. I know he would have been so concerned for his team and would always keep in touch. That is exactly what I’m trying to do and having everyone working together I am actually seeing a better working environment now compared to before the pandemic. We have always had a great community within Life Sciences but at times I have seen division between academics and professional services where I now see teamwork and appreciation for each other’s roles. The future ahead for Life Sciences will have to be about teamwork as we can only do this together.

What activities are you undertaking to de-stress?

My wife and I are walking every day and I must admit I have really enjoyed this time with my family. Netflix is also a saviour!! 

What can’t you wait to get back to once lockdown is lifted?

Salou. Love it there as you can just switch off.

Quick fire questions:

  • Tea or Coffee? Coffee
  • Morning or Afternoon? Morning
  • Animal Crossing or Tiger King?  A good Netflix series would do me.