AN INSIDE LOOK: South East Area Manager for the NHS
Whether it's for business or pleasure, in today's modern living environment there is a growing need to fit in a lot more into the working day which in turn means carrying around more of our personal belongings.
We went undercover to find out how 'on-the-go' professionals transport their increasing number of valuables while keeping them safe. This week we caught up with 50 year old Area Manager for the NHS, Shameem Mir.
Tell us about your job?
Basically, it's my responsibility to look after all the pharmacies within my area. I have to make sure that the standards of dispensing practices are met while promoting the growth of Pharmacy service within the NHS. In a nutshell, it's all about developing strong relationships and facilitating communication between retail pharmacy branches and the NHS.
How has your job changed over the years?
I used to just look after a few pharmacies but about 12 years ago my remit grew to looking after pharmacies all over the South East area. That's when I got into cycling. It was such a mission to keep travelling around on trains and public transport in general so I decided to buy a bike and get around London that way. Best thing I did, not only just for work but fitness too.
How much luggage and valuables do you carry?
Before I started cycling it was just your usual things - handbag and laptop. Now I'm cycling I also have to carry around cycling gear as well as clean clothes and toiletries for when I get to work. It's like a military operation. I always loved treating myself to a new handbag but I had to make the swap to a pannier. Not as stylish but much more practical!
Where do you currently store everything?
Fortunately, we have lockers at work which I can store things in. It's not as big as I'd like but it does the trick. For me it's good for mainly just storing my cycling gear. You won't believe how expensive cycling outfits, helmets and bicycle lights are, it all mounts up, so I need to keep them safe. Also, I doubt my colleagues would want me to have my kit by my desk so I store it in a locker.
How important are lockers in your day-to-day?
Really, really important. Funny isn't it, some women like diamonds but the most precious metal in my life is a steel locker. It makes my working life so much easier. I simply can't do my job without my bike so if I didn't have a locker I'd still be relying on public transport which is not that reliable - believe me. Also, I would not be able to visit as many different branches in one day as I now.
What do you keep in your locker?
Mainly all my cycling gear and a large bottle of water. I have my lunch in there too, I don't get a chance to enjoy a lunch break so have to eat-on-the-go. Work shoes, so I can change into them. They're kitten heels, actually, I'm not always in cycling gear you know.
What would make your life easier in terms of personal storage?
I think workplaces have responsibility to their staff to provide better facilities for those of us that do cycle or go to the gym at lunch. I mean as much as I'm grateful I have a locker I could do with a much, much bigger one, just look at the size of my panniers! (I do my food shopping on the way home!)