Wild idea works for Scots forest trust

A forestry trust has become the first company in Scotland to win official
work-life balance accreditation, after encouraging staff to bring their dogs to
work, among other things.

The Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT) received the award from the
DTI-recommended Work-life Balance Consultancy after it started a scheme of new
working practices and benefits, including a ‘bring your dog to work’ policy.

A new system, which includes working from home and flexible hours, has led
to a 25 per cent drop in staff turnover in the last six months and an 11 per
cent rise in staff commitment.

Shona MacDonald, HR manager at at the forestry trust, said the company had
been facing considerable recruitment and retention challenges because of its
rural location in Lanarkshire, and the difficulty of competing against
higher-paying private companies.

"We have a lot of skills invested in our staff," MacDonald said.
"If we lose our people, we lose their networks and contacts and our
edge."

She said that making staff more committed and enthusiastic did not demand
big financial outlays and could be achieved through a more creative approach to
staff satisfaction.

Along with the chance to bring dogs into the office, which requires the
agreement of all the owner’s colleagues, the company spent £120 on a futon for
an unused office, after workers asked for a quiet place to get away from the
noise of their desks.

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