14 Nov 2022

Blog: The Work of an Office Manager

Heather McPherson is our Office Manager in the Grampian Conservancy. 

She's right at the heart of our team there and is brilliant at her job. 

Unfortunately for us she's retiring very soon and everyone in the Scottish Forestry family will miss her greatly. Heather has been great to work with so we wish her the very best.

We are now looking for a new Office Manager to take up the reins and before Heather goes we asked her a few questions about her job and what it is like working in Scottish Forestry. 

Heather McPherson 2

Describe your job in 3 words
I would say varied, busy and challenging!

What does your role involve?
My role as an Office Manager for Scottish Forestry really means making sure that the office is running smoothly, at all times. I have a support team of three full timers and three-part timers in the office who complete most of the administration work - effective management of the team is key. I’m also usually coordinating financial budgets, grants and regulations. I also supervise and support on applications as they come through.

What does a typical day look like in your role?
It’s hard to say what a typical day looks like for me because my job is so varied. Our work moves with the seasons so changes through the year. For example, around a year ago I was very focused on dealing with the after effects of storms like Storm Arwen. When trees are felled by storms, landowners have to apply for Permissions to clear the windblown trees away so I manage the applications which come through. There is also budgets to monitor, invoices to pay, goods to order, health and safety to supervise, and checking in with the team.

Grampian Team 2

What’s your favourite part of your job?
I would say the variety; it’s so different every day and I get involved in so many tasks. On top of that, we work really well together as a team. You feel like you’re part of a family. Covid came out of the blue but we stepped up to the challenge of successfully navigating working from home. The speedy introduction of technology like Microsoft Teams meant that we were still able to communicate with each other, which is vital to us as a team and across the organisation.

What inspired you to apply for your role at Scottish Forestry?
This is really cheesy, but my grandfather was in the Forestry Commission, so I’ve always been aware of them and what they do. I also come from a farming background, so some of the knowledge I needed was already there. I was always going to be involved in something to do with the countryside, it’s just in my blood!

What are the best things about working for Scottish Forestry?
I think the best thing about working for Scottish Forestry is that it’s a good, stable job which also offers great opportunities to do whatever you feel passionate about. I can take my professional development in so many different directions.

The other thing which is truly wonderful about working with Scottish Forestry is the location. At the moment, I’m working in a location in the middle of a forest where I can look out the window and see red squirrels; we even had a Pine Martin the other day. You just can't get better that that!

Pine marten 45 1 002

What did you do/work as before Scottish Forestry?
I’ve worked for Scottish Forestry and its predecessor Forestry Commission Scotland since 1985, but previous to that I was an Office Junior for Morrison Construction in Inverness.

What would you want someone to know who’s thinking of applying for a similar role?
This is a stable and enjoyable role. You will learn a lot from different teams across the organisation. We have a comfortable and safe working environment too. It’s also good to note that we offer blended working with a flexible hybrid approach.


Further details about the job
You can access the full job description and details of how to apply through the jobs portal here.

The closing date is 15 November 2022.