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“If it’s not fun, don’t come!” - Why every workplace needs to embrace SACARE’s culture


My Instagram stories usually include pictures of dogs, Friday drinks clinks, unique events, and mid-day gym sessions. These are just some of the things that happen at work… SACARE. I just love it. It got me thinking about our company culture and what we do so right. The Marshall family have implemented the “start-up” vibe from get-go and have not only kept the vibe going almost 25 years later, but they have taken it to another level by investing so much into their employees (and there are now over 500 of us!). Here are just some of the things we do which I think every company needs to embrace.

(A screenshot of the craziness from the @dogs_at_sacare Instagram page)

  1. Embrace a Dog Friendly Office
    If you’re from a corporate company and thinking that dogs are only for creative companies or small businesses, I want you to take a moment to understand the benefits of having dogs in your office (and I’m not talking about just one!). On average we have about 6 dogs running, and chilling about at SACARE. From Chug the Pug, to Syd the Dalmatian (who eats your lunch if you’re not looking), Molly the giant Labradoodle, Dora the Explorer chihuahua, Leroy the Pugaleir, Stan the Man (a Bulldog) and Georgie the Border Collie… (just to name a few). These dogs deliver so much joy to the workplace. It’s as almost as if they have a magic wand and can take away everyone’s stress, just by sitting by your feet or being available for a pat. Syd even says hello to EVERYONE each morning with a huge grin on his face (literally)… I guess he takes after his mother Chloe!

  2. Support Personal and Leadership Growth 
    About three times a year, SACARE takes not only its mangers through leadership training, but employees (including support workers) who they recognise unique leadership qualities in. And let’s face it, we’re all inner leaders, and just need to figure out what type of leader we are. I’ve been lucky enough to go through a 6-week leadership training course with The Change Department.  I found it to be incredibly transformative and what I learned in this course, will stay with me for the rest of my career. You can read more about their leadership training here in this blog. On top of this, SACARE also support its staff to attend workshops and conferences. 

    (A recent after work Gym session- Run at head office, with head office staff and support workers attending)

  3. Keep Your Employees Fit and Healthy
    For the last 4 years, SACARE has had its own in-house personal trainer, Salli Toovey (who is also my mum, and in the feature photo!). She comes in 7 times a working week to run 45-minute mixed gym sessions at our own fully-equipped and spacious gym at our head office warehouse. So, there is no excuse not to get fit! Employees save on gym memberships and are able to break-up their working day with a quick gym session. This increases productivity and mental wellbeing. 

  4. Include Volunteer Day Leave 
    SACARE pays for one day of Annual Leave for full-time employees a year to partake on volunteering in the community. Right now, we’ve got a team of office staff helping with Kick Start For Kids. We make breakfast for school kids who are going to school without brekkie. It’s a great cause and the best way to start your working day knowing that you’re contributing in more ways than one to the community. 

  5. Invest in Tech 
    We know that human beings thrive in life with the assistance of good technology. Which is why our supported independent living accommodation has some of the latest assistive technology for its residents, and the head office staff are able to work from stand-up desks, to high-performance laptops.

  6. (Myself and superstar Alice Waterman at last year's end of year party)

  7. Celebrate Fften! 
    So there is one thing that we could work on… and that’s by eating less cake (I know, our PT would not approve of this). Whenever there is a birthday at head office, we celebrate it with cake and our own version of a jazzy “Happy Birthday”. We have a gong that’s rung every time we’ve been able to solve something big… or when the drinks bar is open on Friday. SACARE regularly contribute to our tickets to big events, such as the most recent Variety SA Gala (this year we had 5 SACARE tables)! But the crème de la crop of our events is our end of year party where we all let our hair down and celebrate the year with staff AND our participants. Last year we had it at Jarmer’s Kitchen, we had two bands, and pretty much ‘all you can drink and eat’. Our founder and board member, Andrew Marshall joked and said “next year we’ll have to have it at Adelaide Oval”… well now that there are over 500 of us plus clients, guess what… we’re having it at the oval!

Check out our upcoming events on our Facebook page here if you’re curious, it includes an Art After Dark event and a 1970s quiz night, both to raise funds for Variety SA.  

To be honest with you, these are just some of the highlights that contribute to SACARE’s culture… “if it’s not fun, don’t come!”. I’m sure I could write dozens of more points! With that all being said… I think it’s pretty clear to say that SACARE has a very progressive approach to employment and a culture that I hope becomes an inspiration for other companies to embrace. 

(The Marketing team Milly, Molly and Mandy getting up to their usual silly Friday antics!)

If you’re curious to see what jobs are available at SACARE, check them out here:




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