Grand Designs: Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You

According to the organisers of ‘Improve Your Office Day‘ (which takes place today),  ‘working in a plain, corporate environment can be demoralising at the best of times’. Now, the more cynical among you may well leap to comment that the sentence could read ‘working can be demoralising at the best of times’ but I’m not here to cater for cynicism. I’m here to improve your office.

A lot of companies have been making some good progress in recent years. It’s not unusual for larger organisations to have break out rooms and ping pong tables. A decent start. But what can smaller organisations do? Here are my top tips for office interior design success:

  1. Replace all office chairs with something more comfortable. Leather armchairs are one possible option.
  2. A log fire should be used as a cosier alternative to a radiator.
  3. Many offices will benefit from having some music on in the background. A jukebox can be an effective way to offer this.
  4. Employee wellbeing can be rapidly improved by removing all computers from the premises. Instead, why not give staff the chance to watch BT and Sky Sports on a big screen?
  5. Provide a variety of food (crisps, nuts and pork scratchings usually go down well)  and drinks (a selection of ales, wine and a full range of soft drinks).
  6. ‘Office’ is a dull and uninspiring name for a workplace. Alternatives could include ‘The White Hart’, ‘The Hand and Flowers’ or ‘The Rose and Crown’.

If you follow all of those steps you will have gone a long way to live the values of Improve Your Office Day and you can proceed with reading this week’s news. I cannot promise that productivity will increase, however.


Get yourself connected

If you just can’t get enough of SSE, our comms team have asked me to point out that you can keep in touch with everything we do on social media too. We’re on Twitter (@schsocent), Instagram (, Linkedin ( and Facebook (

Charity Digital have put together a useful list of digital tools to help charities measure their impact, including a free online evaluation tool from the fantastically named Impactasaurus. (If you’re more in person than online we’re running our Measuring Social Impact course in London next month).

Discover the top digital tools to help charities measure their impact here

Be the change

There was certainly no grand ambition for this newsletter when I started it way back in 2013. If anything, it was something to do to fill the time. So it was something of a surprise to see it turn up on a list of ‘5 Purpose-Driven Newsletters That Can Change Your Life (and Business)’. I guess it’s kind of true seeing as this week I’ve provided advice on turning your office into a pub. That’s definitely something of a business shift. The other four on the list look much better than this rubbish.

See the full list here

Flying the coop

Is a co-operative right for you? Not a question I’ve been asked before and one that I certainly wouldn’t be able to provide a sensible answer to. So I should probably get myself to one of the free workshops that Co-operatives UK are running in London (5th November) and Manchester (26th November).

Which you can register for here

Scale tale

It’s official. It’s time to talk about scale. I know, we’ve all been treading around the topic not quite sure if we’re allowed to bring it up bit it’s ok. Go ahead and do so. To mark the occasion, Big Society Capital’s Candice Hampson has produced an epic report exploring ‘why it is imperative for all of us to really back social enterprises and get them to scale, and how to go about doing that.’

You can read it here

Parental advisory…

Students from our Scale+Accelerate programme graduated this week and at their graduation event they shared some tips on leadership for those managing growing organisations. There are some excellent pieces of advice but be warned: the article contains foul language from one of those who participated in the conversation. (That’s piqued your interest, hasn’t it?)

Read the $%£&$*! article here

Balancing act

SSE Fellow Clara Wilcox of The Balance Collective is running a workshop in Birmingham on October 17th looking at ‘how to create a work-life balance that works for you and the power of purpose in your career and business’. The workshop promises that you’ll leave feeling refocused, confident and in control. Sounds good. Readers of HIGSENFY can get £15 off a ticket by using the discount code ‘SSE’.

Find out more

News from the UK’s best city

An exciting opportunity for social enterprises to put forward proposals ‘to open a community space, co-working centre or pop-up shop in Oxford city centre’. It’s a 12 month opportunity to occupy 1-3 George St and it’s an enormous space – 5 floors and a ground floor of over 2,000sq feet. If you’re successful and you need someone to come and sort the interiors, I’m your guy…

Check out more here

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

To sunny Poole, where SSE Fellow Claire Hodgson’s organisation Diverse City is running two different courses for those employed in the performing arts. Both are designed to promote equality and diversity on stage, off stage and in the audience Diversifying the Workforce in the Performing Arts on October 29th and The Inclusive Rehearsal Room on October 30th. I know we’ve got some SSE Fellows operating in the arts space so be sure to take a look.

Find out more 

I’ll have a P please Bob

Management consultants Wren and Greyhound are running charity and social enterprise sustainability workshops in York, Manchester and Birmingham this November. The workshop ‘introduces the paradoxes, principles and practices of sustainable organisations’. Readers of HIGSENFY can claim a discount on a ticket – just pop yourself through at the CVS member discount rate and tell them Dave said it was ok.

Find out more

A couple of jobs for your perusal

We’re looking for a National Programme Manager at SSE London (£37,085 – £40,775) to take the lead in managing and developing a range of programmes for social entrepreneurs. According to the blurb, ‘you will lead on programme planning and management and on outreach and student recruitment. You will work closely with the internal colleagues and external partners to ensure high quality delivery and an excellent experience for everyone involved’. Apply by 15th October.

Sutton Community Fund have a vacancy for a VegBox Logistics Coordinator (£24,765 pro rata) on a maternity cover basis. You’ll be responsible for ensuring the successful weekly distribution of 350+ VegBoxes to customers, so will need to be passionate about logistics and customer service, be highly organised and bring a can-do, proactive attitude to the team. Apply by 20th October.

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