I wear a size 3 shoe. This is very small, just one size separating me from the children’s section. What I fit into these tiny shoes is a whole person with thoughts and dreams. As a newcomer, only a few weeks in, I view Afrihost as the opposite of this. A very large pair of shoes that I am scared will never fit me. Afrihost is a company of almost 200 employees and close to half a million clients. I worry about holding my own, that the Afrihost shoes will slip off my feet..
I have never worked in a company with over 20 employees. I am not outgoing or forward. After reading the job-spec at Afrihost and spending some time on the website, my mind was made up. Everything about this company and their ideals resonated with me. A positive environment in which to grow. I was over the moon when Afrihost saw the potential in me and I was given the job.
Painfully shy girl, meet Afrihost. Small feet in very big shoes. Ironically, I have joined the social media-team. I am also captain of the social-anxiety team.
I sit awake on Sunday before my first day. My outfit is planned, so is my route. Nothing can go wrong. I wear a green dress, black stockings and my Vans, my standard. The question most pressing on my mind, will Afrihost be a place to call home?
Monday morning comes, it’s a blur of new knowledge and unfamiliar faces.I meet people.
The foundation of Afrihost is that it is a family run business, they strive to nurture and grow their employees. As an outsider, this might seem like something that a company would say because it sounds right. From the inside, this is not just something that Afrihost claims, it is something that Afrihost lives.
Everyday, all the employees are provided with breakfast and a cooked lunch, there is no hierarchy at lunch, just like a family, the directors and the employees all sit together and eat the same meals. We eat together and are well fed.
Downstairs is a gym. Not only are our basic needs met but we have the luxury of making sure we are fit and healthy. On the premises we have all the tools to ensure we are feeling our best, so we can give our best.
In every department I am introduced to, no matter how busy, I am greeted with smiles and welcoming faces. No matter what work throws your way, as employees and members of the Afrihost family, we have each others backs.
My second week I head into training. Afrihost spends time and resources to upskill us so that when we are sent back into the company, we are well prepared. At Afrihost we have a hard and fast rule that we do not refer to our clients as customers. This comes from the Latin origin of “Cliens” one that is under the protection of another. I am flooded with information and new tasks but at every avenue, given support when needed. Our group of 21 trainees learn and make mistakes together and this makes the unfamiliar experiences a bit less daunting. We are looked after so that we can look after our clients.
My first impressions were that Afrihost was a force to be be feared, but I am wrong. Afrihost is made up of 300 people, stories, brains and connections, all committed to one cause, maybe Afrihost is not something to be tamed but it’s a force to embrace, a space to grow.
Can 300 strangers feel like an extended family? I realise now that I don’t need to fill the shoes of Afrihost alone, we all fit together.