Achieving Wellness in the Workplace from an Intern’s Perspective


For any employee starting at a new company, worry about the type of environment they will enter into, and the culture of the company is a natural concern. As a new employee, only being at Relocation Africa for a month thus far, I was pleasantly taken aback at the measures put into place to maintain a healthy work environment.

In the boardroom was an illustration of a blue summer’s sky, covering the entire length of the wall. While on the floor was astroturf grass that immediately made me want to take off my shoes and sit crossed legs while sipping on a juice. I immediately felt calm walking in, and any remnants of nerves completely vanished when I was greeted by all the kind faces. I was invited to help build a two-thousand-piece puzzle that lay sprawled out on the boardroom table, and advised that if ever I felt I needed a break, I could escape into the boardroom to continue building the puzzle. I was swarmed by the invitations that came stringing in; a standing desk I could use if my back ever hurt from sitting at my desk for too long, a garden that I could go and pick herbs or lettuce from whenever I felt like it, a radio that I could adjust and listen to the music I liked, and the thing I loved the most; bottomless coffee at any time of the day!

Needless to say, it didn’t take me very long to become comfortable in such a welcoming environment. When important matters were discussed, I was asked for my opinion, and when I stated it, I was listened to. As a newcomer, I felt heard and seen. I felt like my opinions mattered. I felt like I was valued, and adding value to a great cause.

During my induction, our Human Resource Generalist made it a point to emphasise exactly what her job entails, that the resources at the company are human beings. Human resources are not machines, or tools, or inanimate objects. Employees are people, with lives, problems, priorities, worries, and trauma.

In that moment it all made sense to me. A great company cannot exist without great employees turning its wheels. And in order to have great employees, you not only need to encourage them to BE great, but also remind them that they ARE great.

From the moment I walked into the doors of Relocation Africa to start my first day of work, having just graduated and fresh out of university, I’ve learnt something new every day. And the learning hasn’t stopped since. Even at the end of the days that I feel exhausted after all the work that I had done, I leave the company’s premises looking forward to returning the next morning.

After working here for a month I’ve had the privilege of participating in most of the company’s regular team building activities. I was introduced to a tradition called ‘’Wacky Wednesday,’’ and initially hoped that the Steers we’d get our burgers from would be Halaal…

However, that’s not what Wacky Wednesdays at Relocation Africa is about. Although, this tradition was not at all disappointing when I participated in what Joy Jackson, our HR Generalist, had put together to ensure that everyone in the office takes a break from their work to lift their spirits. Wacky Wednesdays are an opportunity to be fun, crazy, weird, and even insightful and informative. It’s an opportunity for overwhelmed employees to get away from their laptops and share a laugh with the rest of the team.

Similar to Wacky Wednesdays, the company also hosts a monthly Wellness workshop, which typically lasts for an hour and a half. During this time, employees connect, engage, encourage, and educate one another. At my first Wellness Workshop on Wednesday the 26th of April, I witnessed first-hand what can only be described as the reason for Relocation Africa’s 30 years of success.

We hear and read so much about positive working environments, how to create one, how to maintain one, how it increases productivity and all of its other benefits. Yet, I’ve hardly ever come across an employee who hasn’t complained about their job, about how they’re underpaid, about how they’re being exploited, or about the toxic traits of others in the workplace. At this point, I was certain that a positive working environment was an absolute myth. I was unsure that any company actually stuck to their ethics and values. But what I participated in on Wednesday was the personification of a positive working environment.

During the Wellness Workshop I could physically see the moods and attitudes of my colleagues lighting up.

We were asked to describe how we were feeling at the start of the workshop, and then again right at the very end of the workshop, in just one word. I said that I felt fooled at the start because I was confused as to why everyone was throwing an egg around. Apparently, having the egg meant that it’s your turn to talk. I found myself praying that I don’t embarrass myself in the presence of my new colleagues by dropping the egg and making a huge mess, only to discover that the egg was actually made of rubber. In the beginning I felt fooled, and at the end I felt satisfied with all that I had learnt.

One of my colleagues commented; ‘’I came in feeling frustrated and left feeling like my cup had been filled.’’ I personally could relate to the last part, and I am certain the rest of my colleagues can too. I entered the wellness workshop oblivious to how much fun I would have in the minutes that followed. Like everyone else, I grabbed a seat, feeling uneasy about where to sit and what to expect. It’s a strange feeling when your HR Generalist pulls you away from your work to come and have fun.

Despite the reluctancy to start, everyone gradually eased into the activity, being drawn in by the fact that what is being discussed resonates within them. This month’s topic was boundaries, something that everyone has experienced before. The conversation entailed knowing and establishing your own boundaries in order to know when your boundaries have been crossed, what the emotions are that we feel when someone crosses our boundaries, and why we may be more comfortable when we are the ones crossing another individual’s boundaries.

Everyone is guaranteed to learn something at the Wellness Workshops, whether it’s about life, their colleagues or themselves. There is an involuntary introspection that occurs, as its only natural to apply what you have learnt to your own life. This reflection and introspection are exactly the thought processes that Joy encourages.

Joy’s motivation for initiating the Wellness Workshops came out of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. After everyone gradually started returning to the office, trying desperately to get back into the rhythm of a somewhat normal routine after enduring the trauma that the pandemic imposed, Joy noticed that everyone was still in a sombre space and decided to take it upon herself to change that. Joy tries to empower employees through these Wellness Workshops, not only in the workplace, but also in their personal lives.

She has repeatedly mentioned that, ‘’if even just one person can take even just one thing home that benefits them, even if they don’t voice it, the Wellness workshop has served its purpose.’’ She wants to promote self-awareness and encourage employees by providing insight on topics that we all might experience or even be struggling with at some point in our lives, by creating a safe space for us to talk about it.

Not only is conversation about these topics encouraged during these workshops, but it is done so while joking over and sharing chocolates and coffee. My colleagues and I took turns, in pairs, playing a game that involved clearly setting a boundary for your personal space, while the other deliberately crosses that boundary. Both parties are then asked to describe how they felt while enacting the rules of the game, thereby involuntarily being encouraged to do introspection.

I can honestly say that during this game, I learnt a lot about my colleagues and myself.

At the end, I felt happy and grateful to have the privilege to be able to laugh with my colleagues so freely. I felt like I was a part of something greater than myself and I felt eager to tackle my tasks for the day. I felt energetic, like the Wellness Workshop had given me a new zest and sense of enthusiasm to get to my desk and achieve what I had set out to achieve for that day.

On the 26th of April, at the monthly Wellness Workshop, I witnessed laughter resonate through the walls of Relocation Africa, and discovered the secret to their 30 years of success…

It’s in the way they build connections with and treat their team.


If you enjoyed this article, click on the link below to read more about the company and culture at Relocation Africa:

What Makes Relocation Africa Different


Written and Compiled by:

Joy Jackson (Ideation)

Lize-Mari Ras

Saudika Hendricks