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Accessibility at Work: Struggling to create an inclusive environment
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Accessibility at Work: Struggling to create an inclusive environment

Delivery Hero knows inclusion is important. This is reflected in our core value, Heroes because they care. It is our goal and responsibility to our customers, employees, and communities to create a diverse and inclusive environment that reflects our people.

The December 3rd International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a timely reminder that we must continue to actively work towards making our environment more inclusive. We had a conversation with Leandro Mazoni (Delivery Hero employee and member our Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board) to mark the occasion and discuss his experiences at Delivery Hero and his views on inclusion in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion is not something that can be achieved in a single moment. It is an ongoing process of reflection, conversation, change, and improvement. There is still much to be done at Delivery Hero and around the world until we live in a society that is inclusive of all. Both within the company and outside, we are taking steps to create a more fair environment. Delivery Hero is trying to play an active part in fostering the positive changes needed.

Hi Leandro! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Leandro Fernandes, Mazoni was born in Brazil. At the age of 19, I jumped into a pool and hit my head. This caused me to break my neck. After much recovery and learning about my body’s capabilities, I decided to move abroad. I was then able to start working at Delivery Hero as a Data Analyst within the Logistics Business Intelligence Team.

What is important to your accessibility goals? And what are the areas that have a significant impact on your daily life that you don’t think others consider?

Different people may have different needs but the basic requirements must be met. A door that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair is a minimum requirement. Many places don’t have this. If you don’t provide at least one barrier-free pathway, you are making the environment hostile to one billion people around the world.

Although society has a long way to travel, let’s take an example. Let’s say that my team wants to eat at a new restaurant. First, I will check if there is an elevator at the station. If not, I will also need to find another route. Is it possible to enter the building by myself? Is it necessary to be carried, or can I walk the small steps by myself? Do the tables fit my chair? Or is it too low that I have to eat far away from the table? Is it possible to use the bathroom in this area if I need to? What happens if I don’t want to?

This is just one example of many things people take for granted. I will not let it stop me from going. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if I didn’t have to worry about it?

How can Delivery Hero make accessibility easy?

While it has its faults, we are making progress. The building and its surrounding area were not designed with accessibility in mind. This is a challenge for Delivery Hero and me. Many improvements have been made since my arrival and I would not hesitate to return to the office like everyone else. Although I can only speak about the Headquarters (HQ) or the Logistics Hub, the improvements made are very nice. However, we need to keep improving it because the goal is to make it inclusive for everyone.

What are some of your biggest challenges?

Inaccessibility can cause problems, such as when you’re visiting a friend and there’s no elevator. Or when you’re traveling and the flight attendant insists you have to get up and walk the length of the plane. You will need patience and good friends to help you overcome these obstacles.

The real issue is when prejudice becomes a problem. I have been kicked out many times of job interviews due to them stating that I would not be able to do the job. They didn’t even ask. It was already decided and disclosed to me. It’s a little more difficult to deal with, but that’s why I think talking accessibility is so important: to teach people with disabilities that they can’t decide what someone with disabilities is allowed to do.

What are some of the positive experiences you have had?

The best thing about this place is the people. Behavioral accessibility is for me even more important than architecture. It means people treat you with respect and empathy. They listen to you, show empathy, and make every effort to meet your needs. Everyone was clear about how Delivery Hero works, the challenges I might face, and the plans for improving it. This was even before I started. They made me feel like I was part of the improvement process and didn’t assume anything, but rather asked me questions. Because everyone has different needs, I believe this is extremely important. For example, someone who uses a motorized chair might need things to be at a different height from what I suggest. This is something you can only learn if you listen carefully.

What is one thing you wish people would know about disability?

It doesn’t define my personality. I am not worse or better because of it. I’m good at certain things, but terrible at others, just like everyone else. People aren’t used to seeing someone in a wheelchair and thinking they could be an engineer, lawyer, or other professional. My wheelchair is not something that I see as a physical feature. It’s just like someone who needs glasses to read. People with disabilities can be normal people. We have hopes and dreams, work hard, and love to party. It is important to treat us all equally and accept that we may have different needs.

Don’t make assumptions! If you are unsure whether someone needs help, ask and be ready for a positive or negative answer.

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