Corporate Responsibility- December 20, 2021
Accessibility at work: Striving for an inclusive environment
At Delivery Hero, we know that inclusion matters and this is reflected in our core value of being Heroes because we care. It is our ambition and responsibility to our employees, customers, and the communities in which we operate, to provide a diverse and inclusive environment that reflects the people we serve.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd is an opportune reminder that we must still actively work on making our environment more inclusive. To mark the occasion, we had a chat with Delivery Hero employee and member of our Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, Leandro Mazoni, to discuss his experiences at Delivery Hero and how he views inclusion in the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion is not a static target that can be reached, but rather an ongoing process of continuous reflection, conversation, and change. At Delivery Hero and worldwide there is still a lot that needs to be done until we live in a society that is inclusive and considerate of all. Inside the company and out, measures are being taken to ensure that we are working towards a fairer environment and that Delivery Hero is doing its best to play an active role in fostering the positive changes that need to be made.
Hi Leandro, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Leandro Fernandes Mazoni, I was born in Brazil and when I was 19 years old I jumped in a pool, hit my head, and broke my neck. After a long time recovering and basically learning what my body was still capable of doing, I decided to live abroad. That’s when I started to work at Delivery Hero, as a Data Analyst in the Logistics Business Intelligence Team.
What is important to you when it comes to accessibility and what are some areas that impact your life that maybe others don’t think about?
Different people might have different needs, but the basics must be well done. For instance, making a door wide enough for a wheelchair is the bare minimum, and many places don’t have that. If you don’t provide at least one barrier-free path, you are making that particular environment hostile for one billion people in the world.
Unfortunately, society still has a long way to go, but to give you a simple example: Let’s say my team wants to go eat in a new restaurant. The first thing I need to do is check if I can get there with public transport if the station nearby has an elevator and in case that is broken, I also like to have at least one alternative route in my head. When we get there, can I go in by myself or are there steps at the entrance? Will I need to be carried or is it a small step that I can get over alone? After I get inside, does the table fit my chair, or is it too low, making me eat far away? If I have to, can I use the bathroom here? What happens if I can’t?
This is a very small example of some of the things that people usually take for granted and of course I won’t let something like that prevent me from going, but wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to worry?
How do you find accessibility at Delivery Hero?
It has its flaws but we are getting there. The building and the surrounding neighborhood for that matter were not created with accessibility in mind and that is a challenge not only for me but for Delivery Hero as well. Luckily many improvements have been made since I got here and I would say that nothing stops me from coming to the office just like everyone else. I can only speak for the headquarters (HQ) and the Logistics Hub, but the improvements made on both are really nice, however, we should keep improving it as the goal is to be inclusive to everyone.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
Challenges due to lack of accessibility are annoying, like when going to visit a friend and there is no elevator in the building or one time when I was traveling and the flight attendant insisted that I had to get up and walk to the plane. To overcome those things you usually need a lot of patience and some good friends that can help you.
The real issue is when you have to face prejudice; more than a couple of times I was kicked out of job interviews because they said that I wouldn’t be able to do the job. They didn’t even ask, it was decided and informed to me. That’s a little harder to deal with, but this is why I think talking about accessibility is so important: to teach people without disabilities that they don’t get to decide what a person with disabilities can and cannot do.
What are some of the positive things you have encountered?
I believe the best part here is the people. For me, behavioral accessibility is even more important than architecture. That means people treat you with respect, they have empathy, listen to you, understand that you might have different needs, and they do the best they can to provide that. Even before I started here, everyone was very clear about the accessibility at Delivery Hero, what challenges I might encounter and what the plans were to improve it. They really made me a part of the process of improving it and did not assume anything but rather asked me. I think this is very important because every person might have slightly different needs. For instance, someone that uses a motorized wheelchair might need things to stay at a different height than what I need and what I have suggested, and that is something that you only learn when you listen attentively.
What is one thing you wish people knew about disability?
That it doesn’t define me. I’m not better or worse because of it. I’m good at some things and terrible at others, like everyone else. People are not used to looking at someone in a wheelchair and thinking that this person could be an engineer, a lawyer, or any other profession. I don’t see my wheelchair as anything more than a feature of me, like someone that needs glasses to read! People with disabilities are regular people: we have hopes and dreams, we work hard, and we also love to party. So the important thing is that people treat us as equals and understand that we might just have different needs.
Lastly, don’t make any assumptions! If you are unsure if a person needs help or anything else, just ask and be prepared for both a positive or a negative answer.