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Rethinking working practices in Brazil
Recognising the importance of providing support and opportunities for a diverse array of people, some of whom may have disabilities, Regus has partnered with Brazilian company iiGual, which is a consultancy that promotes support for minorities in the corporate world. These could be people who are disabled, elderly, black, transgender or gay, or even women and young people who find it hard to get ahead in business.
Diversity is something every organisation should embrace but, in reality, inclusion can be flawed and limited. With 28,000 companies using Regus sites across Brazil, the potential for change is huge, which is why Regus welcomed the chance to partner with iiGual and improve support for anyone who may experience discrimination or unfair hurdles, be they physically getting to work, navigating the office or getting a job in the first place.
Part of iiGual’s function includes the active recruitment of disabled people, as well as the advising of companies who want to improve or implement inclusion programmes. “As Regus customers share their workplaces with multiple people from many different companies, often on the same workbench, it is clear that understanding diversity and its importance needs to be strengthened to broaden respect for others,” says Jaques Haber, co-founder of iiGual.
As part of the training iiGual gave Regus, Tiago Alves, who is the CEO of Regus in Brazil, was taken by Andrea Schwarz, co-founder of iiGual, to explore the streets of São Paulo in wheelchairs. The idea was to test the accessibility of pavements and roads around the city, as well as the Regus office on Avenida Engenheiro Luís Carlos Berrini. “When I experimented with the wheelchair, I couldn’t get around the block,” says Alves.
A major challenge for people with disabilities is actually getting to and from the office, especially in a big city like São Paulo. Alves says: “They spend a lot of time on public transport, two or three hours at a time. The purpose of the joint work between Regus and iiGual is to create environments in which all people have full working conditions, feel good in that space and can work near their homes.”
Helping to solve this problem is the fact that Regus has 35 different offices in São Paulo alone, meaning people don’t need to commute to one central hub. Instead, they can choose wherever is closest to where they live. Regus clients are also showing an interest in learning more about implementing inclusion best-practice in their own companies. In the future, Regus wants to open a co-working space (possibly in a tower incorporated in Shopping Eldorado in São Paulo) that fully supports diversity in all its forms.
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