New offices break down walls and cast off anchors

A new headquarters for smart working

Traditional offices are a thing of the past. They are privileged witnesses to the massive turn toward connectivity for the pandemic-driven dynamics of remote working. And nobody knows it like Cellnex.

The English term “smart” came up repeatedly in our interviews with two of the ranking heads of design for Cellnex‘s newest Barcelona headquarters in the emerging business centre BcnFira District.

Smart means intelligence in the sense of innovation; in how the telecom infrastructure operator’s new central offices will be used and what they will able to do, but also in how the company sees the new work environment as a chance to bring people closer together and eliminate practices and barriers to boost collaboration, performance and opportunities.

“We have created a place where teams can collaborate and share their experiences. It is a place that helps people perform and fosters a cohesive work environment”, sums up Laia Bernà Gironès, architect and Global Workplace Manager at Cellnex.

While the new offices occupy a surface area roughly identical to that of the current headquarters, the drive to improve employee and customer experience make the premise and objectives underpinning it quite unique.

The new headquarters, conceived across open, bright and versatile spaces, faithfully reflect Cellnex’s values, image and commitment to diversity and ESG criteria. The building that houses the new offices has earned certification from WELL an BREEAM – benchmarks for the comfort and well-being of users and sustainability in construction, respectively. The company, which uses 100% green energy in this space, strives for Platinum certification (WELL’s highest) and the LEED seal for sustainable interiors. In addition to a location that allows for enhanced mobility, the building boasts electric vehicle chargers and spaces to park bikes and electric scooters.

The opening of the new building coincides in time with the “smart working” project that the company has implemented around three fundamental pillars: Empowerment, effectiveness and collaboration.

Most of the new offices, designed to enhance this smart working model, feature standard floor plans which are tuned for versatility, with shared desks and a multitude of collaborative areas where cohesion can take root and ideas can converge. “These floor plans give us the kind of flexibility that we never had before. Desk sharing allows us to gradually absorb the company’s future growth”, explains Laia. “We wanted to strike a balance between individual workstations and collaborative spaces, then delivered an additional boost by incorporating more informal areas for on-the-fly meetings and to encourage cross-team collaboration”.

To top it all off, the look and feel of the new headquarters is in tune with the values of the company, and neutral colour tones promote concentration and balance in pleasant surroundings.

“I feel extraordinary…like Cellnex, the company, I imagine. I am delighted that they have thought of us too”, explained Beatriz Mingorance, EHS-Q Project Manager at Cellnex, on the first day in the new space.

One key to developing talent and promoting innovation is that the new building does away with rank-based hierarchies. “Say goodbye to offices. The only closed spaces are in the presidential area and the most public floor with meeting spaces for customer and supplier visits”, explains Laia.

In designing the new offices, Laia’s group worked closely with the IT team to make sure spaces had the tools to facilitate objectives without technology dominating the environments.

“We have opted for a design that seeks to improve user experience by simplifying connectivity, so whether using a cable or Wi-Fi connection, with a single click you can connect in any space and use all its collaborative elements”, explains Miguel Angel Gil Castilla, IT Architect at Cellnex.

As they arrive at their new offices, employees receive the Smart Workplace kit, which includes a wireless keyboard and mouse and a backpack. “Staff no longer have their table, phone extension or desk. One of the keystones of the project is ‘your workplace is where you are’ and with the newly implemented system we have eliminated anchors”.

Collaborative spaces include interactive and easy-to-use whiteboards equipped for instant sharing. Moreover, a multi-platform app lets users manage all spaces and facilities (table reservations, meeting rooms, parking, dining room…) as well as receive feedback on usage, needs and incidents.

In parallel, and in collaboration with the Smart Building department, the building integrates proprietary Internet of Things (IoT)-powered solutions to increase how smartly and efficiently air conditioning is used and spaces occupied.

Put simply, with the new Smart Workplace and Smart Working model, Cellnex is breaking down walls and casting off anchors in every country it operates to make efficient and collaborative “wherever-you-are” work one of the pillars of its growth.


Carlos Ruano

Journalist and Founder of Newsbub

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