Cellnex introduces a hybrid working model powered by people and efficiency
A year and a half after the pandemic and restrictions abruptly imposed a new way of working based on remote connectivity, the debate about the return of employees to the office is far from over.
Between die-hard supporters of on-site work and those who have leveraged the experience to scale back or shutter office space and cut costs, a trend toward hybrid models has emerged that capitalises on lessons learned from the “home office”.
In that spirit and with safety as our maxim, Cellnex has begun introducing Smart Working, a project to reshape the work environment with empowerment, efficiency and collaboration at the fore.
Whatever conclusions are ultimately drawn by the myriad studies on pandemic-era productivity, some workers speak of trouble disconnecting and the feeling, founded or not, of having to prove their dedication. More than a few managers, meanwhile, yearn for the bygone control over employees. Clearly, trust and dedication have been at the bedrock of working habits, and while those habits will likely never be the same again, the two factors will continue to play a fundamental role.
“The pandemic has done more than intensify digitalisation: it has thrust people into the spotlight and hastened a rethinking, already afoot previously, that have positioned people and talent as the company’s greatest asset”, explains Anna Bufi, Director of People and Organisation at Cellnex Spain. “The company and its employees’ experience during this period was key to forging a plan based on trust and on believing in and listening to the people who ultimately define our project”.
The head of talent underscores the need to foster the values that proved so effective for Cellnex during lockdown and which forced a perspective shift in employee analysis. “Commitment has a direct impact on productivity and that commitment has to do with how we measure performance, enhance development, facilitate work-life balance, improve processes…“, explains Ana. “We had already begun to pivot to a more flexible model before the pandemic. Against the backdrop of stay-at-home orders, 2020 was an exceptional year results-wise and it has enabled us to draw very valuable conclusions”.
The importance of people in one of the world’s most profitable companies per employee is unquestionable, but today trust is even more crucial in fostering empowerment, personal leadership, autonomy and commitment. “We want to work better, not more. And we are going to do it with flexibility; the bottom line with hybrid working is results, not where you get them”.
Another major goal of the project is to gain agility through digitalising tools that have made it possible to speed up processes and leave people free to focus on work of greater added value. “We are going to promote a culture of agility, time management and digital disconnection. Essentially, we want more impact with less effort”.
Framing the new principles of a company whose motto is “Growing Together“, where the success of the team is more important than that of the individual, the third pillar is collaboration. “A collaborative and participatory culture of dialogue is essential for us to keep growing together. We have promoted online group tools and platforms like Miro, learning coffees, design thinking… And we have created tools to encourage transversality and learn what employees think so that we can act with agility based on experience”.
This concept of “user experience” applied to the work environment also permeates the group’s recently opened offices in Barcelona, a source of decisive support for the new model. “We were fortunate because the design of smart working coincided with design of the smart workplace and the two are perfectly in sync. The new building eliminates hierarchies and cultivates collaboration, innovation and initiative with open, collaborative and hybrid-ready spaces”.
Aside from enhancing productivity, Cellnex hopes that smart working will improve the professional projections, quality of life and even well-being of the group’s members as well as help to attract and retain talent. “Physical, emotional, psychological and social well-being and the constant evaluation of these are the linchpins of this brand of smart working that we believe will bring out the best in everyone and drive deeper commitment and sense of belonging”.
Communication will be central to the entire process if employees and company are to share a purpose, vision and values. “Communication is vital to the process of transitioning to the new system. We have to practise new behaviours before they become habit; people must see the benefits of the new system before we can get their full buy-in”.
In addition to promoting a new leadership model among managers, Cellnex has invited its staff to take part in a series of “Smart Working Challenges” to build awareness and skills in trust, efficiency and collaboration.
In an environment of fierce competition for talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the company hopes that by further enhancing its reputation it can become a target for new talent. “I am convinced that working with the principles of smart working will allow us to remain a benchmark in the sector because we truly care about people and act in harmony with our purpose”.