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Office as a crucial element in the entry of an international telecommunications giant into Poland

16/02/2024

A case study of the collaboration between Cellnex Poland and Cushman & Wakefield. 

Cellnex, a Spanish telecom giant and the leading operator of wireless telecommunications infrastructure in Poland, entered the Polish market in 2021. With this move, it had to adapt its corporate culture to local conditions and to find a common denominator for the merged teams of the two companies it had acquired. Its new Warsaw office has become an important element of employer branding, fostering change and development. Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield was responsible for the workplace strategy, the choice of location, lease negotiations, technical analyses and turnkey Design & Build works.

In 2021, Cellnex Poland acquired 60% of PLAY’s telecommunications infrastructure (today it owns 100%) and later acquired a 99.9% stake in Polkomtel Infrastruktura, a Polsat Group company. Cellnex Poland has a team of approximately 500 employees who are responsible for the design and development of its telecom network and for its operational maintenance and management. Cellnex Poland currently owns nearly 16,000 sites and is planning to take its tally to 21,500 by 2030.

The role of the office in integrating the merged teams

The entry into a new market combined with the integration of the structures of the acquired companies represents a great potential to tap into but also a huge organisational challenge.

Poland is one of 12 markets in which we provide telecommunications connectivity by eliminating inequalities in access to digital services. In 2021 our priority was to swiftly merge the teams of Cellnex, Play and Polkomtel - each with its unique corporate culture. Our new Warsaw office was, above all, to support the consolidation of our company to deliver the highest quality services to our clients. We instructed experts from Cushman & Wakefield to manage the transaction process and the comprehensive design of our space so that we could, in turn, focus on developing our services and strengthening our culture and client relationships,”says Małgorzata Rozwałka-Tłok, People Director and Board Member of Cellnex Poland.

The journey towards the opening of the new office started with developing a workplace strategy to address the current and future needs and challenges facing Cellnex Poland.

Cellnex employees are world-class experts in their respective fields and have very diverse workplace needs. That’s why we began with in-depth interviews with managers and workshops in order to identify their workstyles, space and technical requirements, and to feel the scale of the cultural change expected to occur in the merged teams of previously separate companies. We had to identify and mitigate risks to create a consistent office plan meeting the company’s needs,” says Mariola Bitner, Head of Workplace Strategy Poland, Cushman & Wakefield.

The resultant space plan, which was the basis for the leasing team in its search for an ideal office location for Cellnex Poland, factored in the results of a simulation of hybrid working to ensure optimal space usage. The flexible office layout, which took account of a prospect of a company being in growth mode and adapting its structures, provided for an even distribution of functions and use of modular solutions.

A sustainable and user-friendly office for the market leader

It turned out that the design brief requirements set out in Cellnex Poland’s office strategy would be best met by a modern, campus-like and well-connected office project built to a high technical standard and meeting specific sustainability guidelines. We found an ideal location in Lixa C in Warsaw,”says Aleksandra Duda, Senior Negotiator, Cushman & Wakefield.

As we supported our client throughout the process of building the new office, our cooperation went smoothly and we were able to recommend solutions that were both feasible and tailored to the tenant’s individual requirements. The rapidly evolving office market is creating a range of opportunities, as well as risks that must be properly managed. Through our comprehensive services, we managed to meet all the requirements regarding costs and the quality of space,”adds Joanna Blumert, Head of Occupier Services Warsaw, Cushman & Wakefield.

Comprehensive turnkey Design & Build works on a 4,500 sq m office were coordinated by Cushman & Wakefield’s Project & Development Services team. The space plan was used as a foundation to create a reception desk lobby, a chillout zone, conference rooms and open plan spaces, as well as solutions supporting hybrid working and a clean desk policy. The employees of Cellnex Poland can also use a spacious kitchen with a dining and breakout zone. The whole office features a nice, warm and bright interior with soft materials, timber and sound-absorbing elements for better acoustic comfort. The high quality fit-out materials used in the office underscore its sustainability and ensure improved user comfort.

The whole project - from the conceptual work to the opening of the office - took about a year to complete in a relatively tough market environment due to soaring prices. As our client opted for a comprehensive service comprising a workplace strategy, a technical analysis and all-inclusive Design & Build works, we were able to act swiftly while looking for savings and to successfully complete value engineering. Thanks to the scale of our cooperation and longstanding relationships with suppliers, we were able to keep product prices unchanged despite long delivery dates. As a result, project costs rose by only 7% while market prices surged by as much as 25% during the project delivery period,”says Bogumiła Kompowska, Head of Design & Build Poland, Project & Development Services, Cushman & Wakefield.

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