When compiling a list of the Coolest Places to Work, a lot to different types of businesses spring to mind. Others don’t.

“You really don’t think of a bank as a cool place to work,” said Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust senior vice-president James Klein. “But we are.”

CRB&T has created a variety of different programs that have made the bank an exciting place to work. From baseball games to in-house workouts and payday snacks, to president Larry Helling personally handing out paychecks, employees are made to feel welcome and comfortable at the office.

But Mr. Klein said everyone’s favorite perk is the sabbatical.

“At your 10-year anniversary, you go on a paid sabbatical,” he said. “For a month, you are to turn off your company e-mail; you don’t come in to work. You completely cut yourself off from work for a month to refresh and recharge. You have to go and you have to unplug. We love it.”

Employees get to know each other outside of office hours, making their working relationships stronger.

“The variety of things that go on outside of work: Fourth of July get-together, kids’ Christmas party, staff holiday party, after-work gatherings, annual customer appreciation lunches, encouraging volunteering in the community,” an employee listed in the nomination form.

Other intangible benefits listed by employee include: a mentoring program; employee and client relations committees; encouragement to use work time to volunteer; leadership transparency; and recognition of personal employee events such as birthdays off, wedding day jitters off and new dad time off.

The support of coworkers and the community also rank high with employees.

“Employees are given a chance to make a difference. Our president frequently says, ‘be careful what you ask for…we might just do it!’ We support a ton of community organizations which makes us proud to be CRBT employees. We laugh a lot at work. We have core beliefs and one of them is, ‘life should be more than work and work should be fun,’” an employee stated.

Jeff Holmes