As the corporate world is becoming increasingly HR-oriented, companies are racing for the title of a “cool place to work”. As a result, office life has gotten a makeover; we have traded Swiss clock for flex times, strict hierarchy for open doors, and sharp dress for comfort.
Leading businesses in Sri Lanka have already caught on to this trend, however one of them is giving “coolness” their own twist. Besides maintaining the new age casual office culture, this company quite literally immerses their employees in cool places to work.
Creative Solutions is one of the leading software companies in Sri Lanka established in 1999 to provide software development services to overseas clients, mainly Sweden-based. The company’s client list grew quickly and exponentially, and today they work with well-known organizations worldwide. Nevertheless, their strongest base remains in Scandinavia, the region known for its cool climate, spectacular snow-covered landscapes and icy fiords.
To collaborate effectively with these clients, “Creatives”, as Creative Solutions’ employees are commonly referred to- are occasionally required to travel to Scandinavia. For most of them, these trips are filled with unforgettable firsts.
“Just months after I joined [Creative Solutions] I am applying for my first passport so I can fly for the first time, visit a foreign country and attend training there,” said Suminda De Silva, 24, software developer.
As Suminda prepares to take off for Norway, a team of his colleagues has just returned from a two-week visit to Sweden. There, the team joined their Swedish colleagues in the biannual get-together of their entire staff, both domestic and international. “This was the second time we were invited to join [the client’s] corporate trip,” said Buddhika Wanduragala, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer. “The technical training I received both times proved to be extremely useful. It has helped me improve my capacity as an employee and I can use what I learned in Scandinavia to develop myself and the industry here
in Sri Lanka.”
The trip also brought the teams together for some well-deserved chill time (pun intended) in the famous skiing resort of Åre.
“It was freezing! I think it was –2°C,” exclaimed Buddhika. “But it was so much fun. We tried to ski and I think I fell ten times in one day,” he laughed. Director of Software Engineering Channa De Silva sees great value in Creatives’ overseas training and client visits. Besides the “friendly work environment”, he believes these Scandinavian trips largely contribute to the company’s employee satisfaction.
“They always return with fresh perspectives and new skills, while their ties with their foreign colleagues get fortified,” said Channa. “They in turn feel that their workplace is giving them exceptional opportunities for career development.”
According to Creative Solutions’ co-founder and CEO, Sushena Ranatunga, the informal office culture has always been a part of the company’s “DNA”, while they actively strive to provide their employees with opportunities for personal development.
“When you place trust in people and give them responsibility, a friendly and relaxed office culture arises naturally,” said Ranatunga. “We also strive to provide our people with experiences that would benefit them on the long run , on both levels, professional
The “Creatives” seem to agree. Seven months since joining Creative Solutions, Suminda firmly believes that he made the right choice. “I believe joining Creative Solutions was an excellent career move,” he said. “It is so rewarding to work for a company that cares about you and makes you feel valued, and on top of that gives you a chance to see and learn something new. That is what I call a cool place to work.”