Solving a complex puzzle is what staff scheduling is most like. For this reason, more and more companies are employing a planner - a kind of puzzle master who ensures the right balance between the need and availability of personnel. At bouwens&, Anne-Roos de Vaal (29) fulfils this role. From our Amsterdam headquarters, she keeps a lot of balls in the air. What exactly does a Senior Planner do at our company, and what challenges does this position bring?
In a company like bouwens&, which focuses on personal services, Anne-Roos is an indispensable link in our organisation. Because of the wide range of services we offer, her duties are extremely dynamic. She maintains close contact with both clients and employees, which requires a keen eye for detail and strong communication skills. Moreover, she is responsible for all operational planning, such as scheduling our security guards and receptionists. But what does a typical day look like? Anne-Roos has the floor.
My work regularly acts as a wake-up call: once a month I have 'picket duty'. Then I have the emergency phone with me for a week. From 6:00 am, employees can call in sick. With a bit of luck, I immediately have a Flexible Host available to take over the work. If that doesn't work immediately, I'll set up lines before jumping in the car from my home town of Baarn to our office in Amsterdam. I work four-to-five days a week from 08:00 to 16:30. The time I'm not working, my colleagues in planning and operations management know exactly what's going on. We trust each other completely; our bond is the basis for the pleasure with which I perform my tasks.
Almost every morning I open our office at Emmaplein 2. I like to start early, so that I can process my e-mails and pick up urgent matters in peace and quiet. Creating, correcting and adjusting rosters are my main tasks. Who works where, for which client, and what shifts are they working that day? We use our own scheduling system, Extranet, which is designed to be as efficient as possible. It has everything we need to create rosters, schedule holidays, and process leave and sickness. It also includes data from clients, and we use it to generate reports.
At the head office, I am a real jack-of-all-trades. Together with colleagues, I man the phones and manage the general e-mail addresses. Are there birthdays, or other joys and sorrows to share? Then we take care of a card, a bouquet or a present. I really like these extra tasks; I can't stand monotony! Around midday, we get fresh rolls from the bakery and have lunch together at the big lunch table. Everyone present in the office eats with us.
Every week we hold an operational meeting. Then I sit with the Operations team; Sales joins once a month, and Finance too. We discuss topics such as the emergency phone, recruitment, planning, details regarding clients, and other general matters. Planning is always 'work in progress', so I use any free time in the afternoon to further plan towards the future. I am also jointly responsible for checking invoices for hours, days and times.
Before I leave, I check the mailbox. Always exciting, because I don't just close the door behind me. A good work ethic comes with this job. For example, if a last-minute driver request for the next day comes in, I try to sort it out before I leave. Or if someone calls whose work clothes are torn, I will unceremoniously go and bring a new one to the site, even if my working day is officially over. We think and work like a real family, and family doesn't leave you out in the cold.
Once everything is in order, I drive back home. Unless there is a nice team drink on the agenda. We value relaxing together: successes are to be celebrated! An informal drink, whether planned or not, with colleagues adds to the team spirit. We also always look forward to our annual company party, such as last January at the Amstel Boathouse. For me, that Winter Party was extra special: it was the first time I met lots of bouwens& employees - the people for whom I take care of the planning day in and day out.
Anne-Roos de Vaal lives in Baarn and works in Amsterdam. Before joining bouwens&, she was a Source and Contact Investigator at the GGD (2020-2022). From 2015 to 2020, she worked as a Ground Stewardess, Flight Controller and Team Leader at Aviapartner (Schiphol Airport). She studied at the School of Tourism and Recreation (2011-2015).