Modern art requires modern methods

Aline Dooijewaard

Singer Laren is a creative jack-of-all-trades: it is a museum, theater, restaurant, sculpture garden and art historical center all rolled into one. How does a multifaceted organization keep all these balls in the air? How do they keep track of all the departments while also continuing to grow? With a love of the job, smooth collaboration with colleagues and the support of an effective Workforce Management system, they get the job done!

This is Singer Laren 

Singer Laren was founded in 1956. It is the former home of Anna and William Singer, an American couple who were art lovers par excellence. They moved from Paris to the artist village of Laren to fully focus on their passion. Together, they amassed a fine collection of various types of art. After William’s death, Anna opened up their collection to the general public. Today, Singer Laren is a home where arts, business and people come together.

From manual work to automation  

Singer currently employs 110 staff and 130 volunteers, divided between various departments: the museum and associated museum store, the sculpture garden, the restaurant and the theater. Aline Dooijewaard is one of the staff members. As an executive assistant, she deals with HR and IT systems on a daily basis. Over the years, she has picked up an increasing array of different tasks and developed new skills. It is partly because of these development opportunities that she still enjoys working at Singer Laren so much.

The sculpture garden at Singer Laren

“When I started in 2014, several colleagues had been working in the same way for years. This led to stagnation in the organization. Staff rosters were still drawn up manually in Excel and on loose sheets of paper. Our accountant used to personally send all pay checks to the payroll administrator. This was a cumbersome way of working that took an unnecessary amount of time. ‘There must be a better way,’ I thought. And so I started looking for a practical scheduling system and comparing different types of software. Dyflexis came out on top: a consultant paid us a visit in person to give a demo. With the user-friendly and intuitive system, my choice for Dyflexis was quickly made.”

“Everything we used to do manually is now fully automated and digital.”

“Once we had opted for Dyflexis, things started moving really fast. The consultant helped us implement the system and offered valuable advice on important business processes. This is one of the reasons we were able to centralize even more. Next, my colleagues and I did the training. Since then, we have been drafting staff schedules in no time at all, and payroll is running smoothly. This is all thanks to the links with Countus Accountants and with Exact Online.”

Keeping all the balls in the air

“Every week, we welcome many art lovers to the museum. In 2022 we achieved an impressive visitor record: we welcomed a whopping 213,000 visitors to the museum. All told, a massive 260,000! Most museum visitors want to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry during their visit. This is why we also welcome some 5,000 visitors a week in the Singer Café. Our theater hall can accommodate 400 guests. Many of these guests dine in our restaurant before the performance. What’s more, we also rent out rooms for business meetings and events, among other things. All these activities create a dynamic work environment that requires grip and control. As you can probably imagine, scheduling our staff and volunteers to provide a wonderful experience for all of our guests is no easy feat.”

The sunny terrace in the sculpture garden

Doing so many different things at the same time works, as evidenced by Singer Laren’s growth in recent years: “In 2015, we started major renovation works: we built a new central entrance hall that is the entrance to the museum, the theater and the restaurant. The theater auditorium has also been completely revamped.”

“Dyflexis facilitates our growth and strengthens our sense of solidarity.”  

In 2018 we received a sizeable donation from Els Blokker: she donated more than 100 paintings. We built a new wing with five additional rooms, specifically to house this fabulous addition to our collection. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, colleagues were unable to perform their regular and instead helped out with DIY and painting. It was great fun to work on the renovation together.”

Stronger and more strategic together  

“By 2022, we had finished all the renovations. We are so proud of the end result: we pulled it off together. With this literal expansion of our organization, we also needed to hire more colleagues: New security guards, cashiers and an additional curator for Els Blokker’s collection.”

“Dyflexis facilitated this growth and strengthens our sense of solidarity. We send new colleagues a welcome email through the system. Everyone gets to meet each other online through the face book on our home page. This helps us remain a close-knit group of colleagues.”

The renovated Singer Laren is modern and versatile

“After all the hustle and bustle of the renovations and Covid-19 lockdowns, I am now mostly focused our growth for 2023. How do I guarantee the best experience for our visitors? How can I make sure that all my colleagues continue to enjoy working here? How do I get the best out of my workforce? Dyflexis offers enormous added value in this. The useful reports and analyses made me realize that we actually sell less in the museum store when it gets very busy. This is due to crowdedness and long lines for the cashier. We can distribute the crowds more evenly by planning more efficiently. This creates peace of mind for visitors – and my colleagues. You can only arrive at these kinds of insights once you start plotting productivity by department against revenue.”

“My next step in Workforce management will be to streamline all the processes. For example, the work schedules I draw up are based on the weather forecast. When the weather is nice, we get more visitors in the sculpture garden. Our hospitality departments are so happy to use the Dyflexis management tool to manage their budgets. When we open a new exhibition, we also tend to welcome more guests, so we need more people on the floor then to make their visit as enjoyable as possible for everyone. I use these insights to create strategic workforce plans. This is how we continuously keep developing and improving as an organization. Lovers of art reap the benefits: every time they visit Singer Laren, they enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience.”