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Lab Manager Christel Oostvogels

Lab Manager Christel Oostvogels

Even after working for 26 years and having progressed from lab technician to lab manager, Christel Oostvogels still enjoys going to work every day. She is primarily responsible for the day-to-day organization in the laboratory. This includes managing as many as nine teams, organizing the internal flow of samples, and resolving unexpected situations that may arise in the lab. She takes us on a journey through her day working at Lavetan.

Managing everything from processes to staff

Christel: "When I started working here twenty-six years ago, I was one of the very first employees. I have had plenty of time to watch Lavetan grow. Meanwhile, I have grown along with it." She started off as a lab technician, moving through the ranks to reach the position of chief lab technician, and ultimately ended up in a management role. "I keep things running on a day-to-day basis. Specifically, that means starting each day with a morning meeting, with people from each team. We look at our data, the circumstances, and divide up our work for the day. This is how we work together to ensure that the entire day runs smoothly."

Employee evaluations, quality assurance, sustainability and lean working also form part of Christel's responsibilities. "This is how I am involved in determining preventive policies and participate in ensuring sustainability, protection and biosafety throughout the lab. We are thinking about how to make the lab more sustainable. I am also in charge of employee development and training needs."

Christel's workday from start to finish:

  1. First, she goes for a swim or jog in the morning before going to work.

  2. Next, the work day starts with a morning meeting: how do we arrange the day?

  3. 10.30 a.m.: she starts working on the priority items for the current workday.

  4. After that, she has lunch with colleagues to catch up and find out how work is going.

  5. Next, it's on to a meeting on biosafety and a five-minute check-in with her assistant.

  6. She then has to act quickly after receiving a call from a customer who needs help!

  7. She passes by each team in the lab to answer questions from team members.

  8. Finally, she can go home after a fulfilling day at work. Another opportunity to look forward to tomorrow!

The common thread: a lean lab

Christel: "Since I started at Lavetan, I have made it my mission to create a lean lab. That is the common thread running throughout all of my work. How do we work as efficiently as possible? How do we maintain optimal workflows? I ask these questions regularly." This role often places her at the forefront of corporate change. "Over the years, we have broken through many walls, moved tables around and guided teams through the change process to make the lab as lean as possible."

Sitting down with the management team

As a lab manager, you will have access to all facets of the company. Christel: "One day, I work with the accounting department, and the next, I will be sitting down to talk to the management team. I like that variety. The wide variety of change processes I have had the opportunity to work on in recent years in particular have filled me with energy – I am able to bring my individuality and ideas to the table."

The challenge, according to Christel, is to keep track of all these different facets. "Ideally, the team should be kept informed throughout the entire change process: what is the plan, what stage are we in? We also review issues that need attention. We always involve the staff in everything we do: participation is very important to us at Lavetan."

Coming to work and leaving full of energy

Working as a lab manager requires a lot of focus and energy. Christel handles that well. "I make sure that I work out regularly alongside my work –it helps me get my mind off things. I usually work out in the morning before my workday starts; then I am able to get to work with enough energy." This is how she keeps her head cool and her heart warm. "I really enjoy doing my job. I have a lot of freedom and get to accomplish so much, together with many fine people. That gives me a lot of satisfaction!"


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