Don’t worry, we’re not talking about making you stay at the office more than you already do.
We’re talking about reallocating an hour each day to making yourself a better social worker. No paperwork, no phone calls, no meetings.
Just an hour dedicated to doing what you set out to do: help others.
Would you spend more face-to-face time with your clients? Or explore creative ways to address the unique needs of a family, child, or caregiver to support their ultimate success?
We asked a group of social workers how they would like to spend their time. Here is what they said:
How Several Social Workers Said They Would Spend Their Extra Hour
1. Send Notes of Encouragement or Cards to the Families They Serve
A big part of social work is forming relationships with the families you serve. And often, it’s the little things that mean the most. Your clients and families don’t always know how much you really care, but small efforts of appreciation and encouragement can mean the world to them and show them that you’re there to help, not work against them.
The social workers we spoke to said that handwritten cards and notes meant a lot more than emails and verbal comments. One small note can spark motivation and help your clients reignite the fire inside them that they need to succeed.
2. Collaborate More with Their Team or Unit
When teams don’t collaborate, they begin to operate in silos. Team members operating in a silo can lead to problems for the rest of the team. Crucial information can get lost when it’s not shared, and clients can get frustrated and feel neglected when they sense a lack of teamwork.
Social workers said that a few extra minutes to catch up with team members could help teams stay focused, informed, and moving toward their goals.
3. Read Social Work & Best Practice Articles
Staying up-to-date on the world of social work is a good way to remind yourself of your ultimate mission: helping those in need.
Publications like the Chronicle of Social Change are great resources to stay up-to-date on how different parts of the country and world are reacting to and succeeding at similar problems you face.
Advancing yourself as a social worker and developing yourself professionally is a great time investment as well. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a great resource for best practices, advocacy, and career advancement.
4. Research Options for the Unique Challenges Their Clients Face
Sometimes social workers feel like they only have time to quickly respond to challenges without being able to fully understand them.
Social workers said that when they’re faced with a challenging client, they would love more time to search for articles and publications that may have some insight into what their client is facing, or more time to talk to other social workers to see if they’ve dealt with similar issues.
5. Complete Online Training
A two-year LCSWA licensure period/renewal cycle requires documentation of 40 contact hours of continuing education with at least four hours of ethics-focused training.
With the current times, it’s safe to assume that most of this education and training will take place remotely. So it’s vital that you do your research on webinars and online classes so that you make an efficient use of those required hours.
With social-work-focused conferences moving online or being canceled entirely, it is now more difficult to find credible sources of professional knowledge within the industry. Therefore, resource databases and articles have become more valuable.
6. Find Creative & Safe Places to Meet
We’ve all heard that you need to meet clients where they are, but instead of a principle idea, it could be a real, physical action. Whether it be because of a client’s broken-down car, a current lack of childcare, or just a general fear of the outside world due to the global pandemic, clients are harder pressed than ever to leave the house for a meeting with a social worker.
7. Dive Deeper into a Client’s History to Better Understand Their Current Situation
There never seems to be enough time to fully get to know your clients. With some extra time, social workers say they would spend some of it re-reading some of their case notes and catching up on some key details they may have missed.
There are even some large software systems that can leverage artificial intelligence to comb through your clients’ case files, in order to pull out the nitty-gritty details that are almost impossible to find by hand.
8. Enjoy Extra Time with the Families & Clients They Serve
As previously mentioned, forming relationships with clients is a crucial part of social work.
The social workers we spoke to agreed that spending time with clients unfortunately always seems to be cut short by other priorities. With some extra time, they would like to spend it on some extra face-to-face time.
Clients appreciate interactions with their social workers. In their time of need, when it feels like people are working against them, clients and families need a sense of appreciation. This appreciation will help motivate them to work toward their goals with the rest of the team.
9. Take Time for Their Own Mental Health
Let’s face it, social work is mentally exhausting. Between the day-to-day trauma and the tedious administrative work, some days can be draining.
Most social workers feel like taking an hour for rest and relaxation can recharge their mental health and get their head back in the game. A one-hour time investment can pay off over the rest of the day or week.
Some ideas for how to recharge: browse social media, read a book, call a friend to chat, meditate, or even try some of the items listed above!
Want an extra hour each day to better yourself and your clients? Leave your email below to learn how Caretivity saves social workers time and effort.
Why does it seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day?
Many social workers are challenged to balance or trade off administrative tasks with client relationships.
Think about how much time you spend just coordinating one thing after another—facilitating conversations, scheduling assessments, participating in meetings, arranging transportation, linking services, and then pulling all the information together to determine what, if anything, was accomplished. It’s no wonder you feel like your job is a never-ending effort to keep all the plates spinning.
When you have to spend so much time coordinating activities, it can be difficult to create, develop, and support meaningful relationships—what social workers and clients value most.
Although we’d probably like more hours in a day, we can only use the time we have. Many small, redundant tasks tend to become major time suckers and take focus away from truly engaging families by listening, understanding, and sharing in their difficult walk.
Building trusting relationships takes time and collaboration.
When we begin to connect children, parents, and caregivers with other team members who are just as invested in the family’s success, coordinating all these tasks becomes a shared responsibility. This work will not only expand the ecosystem of our clients but enable mutually beneficial results. We can see families, caregivers, and children more often, experience parents independently using positive supports, and act on what we said we would do if we only had the time.
Caretivity brings all your social work communication into one space, which allows you to spend more time on the important things: your clients and the lives you impact. Learn more about how to get Caretivity for your organization.
Interested in Caretivity for your organization?
Contact us if you have questions about how Caretivity can help your team or organization better collaborate and coordinate services.