Most social workers feel enthusiastic and passionate about their work at the beginning of their careers. However, as the years roll by, the spark dies—or rather drowns in the piles of paperwork due, thanks to overwhelming caseloads. This is only natural given that there is a serious shortage of social workers in the US. And it’s estimated that this shortage will grow into quite a national crisis by 2030. This increases the caseload per worker and makes human services case management much harder.
Hopefully, steps will be taken to avert the crisis or at least counter the factors that cause the shortages. But in the meantime, here are a few tips to deal with your own workload crises every day.
Tip No. 1: Start Off With At Least One Quick Task
Work can feel overwhelming when you’ve got too many things to tick off on your task list. Taking on a task that takes up the entire morning will leave you mentally exhausted by noon. Moreover, the task list won’t look any shorter, and you’ll feel rushed at this point which will just affect your productivity further.
Instead, start with something you can do quickly. For instance, an email, a phone call, or paperwork that would take less than an hour to finish. Ticking off at least one thing on the list in the morning will make you feel productive and less stressed about what lies ahead.
Tip No. 2: Create A Schedule for The Next Day the Night Before
You may think that getting to work on time is enough to stay on track, but it's not. You should be mentally prepared for your busy daily schedule. Arriving at work without a plan on how to manage your caseload for the day can create additional stress, pressure and anxiety.
Create a list on paper or electronically, about what needs to be done, in what order, and in how much time. This would help you get on with your day the right away instead of feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Another tip is to check off the tasks on your list upon completion. This simple step gives you a huge feeling of accomplishment.
Tip No. 3: Keep Track of Caseloads Using Social Services Software
IT solutions can make any work easier by a thousand-fold, and this could not be truer for social workers dealing with 10 times more workload than what is easily manageable.
Talk to your team and leadership about integrating a human services case management software into the agency. It would allow you to automate tasks, while making the organizing, planning and implementation of these daily tasks easier. Overall, it would help to streamline caseloads, making you and your team more productive and less stressed.
Casework isn't simple, but it can be easier!
Helping social services agencies improve how they manage their data and outcomes is the "why" for FAMCare! To learn more about how our social services software works, please visit us at FAMCare.net or read about us on "What is FAMCare?"