Social Workers Changing Times

Young woman working from home

Social workers have seen changes to the way they work since the beginning of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

These changes, have since affected social work practice for example, the need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for those working in hospital setting and those in the community when visiting clients carrying out assessments.

The need for remote working, this being, moving away from close team contact and contact being electronical/virtual via zoom, skype and Microsoft teams communicating for supervision, meetings, training, as well as sharing knowledge and practice.

Remote working comes with its own challenges for example, not having the close therapeutic team contact or peer to peer physical support, and not having the real time ad-hoc case discussions or having unplanned informal supervision sessions or case discussions which are helpful to individuals and the team.

Other challenges include the need to carefully plan, ensuring that the working from home workers have the recommended workplace equipment since they will be using their home as an office e.g., chair, desk, and other electronic equipment needed as well as workplace safety assessment too.

Working from home means that the worker’s utility bills gas and electricity will be increased as well as the worker making use of their own wifi with no financial incentive or compensation.

Given the difficult economic and political times we are living at present it means that social workers are now worse off as they are battling, struggling to manage with the added strain of cost of living. Apart of keeping a job, the only incentive for social workers is knowing that they have made positive impact to the many lives of the people they support.

Social workers are working under huge pressures, with all the values and varied experience/knowledge, they cannot rely on their resilience alone but will need extra support to ensure they continue to make a difference to the many lives of people they support.

The expectation is for social workers to continue supporting vulnerable people even though they are also facing the same problems/hardships as most of the community members they support.

Social workers are also affected by hardship caused by poverty, increase in utility bills, food expenses and cuts to public services e.g., mental health and others service across the board. Without these services, it is difficult for social workers to effectively help/advocate for the many communities and individuals they support thereby leaving them frustrated or burnt out.

Given these and other challenges, how can social workers continue to be resilient as there is an expectation that resilient workers will empower others thereby helping them to create resilient communities and individuals too.

By Jaison Musindo