Managing work - Workload management
This expands the focus beyond client-worker transactions and acknowledges that the worker operates within a professional environment of some complexity: welfare bureaucracies require considerable attention from their members. The team manager's role in managing practice is to help the worker:
- Be an effective participant in agency networks
- Recognise how these activities can provide a refuge from the emotional
onslaught of direct work.. Rather it looks at the whole work effort of
an individual within a particular setting. It takes account of the indirect
work such as professional meetings of various kinds, recording and communicating,
the additional activity required at the start and end of a piece of work.
- workers in multi-disciplinary settings may attend more meetings than in single agency settings
- day-care, residential and clinically-sited teams may have meetings that are direct client-based (e.g. ward rounds; hand-over sessions) and distinguished from administrative or business meetings
- services will have different rates of intake and re-referral/closure
This format allows you and the worker to estimate the range of work undertaken by an individual and the resources they require. This takes time consuming but necessary activities into account, and also indicates any effort that has become redundant or is duplicated. It allows for individual circumstances in teams where workers have differing spheres of responsibility (e.g. a Youth justice team, where one worker may primarily work with school age children, another with older adolescents) or differing work settings (for example in a hospital social work team where workers have different clinical attachments).
This focus will enable you to help the worker:
- see the overall pattern and rate of their work
- estimate appropriate timescales and apportioning of the various activities
- determine most effective use of time and effort
You and your team will need to know how much time is spent on what activity, decide whether this emphasis is the one you think most effective and from that of a team. It helps measure the resources used and available to a work group, it provides management information to all members of the team and to the wider organisation, especially if the system is operated across all teams providing the service. It works equally well for a team of mixed professionals, eg a CMHT, supporting the development of integrated team work, where some professional activities will become common and shared (eg. duty work) whilst still allowing for some discrete professional tasks.
It attributes weightings to a variety of activities and therefore will need to be adjusted to fit particular work environments. Weightings usually measure risk, decision making and complexity (that is the networks the worker has to initiate/negotiate).