The New Year can signal the start of some sort of change for many of us. A time for resolutions for some people and for others it often brings a new sense of determination or the desire to try something new.
In our home life this might mean:
Taking up a new sport or hobby
A determination to lose weight
Giving something up – smoking, alcohol, chocolate, meat perhaps
Changing your hair
Starting a new regime like making daily smoothies or taking a packed lunch to work perhaps
Sometimes these are big changes and sometimes only small, but there is certainly something about the New Year which makes this a time to start ‘something’.
This can equally apply to our work life.
Sometimes when we are working with clients we can get bogged down in paperwork and meetings. Sometimes we feel as if we have been using one approach forever and haven’t made any real measurable progress. Sometimes we wake up one day and realise we are just part of a system which isn’t making any bold attempts to think outside the box and try something new.
If you feel like this it might be a good time to make a change, even if it only starts as a small change, and there’s no better time than January to make that change.
Last month I talked about the issues we can have taking a break from work (link previous article to keyword), but, how taking that break can mean you come back more focussed and determined than ever and ready to try something new.
You don’t have to be a manager to create change - we can all do this.
You don’t need extra funding to try something new - just a new way of thinking.
So where do you start?
Here are a few things to think about:
Your desk-based tasks:
Organise your desk
Clear it of papers
Work out a system e.g. in/out/file for future papers
File lose paperwork and deal with anything outstanding
Organise your inbox, create folders and stick with the filing system, flag anything you need to keep your eye on
Give some thought as to how you can work smarter, can you come up with any time-saving mechanisms?
Get you diary organised – set reminders for tasks to ensure you complete them on time and aren’t distracted
Effective communication is vital in this field, we know that poor communication can cause a domino effect and can result in neglect, injury or even death, you only need to read a child abuse inquiry report to realise this – can you improve the way you communicate?
Instead of 20 emails with bits of information, aim for one or two informative emails
Are your lone worker communication policies effective? If not, revise them
Think about the way you speak to your colleagues, other professionals and your clients – do you need to alter the way you communicate, the method you use or the frequency of that communication?
Are your meetings effective and productive? If not, how can you change them to ensure time is not wasted?
Have you thought about trying a new approach with a client? Is what you are currently doing facilitating change or progress?
Is group work appropriate? Have you considered this?
Have you helped the client to identify other sources of support locally?
Are you helping the client to reach their full potential? What could you do differently?
Are you following a care plan that is appropriate or do changes need to be made?
Is there a concern you wish to voice?
What about working in pairs? Can you work smarter by working more closely with a colleague?
Your working day:
Could you bike or walk to work?
Could you car share?
What about changing what you eat for lunch…or even just trying to eat some lunch for once!
Can you take a break at lunchtime and go for a walk or swim?
Can you look into flexible working?
Can you try to leave on time for at least two days per week?
If you are a Support Worker, you may be working with a variety of clients including:
People with Learning Disabilities
Children with Emotional Behavioural Difficulties
People with Mental Health problems
Families under stress
Older people with a range of complex issues
What could you change about the way you work? Do you know enough about the client group you are working with or the individuals themselves? Can you find out more? Can you improve your knowledge in an area that will benefit your clients?
Give yourself the once-over with regards to your approach. Are you tactful, sensitive and positive? Maybe the change you need to make is something like trying to turn up on time for appointments, or your organisational skills?
One of the key skills needed to be a successful support worker is your ability to relate to and understand people from all backgrounds. If you can’t do this yet, there may be some areas you need to make changes.
Even if you can only make one small change, it is an important start to the process. Sometimes we get so caught up in a system or a routine that we don’t realise there is a much better one out there that we haven’t tried yet!
Let’s make January a time for a positive change – let us know how you get on!