The number of staff is commensurate with the work at hand when the qualitative and quantitative goals of the work can be achieved within working hours.
Work has a physical, psychological and social dimension that need to be balanced to avoid an excessive workload.
In social services, an excessive workload often manifests itself as too much work in relation to the responsibilities and demands involved, and the amount of work being too large to complete within working hours.
Social welfare work is multifaceted and dependent on many factors outside the social worker themself. Work can be carried out in many different ways; there is no one single way to achieve a good result.
Talentia has defined two workload indicators:
1) Indicator of the distribution and use of working hours, shown by the amount of tasks in the calendar for a day, week or month: the 60/40 model
60 % direct client work: preparation, planning, decision-making, documentation, reporting, cooperation, or consultation for a certain client or client group
40 % development work, indirect client work: cooperation, networking, development, advocacy, planning, general reporting and communication, continuing education, or work counselling.
2) Indicator and recommendation for a maximum number of clients
The number of clients is affected by many different factors, including the intensity of work and the clients’ varying service needs, different change and rehabilitation goals, opportunities for consultation, and time limits imposed by legislation, i.e. the social guarantee.
In early childhood education, the staff/children ratio and employee structure are defined by legislation.
Talentia’s staff dimensioning recommendation
A social worker should not be responsible for the affairs of more than 40 children.
Are you aware of the purpose and goal of your work? Are you aware of your working hours? Are you able to fulfill the demands of your job within the time available? Do you think your workload is appropriate (too much – not too much, not too little – too little work)? What would be better and why?