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A Day in the Life of a Social Worker: What You Can Expect

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If you’re thinking about becoming a social worker, you’ll want to know what a typical day looks like and the sort of tasks you’ll be carrying out. You’re in luck – that’s exactly what this post will be covering!

Social workers work with a variety of different people, providing support to those who are considered to be vulnerable and are dealing with a range of social, economic, emotional or behavioural problems in their daily lives.

There are various different types of social work but, for the most part, the day-to-day activities remain very similar across the board. That can include tasks that are as simple as performing administrative duties, to something more complex like working with an individual who needs advice on whether the CPS can drop charges.

In this post, we will be covering the various tasks a social worker will likely carry out during a typical day so you can get a better idea of what you can expect if you’re interested in pursuing a career in this rewarding field.

Who do You Work with as a Social Worker?

As a social worker, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a wide range of different people on a daily basis. Exactly who you’ll meet will largely depend on the specific type of work you’re carrying out, but you could meet:

  • Elderly people
  • Children with disabilities
  • People suffering with mental health problems
  • Young offenders
  • Adults with learning difficulties
  • People suffering from substance abuse
  • Refugees or asylum seekers
  • Families at risk of breaking down
  • Foster carers and adopters
  • Children who live apart from their families

As well as working with clients and their families, you’ll work alongside other social workers and agencies such as the police, local authorities, schools and the probation service.

Where do You Work as a Social Worker?

Social workers typically work in a variety of different settings, which means that they’re likely work in a variety of different locations, depending on the individuals they support.

Social workers may be based in a hospital or healthcare centre, a central office or even work remotely. Some social workers may travel to meet their clients which means they’re never in the same place for more than a few hours!

What Work do Social Workers Carry Out on a Daily Basis?

The individual schedule of a social worker is likely to vary, depending on a number of different factors. These might include the amount of paperwork, staff meetings and number of clients they have. That being said, there various tasks which tend to be carried out on the majority of days, including:

Meeting with Clients

Meeting and liaising with clients takes up a lot of what social workers do on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t just mean simply meeting up with them in person to interview them and check in on their progress. It also means arranging appointments with various resource providers, signing them up to appropriate classes and getting their perspective on what progress they’re making.

In whatever way a social worker meets with a client, and no matter what topic is covered, the universal aim is always to listen, provide relevant insight and ultimately improve that person’s quality of life. This may be in response to a single event, such as a divorce or job loss, or an ongoing issue such as an addiction or illness.


Credit: Adolfo Felix via Unsplash

Advocating for Clients

For many social workers, advocating for clients is a key element of social work. It may be on a personal level, advocating for a victim of domestic violence, or for children in abusive homes. Public advocacy work includes providing a voice and raising awareness for clients, a specific issue, or perhaps even the social work profession as a whole.

Admin Tasks

As with almost any profession, there is a certain level of admin that needs to be completed every day in social work. This might involve responding to emails, creating a monthly schedule, writing up notes from client meetings, and sorting out paperwork.

It’s certainly not going to be the most rewarding or engaging part of the job, but it’s just as important as anything else. Being organised is an incredibly important trait for any successful social worker, so carrying out administrative tasks effectively and efficiently is absolutely vital.

Professional Development

Social workers are always provided with the time and opportunity to continue their professional development. This means their skills and knowledge are constantly kept up to date so that they can critically reflect on the impact this has on their ability to meet the needs of their clients.

As an example, social workers in England are required to meet Social Work England’s professional standards relating to Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers undertake throughout their career to maintain and improve their workplace performance. By undertaking CPD, a social worker is demonstrating to the public, their regulator, and their employer that they are upholding the professional standards expected of them.

Being on Call for Emergencies

Social workers are often responsible for responding to some of the urgent events that occur in their client’s lives. This means they always need to be ready to respond to emergencies. It’s fair to say that crises of this nature aren’t a daily occurrence, but social workers always need to be able to respond at a moment’s notice.

Since a social worker’s job role is to help various different types of people deal with issues in their lives, this includes being there for them when they are most needed.


Credit: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Are You Interested in Becoming a Social Worker?

In this post, we’ve covered what a typical day in the life might look like for a social worker, as well as discussing some of the tasks they might carry out on a daily basis.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a social worker and you have any further questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!