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Remote Work Tips for Social Workers

Here at Network Ninja (the software company that develops Collaborate), we’ve been fully remote for many years. Fifty of us are spread out across the United States and Canada, but the physical distance doesn’t negatively impact our work - in fact, we relish the freedom of working from home offices and co-working spaces.

map of usa with pins where network ninja people live and work.

Here are some best practices for remote work that we’ve learned over the years, and how you can apply them within Collaborate. If you follow these guidelines, your new remote working days will flow much easier.

1. Stay On Schedule

Don’t have to report to an office at a specific time anymore? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep your usual work schedule intact. When you start your work on time, odds are, you’ll finish on time, too.

Apply it in Collaborate

Calendar view screenshot.

Use the built-in Calendar to see all your daily events at a glance.

Plus, Schedule Services for yourself and others in advance - you’ll thank us later when all you need to do is mark them as Completed!

2. Over-Communicate with Your Coworkers

You’re probably used to turning to a coworker sitting next to you to ask them a question, or walking over to their office for a quick chat. In a remote work environment, that’s no longer possible, but you can smartly leverage technology to keep communication flowing within your organization. The more information you’re sharing, the better - as long as it isn’t PHI via insecure means.

Apply it in Collaborate

Case message screenshot.

The Message Center makes secure communication with your MDT simple. With just a few clicks, you can send an encrypted message to any User in your Collaborate site, allowing you to avoid common pitfalls like sending PHI via email.

Pro tip: In each message, you can reference Cases by searching for them by name, and inserting a link to that Case in your message.

3. Organize Your Daily Tasks

When you’re inundated with work (as social workers often are), staying organized is critical. A great way to start your day is by making a to-do list and triaging the most important items.

Apply it in Collaborate

Daily tasks screenshot.

Built-in Tasks functionality lets you create Tasks for yourself or other Users. You can also set Reminders with optional due dates.

With Assignments, you can stay on top of who is working on what, while you assign Cases and Services to yourself and others. Like Tasks, your Assignments will show up on your homepage for easy visibility.

4. Go Paperless

It may no longer be possible to have Clients or their non-offending caregivers come into your facility to physically sign off on important Documents, like Consent Forms. That doesn’t mean you have to mail them out, though - instead, use smart integrations to save time and money.

Apply it in Collaborate

Handheld device with docusign app.

The Document Templates Optional Module lets you capture Client-specific info on a Document automatically - for example, pre-populating Consent Forms with Name, Address, and other details.

Collaborate Signatures is another Optional Module that allows Clients and Service Providers to remotely sign Documents. It’s easy, cost effective, and secure.

Speaking of costs, consider this: the average U.S. social worker makes $23 an hour, and has to spend about 30 minutes per document finding, printing, sending, receiving, checking, scanning, and filing a single signed document. That means your organization spends over $11 for each and every document you get signed.

Average document signing cost chart.

Collaborate Signatures integrates and automates this entire process - saving lots of time and money.

A Few More Remote Working Tips

  • Chat is important - Email is fine for items that don’t need immediate responses from coworkers, but we find that Slack works best when you need something from a colleague quickly (it’s also great for group discussions).
  • Dress for success - Putting on your normal work clothes will put you in “work mode.” We won’t judge you if you stay in pajamas once in a while, though.
  • Create a solid workspace - Try to carve out your own quiet space to get work done in. This includes using a proper office chair, not something like a dining room chair, which could ruin your back after sitting in it for 8 hours. If you live with others, a door is key.
  • Take frequent breaks - Stand up, walk around the house, and stay hydrated (bonus points for stretching and air squats).
  • It’s ok to feel overwhelmed at times - If you haven’t worked from home before, there will certainly be an adjustment period. It takes some getting used to, but you’ve got this.

Hopefully these pointers help you adjust to the remote work environment that so many advocates are still acclimating to. If you have any questions about working remotely, or want to learn more about Collaborate, reach out to us.

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Your Cases, Your Clients, Your Workflow

Collaborate software running on a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone.

Collaborate is customizable case management software for non-profits and social services agencies.

  • Track Case information, from Intake, providing Services, setting Goals, to recording Outcomes.
  • Efficiently access Case history, medical exams, test results, custom Reports, and more.
  • Tap a single, secure, HIPAA-compliant, easy-to-use, web-based platform for all your Case management needs.

Who's Using Collaborate

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia

Member of the National Children’s Alliance, The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia, Inc. is Georgia’s statewide membership association of 50 local children’s advocacy centers.

CACGA Client Story

  • Dozens of networked Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs), each with own private customizable instance
  • CACs able to search through entire state database of clients, caregivers, and offenders
  • Statewide reporting
  • Mix of Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) and non-MDT children’s advocacy centers
  • 500+ users, years of case data, tens of thousands of cases, hundreds of thousands of services

South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

SCCADVASA is the statewide partnership of organizations providing services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in South Carolina.

Members include rape crisis centers and women's shelters throughout the state, serving clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Dozens of member organizations, many cross-trained with partner CACs
  • Cross-trained Users can quickly switch between DV/SA and CAC sides
  • Hotline Intakes, with ability to easily change Case type for full Intakes later
  • Optional Modules include Batch Simple Services, Document Queue, and Document Templates

LifeBridge Health's Center for Hope

LifeBridge Health's Center for Hope is a comprehensive violence prevention and intervention agency. Programs include child advocacy, domestic violence, community violence, and elder justice for survivors, caregivers, and communities.

  • Referral Module to manage internal and external Referrals, across Programs
  • "1-Click" VOCA Report to easily meet funding requirements
  • Custom Services for Treatment Plans, Clinical Assessments, and Forensic Interviews

Douglas County, Nebraska

Three human services departments of the Douglas County, Nebraska municipal government run on Collaborate, each with their own tailored software implementation.

DCGA Client Story

  • No need for additional systems or network administrators
  • No software to install
  • Lightning fast, with as much bandwidth, processing power, and storage as you need
  • Access from anywhere, any time

The Spot / Project Ark

The Spot / Project Ark is a cooperative focusing on social justice and health care for at-risk youth.

The Spot / Project Ark Client Story

  • Collaborate facilitates all data management and reporting for SPARK
  • Medical services, mental health counseling, sexual and reproductive health services
  • Work development / workforce coaching services
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Fully electronic medical records, charting, even immunization records

Substantial Cost Savings

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami (CCADM) was established in 1931 to serve impoverished families during the Great Depression. Since then, CCADM has grown to offer a diverse slate of Services in the Miami area, including alcohol & substance abuse treatment, child development, behavioral health, elderly assistance, homelessness, and help for immigrants & refugees.

  • Universal Intake to facilitate a quick implementation
  • Custom workflow allows Clients to have several open Cases at once
  • Reporting for over 40 distinct Service offerings across dozens of sites
  • Optional Modules include Batch Simple Services, Case Review, and Class Management

View Clients

Benefits of Using Collaborate

Cut out the Paper

Let Collaborate do the heavy lifting. Collaborate adjusts to your workflow and processes, not the other way around.

“Prior to Collaborate, we were using paper charts…”

See what The Spot has to say about Collaborate vs. Paper.

  • Use your existing forms, electronically
  • No more boxes of folders, no more spreadsheets
  • Clients can sign documents using smartphones, tablets, or computers
  • Save everything in one place

Fully Customizable

Don’t mess with a good thing - keep your workflows where they work, use our templates where they can be improved upon.

“…it’s like partnering with architects, engineers, and systems designers!”

See how we went above and beyond with Casa de Salud’s customizations.

  • We’ll customize and configure Collaborate for you, good to go at launch
  • Afterward, as requirements change, make configuration changes on your own
  • Grant requirements change frequently, so can Collaborate’s reports
  • Our expert software developers can accommodate your specialized requirements

Fast and Secure

Directly on the Internet backbone, and actively monitored for security, so you’re safe and sound.

Assist America uses Collaborate’s admin capabilities to configure who can access Collaborate from where, and even automatically lock accounts if something suspicious is happening.

  • High-grade encryption
  • Users can be granted access to what they need, only
  • Stable and scalable platform
  • Hourly backups means disaster avoidance
  • HIPAA compliant


Hosted and maintained by us, for you.

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia and SCCADVASA both make use of Collaborate’s cloud-based nature to allow users spread across a large area to access their database securely, using a web browser. Assist America does it worldwide.

  • No need for additional systems or network administrators
  • No software to install
  • Lightning fast, with as much bandwidth, processing power, and storage as you need
  • Access from anywhere, any time

Easy to Use and Understand

Developed and constantly improved upon, since 1998, we take our clients feedback seriously. Easy to use, even for the most technology-averse.

Our userbase is diverse, but most are not organizations that traditionally rely heavily on technology. Take a look at how some of our features work, simple and straightforward.

  • Intuitively designed interface
  • Simple to navigate
  • Dedicated support staff to assist
  • Online support & issue reporting

Substantial Cost Savings

Software is a tool to help you perform better, with less effort. Let it handle the grunt work and tedium, allowing you to focus on your real goals.

“…making for a highly efficient client experience and delivery of services…”

See how Collaborate streamlined The Center’s processes and reduced overhead.

  • Significant reduction in organization communication overhead
  • No annual or "per seat" license fees
  • Increased productivity and lower administrative costs
  • Reports that used to take weeks now take seconds!

Try Collaborate Now

Contact Us for a Demo