No one would argue with the statement that the last 18 months have been challenging for workers.
But it's also been a very, very challenging time for managers. The strategies they developed to keep working flowing on their teams, deal with obstacles and help employees stay engaged have flown out the window. Now, these managers are dealing with workers working remotely, or in a hybrid situations. Team members they've relied on in the past have left for other positions. Workers are more stressed and it's up to managers to figure out how to relieve that stress and keep them moving forward.
It's a big ask.
But it may be easier for managers if they stop obsessing about the clock and how long it takes for someone to get a task done, and instead focus on how team members best get work done.
For example, a working parent may be most productive between the hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m., when the kids are off to school and he/she has had time to get a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and focus on work. Or, a young, single employee may work best from noon until 9 p.m. as he/she likes to go on a long bike ride before work and doesn't mind working later into the evening.
When a manager is focused on the clock instead of how quality work gets done, they may be getting work delivered -- but it's not as well done. That increases the stress on the team and on the manager.
Instead of trying to force your work pace on team members, try to let them choose when they work best and how they can meet goals. While there will certainly always be deadlines, letting team members have more leeway in their work flow can help relieve a burden on employees and managers.