Jutta Allmendinger on women’s politics: “I fight for options”

Coping with the pandemic demands a lot from women in particular. According to the sociologist, paid and unpaid work must be distributed more fairly.

Foto: Ute Grabowsky/getty

taz: Ms. Allmendinger, shortly after the first wave of the pandemic, you prophesied that Corona would cause women to experience “terrible retraditionalisation”. Do you still see it that way almost eight months later?

Jutta Allmendinger: Even stronger than then.


Studies on the first lockdown are now available in many disciplines. An article has just appeared on the so-called “mental load”, which shows from a psychological point of view that the stress factors in women – and only in women – increase to the extent that school closings and double burdens occur. Meanwhile, there is little change in men beyond the lockdown phase. In addition, women have reduced their working hours much more and have found it much more difficult to find their way back into the labor market after the initial lockdown.

Born in 1956, is a sociologist and president of the Berlin Science Center for Social Research. Her book “It only works together! How we can finally achieve gender equality ”has been published by Ullstein Verlag.

You have now published a book in which you describe what should have been different. What would that be?

In my book I draw from my personal point of view and over the decades what is actually happening in this country. My grandfather, my father, the father of my son: full-time work was and is the norm with them. Women have adapted their life courses more and more to those of men and still do that today. They take on more and more paid work. Men, on the other hand, have not changed their life histories.

How should the résumés be changed specifically?

I am an advocate of employment of an average 32-hour week, i.e. below the current full-time. But the central point for me is to divide the unpaid work more evenly between men and women. Because the inequality that we have had here for a long time is the reason that there are enormous differences in monthly income. This in turn results in extremely low pensions for women, which they often have to live with for 20 or 30 years.

When it comes to employment, shouldn’t women adapt to men, but men to women?

It is a mistake to let women simply accept men’s careers. We live in a society that needs a lot more commitment to others. Now the time has come when men, when they become fathers, no longer increase their workload – and women have to go part-time. Paid and unpaid work must finally be distributed more fairly.

There are studies that show that at least the extra work caused by Corona in heterosexual couple relationships was almost equally distributed between men and women.

These studies are about proportional gains. These can of course be higher from a low level than from a very high level. I use the term limit load: women simply can no longer shoulder their already high burden.

Many are currently working from home. You write that this makes it easier to combine work and family – but at the same time it is a trap for women. In what way?

The home office does not provide any impulses for change. And it will not contribute to a permanent reorganization of unpaid work. Those who are currently in better positions in the labor market can afford to work from home because they were present at the workplace beforehand and thus visible and thus got into good positions. But the others, especially women, are currently lacking the important visibility needed to get into management positions due to the home office.

How is it during parental leave?

Men should go up from the previous 2 parenting months to 4 and women from 12 to 8 months. Men would then have sole organizational and mental responsibility for the children for a certain period of time. That would have longer-term effects on the assumption of responsibility.

Then women would adjust to men again, shorten their parental leave and be available for longer on the labor market.

I am not making any suggestion as to how long parental leave should be. I’m just saying that it should be shared equally between mothers and fathers. As long as only women take the long break, little will change in the fact that women are less represented in management positions. Employers will always prefer those who are more available to the labor market.

The motto of your book is: We can only do it together. Who is we”?

On the one hand, couples themselves. I can only imagine a more equal distribution – I am actually mainly talking about heterosexual couples in this book – if the couples who say before the birth of children that they want to have a partnership also together work to achieve this goal. I can’t imagine a fight between mothers and fathers or something like that.

And on the other?

On the other hand, politicians must open up options and massively cut back the state incentives to keep women’s work low: abolish spouse splitting, increase quota and parental leave. Then women and men can still say they want to live a different model, that’s fine. But I fight for options.

Don’t you assume that a common goal of politics is to achieve gender equality? Many want to prevent exactly that, the splitting of spouses, for example, is not an issue at all.

That is exactly what we have to work on. I am not only against spousal splitting, I want to work out a concrete alternative and arrive at a family split that is fairer. Pressure is needed now.

What would such a family splitting look like?

The tax relief is not only applied if one of the two people earns little and the other earns a lot. But the number of people in the household must be taken into account. Then the new family splitting must be developed from the child benefit, the exemption amounts and the spouse splitting.

Do you see an opportunity in the next legislature to abolish splitting?

Yes. I see a maximum understanding among the women of the CDU that the splitting of spouses is very obstructive for intra-family negotiation processes, anyway with the SPD and the Greens.

The problem is likely to be the Union men.

The men did not consider the quota for women in management positions necessary either, and now it exists anyway. Last year, I actually appeared activist for the first time in my life. I’ve learned that you have to bring women from different sectors and age groups together to really create something.

The quota for women in management positions is: One woman on the executive board if it consists of at least three people. Who is that useful?

Jutta Allmendinger, sociologist

For me, the goal is that women can freely choose how they organize their gainful and unpaid work. The unequal distribution of unpaid work is a major driver of different living wages and pensions.

Indeed, this benefits women who have come a long way. Most important to me, however, is that successful women have to become a matter of course. We need a lot more role models so that young women can see that women also have leadership responsibilities in business or in the public sector.

The fact that women can be role models does not mean that they are fighting for socially fairer women’s politics.

That’s right, that’s why I didn’t say that. Women aren’t just hiring women, and I don’t want to tell women to do that either. But to see that it works is extremely important in a society like Germany’s.

In the current situation, wouldn’t it be more important to fight for better pay and fairer working conditions in nursing than for women in management positions?

I don’t want to weigh that against each other. That was a pragmatic first approach that we took – simply because it was part of the coalition agreement. It must now be possible to incorporate the things you have mentioned in the next coalition agreements. This of course includes better pay for systemically relevant jobs, which are mostly done by women.

You close your book with the words “We will win”. When is that the case?

For me, the goal is that women can freely choose how they organize their gainful and unpaid work. The unequal distribution of unpaid work is a major driver of different wages and pensions. In order to change that, false incentives have to be eliminated: the free co-insurance of marginal part-time employees, the splitting of spouses, the standardization of what a good mother is. Then this goal would be achieved.


Hubertus Heil on the home office debate: “A very clear message”

Hubertus Heil

The Federal Minister of Labor says: “I am serious about proposals.”

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has urgently appealed to employers to allow home offices wherever possible. “This is not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the Handelsblatt.

Many companies acted responsibly. But there are also those who arbitrarily refused to work on the move. “That is irresponsible,” said Heil.

The request to work from home if possible is also directed at the employees – even if he understands that many would like to see their colleagues again. But it is a question of responsibility, and the employees are also deceived.

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Incentive system for home office: Söder relies on the carrot instead of the stick

Incentive system for home office
Söder relies on the carrot instead of the stick

The introduction of home office requirements is out of the question for Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder. In order to encourage companies to work mobile during the corona pandemic, the CSU boss proposes an incentive system.

Bavaria wants to encourage companies to set up more home office jobs with tax breaks in the corona pandemic. Prime Minister Markus Söder rejected the obligation to work from home and instead proposed an incentive system. Companies should be able to write off the costs of home office equipment immediately. He strives for a nationwide regulation.

“Home office is a real opportunity and a necessity in the pandemic,” said Söder after a video conference with representatives from employers and trade unions. In a joint appeal, the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) Bavaria and the Association of Bavarian Business (VBW) called on companies to let as many employees as possible work from home in order to minimize the risk of infection. “Wherever possible, companies should give employees mobile work,” said the joint statement. You should check where there is “room for improvement”.

64 percent of the workplaces are “home office capable”

Söder said that, according to the VBW, 64 percent of the jobs at the companies are “home office-capable”. With the Bavarian state – the largest employer – it is half. “The motto is: More than before, wherever possible,” said the Prime Minister. He indicated that similar “home office summits” are planned in other federal states. DGB and VBW emphasized: “The high intensity of mobile work is currently an emergency measure.” How things will proceed after the pandemic must then be decided on the basis of current experience. “

On Tuesday, Bavaria made it mandatory to wear FFP2 masks in local public transport and in shops. This should prevent infections on the way to work, said Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger. People in need are to be given a total of 2.5 million of these masks – five per person – from the state’s holdings, which offer greater protection than the common mouth and nose masks.


Home office obligation yes or no? This is what the big employers say – business

Will the Federal Council send Switzerland back to the home office on Wednesday? He laid the foundations for this. He has given the cantons an obligation to work from home in the consultation process. Today only a recommendation applies. The duty should apply everywhere “where this is possible due to the activity and with a reasonable amount of effort”, as CH Media knows.

But is this duty even feasible – and how does the economy respond to it? Opinions differ. Juan Beer, the head of the Swiss business of the insurance company Zurich, is one of the proponents. “I am firmly in favor of anyone who can do their work from home, really can work from home,” he says. “It just doesn’t make sense at the moment for people to be forced to drive to their place of work when their presence there isn’t absolutely necessary. Here all employers are obliged to go over the books again and to exhaust their possibilities. “

Duty «not absolutely necessary»

Almost all Zurich employees are already in the home office: “It reduces the number of our contacts, provides more space for more safety in public transport and thus helps reduce the number of people infected with the virus.”

Heinz Huber, the CEO of Raiffeisen Switzerland, also advocates home office. “Health is my top priority,” he says. “Wherever sensible and possible, I therefore advocate working from home in order to minimize the risk of infection.” More than 90 percent of employees are already working from home.

Matthias Leuenberger, the country president of Novartis Switzerland, supports the previous recommendation for home office “with the possibility for employees to also use the official office space if they cannot work effectively at home or if they have to be present on site for critical tasks.” In his view, however, a general home office obligation is “not absolutely necessary”.

SBB, Post and Swisscom cautious

At Roche, around two thirds of the employees in Basel and Kaiseraugst work from home. Roche had already instructed employees at the end of October to only work on site if this was urgently necessary for the performance of their tasks.

State-affiliated companies are more buttoned up. At Swisscom it is said that 85 percent of employees work from home. Any obligation analogous to that of spring 2020 is “feasible”. The SBB point out that they have been promoting flexible working since 2015. Swiss Post announced that around 12,000 employees have had access to telework since last spring. Home office is not possible for everyone, after all, Swiss Post employs many employees in the branches, in sorting or in delivery.

Coop with praise for home office, Migros with low criticism of communication

The situation is similar for major distributors. At Coop, 90 percent of employees work in sales, logistics and production. Administration employees, on the other hand, should “work from home whenever possible,” says Coop. “We consider home office to be an effective protective measure in the pandemic and implement it consistently.”

At Migros, 75 percent work in professions for which home office is not an option. “For the minority who can work from home, the recommendation has been unrestricted since the outbreak of the pandemic, if possible and if it makes sense to work from home,” writes Migros.

But she does not say what she thinks of a duty – and lets through slight criticism of the communication. Migros only commented on decisions made – “but not the umpteen variants and possibilities that miraculously emerge from the Federal Council rooms every day.”


Corona in companies: working with the virus

The requirements for private contacts have been tightened further. But what happens in the companies to prevent infection? Four logs.

Landscape gardeners also have to wear a mask Photo: Caro / Bastian

The corona infection numbers remain high, 31,849 new infections and 1,188 deaths in Germany reported the Robert Koch Institute on Friday. The federal and state governments have tightened the measures to protect against infection in the private sector this week. But what is being done to prevent infection in the workplace?

There are various requirements for this: The Sars-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rule includes extensive measures, and the Federal Ministry of Labor’s Corona occupational safety standard also provides clear principles for companies. Employees should, as far as possible, work in the home office and not even come into the company. Where this is not possible, distances of at least 1.50 meters between employees and between staff and customers should be maintained at the workplaces. If this cannot be done organizationally, for example in assembly, masks must be worn.

“Transparent partitions” are to be installed when the public is open, according to the occupational safety standard. In the break rooms and in the canteens, tables and chairs should not be placed close together and no queues should be formed. The use of elevators should also be restricted.

The offices for occupational safety in the federal states and the employers’ liability insurance association are responsible for checking these measures. A “focus of work” has been placed on monitoring the corona measures, says Harald Henzel, spokesman for the State Office for Occupational Safety, Health and Technical Safety in Berlin. Checks are made without a specific reason or in response to complaints. However, the office’s staff was not increased.

While there was a lack of masks in many companies in the first lockdown, the equipment improved in the second lockdown, says Henzel. There are “surprisingly few complaints” from employees. The riskiest phase on a working day is possibly the journey by bus and train – hence IG Metall’s demand to allow home office as often as possible.


“The customer must be happy”

Markus Hedrich (name changed), 35, has been working for Amazon in the Leipzig logistics center for almost ten years. He’s been a union member for about as long.

The tazze, the logo of the taz.

This text comes from the taz on the weekend. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in the eKiosk or with a weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter.

“We are not adequately protected. There are areas in which the distance cannot be maintained. But Amazon doesn’t care either – ‘The package has to go, the customer has to be happy’ is the main goal.

There were always rumors about corona outbreaks at our location, allegedly a colleague of ours also died from it. But we don’t know anything about it. I think we need a lot more transparency and education about the areas in which corona cases have occurred. You don’t get precise information – and many are afraid of being infected.

Despite the corona pandemic, Amazon has discontinued massive amounts of Christmas aid, i.e. even more people in one shift. Over time, the company has made it mandatory to wear a mask – but of its own accord, without involving the works council. The works council then advocated designing the system in such a way that it would be more comfortable – for example by taking breaks. Currently there is one of 15 minutes a day, but that’s not enough. Working with a face mask is particularly stressful during physically strenuous activities. The operational issues are put above everything else. “


“We all wear masks at the factory”

Benjamin Kerschbaumer (name changed), 33, has been working at the BMW plant in Landshut since 2004.

“I work in the planning department and am responsible for the procurement of production systems, so my work takes place both in the office and in the production hall. We have over a hundred people working in the hall in one shift, and they can usually keep a good distance from one another because usually only one employee works on one component on each system. But when I work on a system, for example, I always do it together with the respective employee. In these cases, the minimum distance often cannot be maintained. But then we wear masks. In general, we all wear masks at the plant that we are only allowed to remove at our own workplace.

For me, the biggest change caused by Corona is the expansion of mobile work. So that the offices are not always fully occupied, anyone who can work from home can do the same. I often use it myself. At this moment, for example, I am sitting in the home office. Otherwise I work in an office with ten employees, where we have regrouped the workplaces so that the minimum distances are maintained. There is of course a restriction at lunch, as we can still go to the canteen, but can no longer sit together in the group there.

I feel adequately protected at BMW. Of course there are corona cases here too, the management informs us regularly about the situation. Some of my direct colleagues have already fallen ill, but luckily they all got through it well.

There was no corona bonus for us. However, I myself did not suffer any losses from Corona. Here in Landshut, only a relatively small number of colleagues had to take short-time work temporarily. “


“Many don’t want to work from home”

Ines Büdke (name changed) is in her early 50s and works in a Berlin tax office.

“In spring almost everyone was in the home office, although the office couldn’t provide enough technology and there weren’t enough certificates for access to the system. Most of them returned to office in the summer. However, we were asked if we wanted to apply for a regular teleworking position. I did that. You can now call me at home. In the beginning I called people, including taxpayers, from my private cell phone, of course we are not actually allowed to do that, but what should I do?

The technical equipment is still not entirely happy today. For security reasons we are not allowed to use external devices, and I still don’t have a printer. You have to ask the Berlin administration why! Whenever something had to be printed out, the few remaining attendants had to do it in the spring. At some point I went back to office, that was not to be expected of them! With a locked suitcase, I now drive back and forth several times a week with documents. Always at times when nobody else is there.

But you also have to say: It differs completely from line to line in the tax offices. There are some who had more teleworking positions from the start. But there are others too, because in the spring even the risk groups weren’t allowed to work from home. An absolute disaster.

Well, then everything is new again, and the measures should be tightened again. But many of us just don’t want to work from home. I would say we also have corona deniers in the team, that is dividing more and more. So now the infection numbers are significantly higher, but there are more people in office than in spring. The announcement came this week that we should reduce our presence again. But we do not consistently demand or control this. “


“A residual risk remains of course”

Matthias Janke, 53, is an exempt works council at Deutsche Post AG in Hagen. As a deliverer in DHL clothing, he delivered parcels himself until April 2020.

“The number of parcels has increased massively due to Corona. The Post, with its DHL brand, is of course very interested in ensuring that operations continue. So the colleagues have to stay healthy. Our employer has done a lot for this: We were provided with disinfectants and protective masks quickly after the outbreak of the pandemic. Upon request, we also got a water container and soap in the vehicle so that we could wash our hands in between.

Attempts are also being made to reduce contact with customers: it is no longer the recipients who sign on the scanners, but the deliverers. It looks like this: we ring the bell, put the package down and then step back two or three meters. So there is no longer any direct physical contact. But despite wearing a protective mask, there is of course a residual risk, for example when we meet people in stairwells.

Here in Hagen, we have only had 3 corona cases with around 100 employees – so hardly more than in the general population. Personally, I feared that it would be more, because each delivery person delivers around 120 customers a day. We were able to do rapid tests after every infection, voluntarily of course. Fortunately, no one was infected.

The parcel deliverers were really pleased about the corona premium of 300 euros, which Deutsche Post paid them as a token of appreciation. There was often no such thing with other delivery services that work with subcontractors and pseudo-self-employed. We are therefore repeatedly asked by these colleagues whether there isn’t a vacancy at Swiss Post – because with us a full-time single person earns 1,600 euros net when they join. But the deliverers work hard for that. “


Half of them cannot work at home (neue-deutschland.de)

You cannot operate the supermarket checkout from home.

You cannot use the supermarket checkout from home.

Photo: dpa / Frank Molter

Now that further contact restrictions to combat Covid-19 have come into force, social life has largely come to a standstill. But one area is almost entirely excluded from the measures: the world of work. The employers are “urgently requested to create generous home office opportunities,” it said in the decision of the federal and state governments last week. And on Monday, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil left it with appeals. “Arbitrarily refusing home office would now be irresponsible,” said the SPD politician in the NDR, but at the same time he emphasized that the point was “that our economy is kept going wherever possible.”

In large parts of the economy, going to the home office is not even possible because half of the population does not do any office work that could be done from home if necessary. According to the response of the federal government to a small inquiry from the left-wing parliamentary group, which is available “nd.derTag”, 53.7 percent of employees did not have any office work in 2018. While nine out of ten employees at banks and insurance companies work at their desks, it is only one in five employees in construction (22.6 percent) and in agriculture and forestry (19.8 percent), for example. In the manufacturing sector, too, less than half (42.3 percent) have an office job.

Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow therefore brought a tough lockdown – also for the economy – into play last week. “The mistake we made all over Germany was that we didn’t use December to actually send the general economy into a break,” the left-wing politician told the MDR. “Everything that is not essential to life or that cannot be systemically turned off should have been stopped for four weeks.”

The employers do not want to know anything about it. “That’s absurd. You can’t close all businesses, ”said employer president Rainer Dulger in an interview with the“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ”, when asked about the idea of ​​closing all businesses for two weeks. The people would have to continue to be cared for and the country kept going.

Instead, the head of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) passes the buck to the employees when it comes to infection: »Today I see at least one trend among my employees who work in the office that they like to come back to work after a long period at home the company comes to see colleagues again – only from a distance, but at least «, continues Dulger.

Jutta Krellmann makes such sentences angry. »Occupational safety is an employer’s duty, whether in the company or in the home office. Employer President Dulger no longer has all the cups in his cupboard when he shifts the responsibility onto the employees, “says the spokeswoman for the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag for co-determination and work to” nd “. The majority of employees cannot work from home at all. She also has a right to safe working conditions in the corona crisis. »We need protective measures at every workplace in order to break possible chains of infection there too. Companies that negligently endanger the health of their employees must be systematically shut down, ”explains Krellmann.

Verdi boss Frank Werneke also wants to make employers more responsible. Instead of just appealing to the companies, the federal government could “impose a clear regulation on the employers’ side with a more binding formulation that is in the interests of the employees,” said the unionist at the end of last week in favor of the magazine “Stern” Employers from enabling their employees to work from home in the coronavirus pandemic. But Werneke also warned of problems with home office: “Many people who work on the move have to improvise a lot, maybe they don’t even have enough space for a desk. Sometimes that works more badly than right. “

Left-wing politician Krellmann sees it this way: “Those who work in the home office are safe from Corona, but if in doubt they break their backs.” Musculoskeletal disorders, i.e. often suffering caused by sitting for too long, are already causing them 23.4 percent had by far the most sick days. This problem can be exacerbated if workers do not have proper office furniture at home. “Instead of working at the kitchen table, we also need proper workplaces at home,” says Krellmann. “Employers must provide the appropriate equipment.”


RIGHT TO HOME OFFICE: Göring-Eckardt calls for corona rules for the economy – WELT news channel

  1. RIGHT TO HOME OFFICE: Göring-Eckardt calls for corona rules for the economyWORLD news channel
  2. #MachtBueroszu – German Greens want to enforce home office with finesnachrichten.at
  3. Germany: Greens want to enforce home office with finesSmall newspaper
  4. Do companies have to do more in the fight against Corona?WORLD
  5. Warning of infections: do companies have to do more in the fight against corona?TIME ONLINE
  6. See “More on Topic” in Google News


What bosses and employees need to know

Office workers with mouth and nose protection

Employees and managers are only allowed into the office for a valid reason, as the federal and state governments decided on Tuesday.

(Photo: Unsplash)

Düsseldorf The lockdown in Germany is extended. The new measures are tough, admitted Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening. However, the continued high number of infections, the tense situation in hospitals and intensive care units and new mutations of the coronavirus have induced the federal and state governments to tighten the restrictions further:

These are the most important decisions:

  • In regions with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week, people are only allowed to move 15 kilometers away from their place of residence for “good reasons”.

  • Schools and daycare centers will remain closed and will only gradually open again at the beginning of February. Until then, students must attend classes from home. For parents of daycare children there is the option of emergency care.

  • As in spring 2020, people are only allowed to meet one other person who does not live in the household.

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Working from home, abroad and with salary in dollars: what profiles are they looking for, how much they pay and how to apply

Working from home, abroad and with salary in dollars: what profiles are they looking for, how much they pay and how to apply – ElDoce.tv

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The home office brings calm and strange smells

The author

Tillmann Prüfer is a member of the editor-in-chief of “Zeit-Magazin”.

So I’m staying at home. Much has been written about how one has come to appreciate one’s own home in the past few weeks. People who have always been on the road before and have been stressed about it all the time have finally been able to discover how beautiful the view from their own kitchen window is.

Of course, there are always disadvantages to working from home. For example, that the quality of the Internet connection at home decreases considerably when everyone else is also working from home and looking out the kitchen window. You finally come to the longed-for deceleration.

In the home office, you finally no longer have the problem that you have to be separated from your dear family members during working hours. So you can discuss with your boss whether you have to do a certain job – and at the same time with your own child whether they have to do a certain homework. Most of the time you do both.

The more time you spend in the home office, the less you understand why offices were built at some point. Whereby: I personally recently came up with another reason. In office buildings you don’t have to deal with the smell of decay that quickly. In my home office, yes.

I live in an old building – and in old buildings, you know, there are always unpleasant surprises. I felt the same when I heard a strange, sticky smell during a Zoom meeting. I had the feeling that the stench was coming from the wall. I thought of a rotting rat in a wall – or something. Or some animal, maybe a raccoon, that got lost in a cable duct.

Once you have noticed a bad smell, it is difficult to ignore it. Especially when you’re in lockdown. I considered the possibility that a sewer pipe was leaking. I called a plumber who told me to wait for wet stains to show up somewhere. There were none.

I considered buying scented trees. I have seen in psychological thrillers that murderers cover up the decay smells of the murdered. In the end I preferred to set up a smoker. The smoker had to work in piece.

Now, after two weeks, I smell it less. But I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve just got used to it – while the decay has already sucked into my clothes. Under these circumstances, I don’t even know whether I should wish for an end to the lockdown at all. When I leave the apartment people will think I’m an undead. I heard a cat is missing from neighbors in the house.

More: Smile or not – that’s a tricky question