Design

Have a Loving Weekend.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim readers! What are you up to this weekend? My dad is visiting Brooklyn, so I’m taking tomorrow off to hang out with him. We’re planning to walk around the neighborhood and make a seafood dinner. Hope you have a good one, and here are a few fun links from around the web…

Many readers have asked for our book recommendations in one place, so here you are! (There’s a “books” tab on the top right of our homepage.) We’ll keep adding to it.

Half-renovated houses.

There’s a perfect number of days to work from home, and it’s two. (The Atlantic.)

My go-to spring nail polish.

People are sharing what’s common in their country and not in others. “In Argentina, there’s a tradition where if a lost child is found at the beach, an adult will pick them up on their shoulders and go up and down the coast clapping. People on the beach will also clap with them, so the parents will more easily find their child.”

Life in Looks is a fun series — here’s Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek.

Where do you fall on the Pantone pee chart?

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to start over. (The Atlantic.)

The dish I bring to every potluck.”

Meet America’s newest chess master: 10-year-old Tanitoluwa Adewumi!

Fun news: Winc, the wine subscription service, is offering free shipping on 4 bottles for $29.95 for new customers. We love their Sauvignon blanc. (Discount automatically applied at checkout.)

Plus, three reader comments:

Says GE on when did you know it was love: “When? Right this year. Whilst in lockdown, alone. Somewhere in the middle of all this mess, at the ripe old age of 39, I fell in love… with myself.”

Says S on when did you know it was love: “I saw my husband across the room at a party and I just knew with a certainty that I had only felt once before — when I met my dog. My husband does not appreciate this comparison, but both of my experiences with love-at-first-sight really worked out for me.”

Says Ellen on 12 reader comments: “I have never felt more alive than when I started skipping a couple of years ago. I am not a runner, and walking is good but I wanted something more cardio. Here’s what works for me: cardio clothes, an upbeat playlist, a flat open space (like a parking lot) and the willingness to skip. I do get quizzical looks and lots of smiles — it’s really freeing. And an added bonus, I am over 50 and it doesn’t hurt my knees.”

(Photo by Melissa Male.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Adilah says...

    Oh wow. This is the first time I’ve seen an Eid wish on CoJ in over 10 years of reading this site — I could be wrong. Did a double take and had to read twice to make sure I was reading right. Thank you for the wishes.

  2. Sanaa Murray says...

    Eid Mubarik! Meant a lot to me that you wished us all (although I’m a week late on my CoJ catch up!)

  3. Kami says...

    I cannot stop laughing at that Pantone Pee Chart referring to drinking water as “additional cups of plain water” that we shouldn’t need because we get what we need from food and other beverages. Hahaha

  4. shopgirl says...

    I love this nail polish too, natural nails looks so nice, but it’s priceeey…

  5. Megan J Swain says...

    Wishing everyone the right to live in happiness, safety, and peace, regardless of their religion. I hope you and your families stay safe and well. Sending love.

    • NM says...

      Love.

  6. Grace says...

    I think the sign of gentrification is that there is more apparent wealth on one side vs. the other. Duplexes in general are not a sign of gentrification, but if one side has occupants who have been there a long time and is outwardly crumbling/outdated/etc. while the other side houses a newer wave of occupants and is renovated/added on to/modernized it becomes sort of a visual representation of gentrification.

  7. Brooke says...

    The Argentina lost child tradition is so dear!

    And I’m absolutely over the moon you’re linking to Bookshop! Thank you for being such a collaborative thoughtful team.

  8. K says...

    Life in Looks is so fun! I love the texture and tactility of the way they talk about their outfits. Look forward to gradually working through the series!

  9. Alana says...

    I just came here to say that, despite not being a frequent reader anymore, after 9 years your blog post “The Hardest Two Months of My Life” continues to help me cope with some hard moments of life. Lots of love.
    Alana from Brazil

  10. That Vogue series is fascinating — a great idea. I’m just disappointed to note that only 2 out of the 17 women are POC. There are so many incredible Black, Latin, AAPI style icons out there. C’mon, Vogue, step it up!

  11. JayNay says...

    The half-renovated homes are a bit misleading, here’s more context: I’m German and in Germany it’s quite common to have a bigger house split into two units like this. It’s called a Doppelhaushälfte (“half of a double-house”). In also very typical German fashion, the owners of each of the sides often make competing building and design choices. So you will see a Doppelhaus with different roofing on each side, different window styles and different paint colors. It’s weird and very typical!

    • Hanna says...

      That’s what I thought reading the article (also a German :)

  12. Robyn says...

    I would like to add two books: Migrations by Charlotte Mac Conaghy. It a very quiet book but that’s what I appreciated about it. The other is Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.

    • Chloe says...

      Loved that book! (I think it was called The Last Migration outside the US). One that really stuck with me.

  13. Jen says...

    Love the delightful skipping comment! Nothing brings me more joy than watching my four-year-old boy skip across the playground to join his friends when I drop him off at preschool in the morning. ❤️

  14. Anna says...

    I grew up in Colombia SA. As a toddler I was lost in an open air market, lifted ontop of a stranger’s caring shoulders and a group proceeded to gather around me with clapping!!! I haven’t thought about that memory in a long time.

  15. Rosalie says...

    Skipping! I love it so much. What fun!

  16. Gretchen says...

    I’ve decided that my post-pandemic change is being a person who shows up on time or early to things. As a chronic late person, I figure it’s time to make that shift! I’ve been able to do it for work the past couple of weeks and it’s really made a difference in my morning mood.

  17. Marilyn says...

    You should link to the original Reddit post about What is Normal in Your country. Buzzfeed rips off Reddit creative content all the time and I hope you don’t support that…

  18. Amirah says...

    I’m Muslim and this year’s Eid has been a subdued one. Our hearts are heavy over the suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are being lynched in the streets and shelled- on top of already living under occupation and siege. We’re planning on attending local protests to show our support.

    • Anna says...

      Thanks for sharing Amirah. Sending love.

    • Aly says...

      I’m Jewish and this year’s Shavuot is going to be a subdued one as well. We live in Tel Aviv and Hamas has been indiscriminately shooting thousands of rockets at our highly populated civilian area. We run to the bomb shelter every few hours during the night, and we cannot leave our tiny apartment during the day due to the possibility of rockets. I took my sleepless children on a brief walk outside on Thursday so that could breathe some fresh air and several moments later, the sirens sounded as rockets landed in Tel Aviv. We all sprinted to a bomb shelter in a nearby building while the children screamed, cried, trembled and urinated on themselves in fear.

      Wishing you a peaceful Eid, and wishing myself a peaceful Shavuot, and praying that a ceasefire is achieved immediately.

    • E says...

      Amirah, my heart is with you and with Palestine. I hope for an end to the settler-colonial state that creates such violent conditions and lasting trauma for everyone involved.

    • Jessica says...

      Sending love and support, Amirah.

    • Sarah says...

      My thoughts are with you both, Amirah and Aly. No one should have to live under such terror.

      Wishing you both love and peace xxx

    • Joy says...

      Aly, I see and hear your experience, too. Praying for ceasefire, courageous leadership, and peace.

    • Kate says...

      The ideology used to justify Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is not Judaism, it is Zionism. It is not complex or controversial to state the simple fact that Israel’s occupation and bombing of the Palestinian people are illegal and unjustifiable acts of violence.

    • NM says...

      Hoping for peace for Aly and Amirah.

    • NM says...

      A quick note for those using the word “colonialism”. That word implies that Israel’s population are all people who came from outside to colonize the region. But there has been, for centuries, a significant Jewish population in Israel/Palestine. (Really for millennia). They are, in fact, INDIGENOUS people of the region. And in 1948 when Israel became a state, there was a large influx of regional Jewish ARABS who had been expelled from neighboring countries like Iraq, Morocco, Yemen. And came to Israel as Jewish refugees, and lived in refugee camps. My own family was expelled from their ancestral homeland in Turkey. So let’s not oversimplify in the name of supporting the Palestinian people. Whom I do strongly support, and wish for them a safe and secure homeland.

  19. Candy says...

    The Vogue Life in Looks is wonderful — Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Dolly Parton, in particular. Such warm, funny, positive women.

  20. Tania says...

    I enjoyed that Gwyneth Paltrow video a surprising amount. It was so nostalgic and she was pleasantly boozy? and it was just kind of delightful.

  21. Cynthia says...

    Have a wonderful visit with your Dad! I know Toby and Anton are excited to see their Grandpa, and these are moments to cherish.

  22. K says...

    Eid Mubarak, Cup of Jo! And also hope you’re having a wonderful time with your family.

    Re: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Start Over”

    I had a recent conversation with a friend who said he wasn’t content with where his life was at, but if you talked to him in person he always had a generally cheery disposition. He said he realized his existential discontentment was because he wanted to strive for “more”, but he had surrounded himself with friends that didn’t seem to (despite their verbal lamentations). He thought he could always seek self-improvement regardless of environment, and be loyal to his friend circle (and perhaps hope that they come around). But the fact is a person is the average of the people they choose to regularly interact with. Not only will that same environment be unlikely to compel him to change, but he misses out on motivation and inspiration and advice that would come from surrounding himself people that are “smarter” (in whatever smarts he’d like) than him.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApoxLQuk06s&t=318s

    “During pre-pandemic life you might have said, “I like my job,” and “I like my social life.” Maybe you meant it, and maybe you didn’t: Social scientists have long shown that most people are inveterate liars, and might be even more adept at lying to themselves. Either way, it was certainly convenient to say your life made you happy, wasn’t it? Researchers find that people who hold unpopular views usually keep them private or “live lies” to avoid conflict. I am willing to bet that in some areas of your pre-pandemic life, you were also deceiving yourself to avoid rocking your own boat. But then your boat was capsized by the coronavirus.”

    It is such a precious opportunity to be honest with what we really need and want. I totally believe the idea that if we go after a genuine purpose, we are more satisfied people, and satisfied people send great positive ripple effects into the world and also get to receive them.

  23. Sadie says...

    The skipping comment made me realize I do something a little bit similar. At the end of a long ski day, I like to ski silly for a bit. Going around tiny trees and acting like they are a slalom, squatting super low and acting like an egg…you get it. Adding play to exercise is so important!

  24. Sadie says...

    Skipping!

  25. Mikaela says...

    Oh my gosh, the skipping comment! When I’m alone on the trail, I like to “dance-run” to my playlist, which involves a lot of skipping, hopping and spinning. I’ve even googled this to see if its a thing, can’t really find anything. I am more inspired now to find an empty parking lot or just not care what others think.

  26. Lisa says...

    My ideal working from the office is maybe 2 days a month. I worked in an open plan office (with a tv on as well to add to it) and I could not concentrate. I am so easily distracted, it was impossible. Also, until recently the people I worked with the most were all in different countries so me being in the office made very little difference in terms of interaction with my team. We haven’t heard anything yet about return dates etc (some people are already in) but I’m seriously hoping we can choose to wfh a lot. I spend more time with my children and husband, I can wear workout clothes and then go for a quick run as a break, listen to whatever music I like when I like and concentrate and switch off chats and email if I need to. I couldn’t switch off my colleagues

    • Angela says...

      My company just announced there will be a return after Labor Day. My department was 100% WAH, and they send out a survey to see what people want to do. 1-2/month was my request. I want to go in when it adds value. My team will probably all do the same. The problem is, when managers all start showing back up, then the culture says being in office is important. I wonder how long before we slip right back there?

  27. Amelia says...

    Ahhhhh thank you so much for the book tab!! I think I was one of the people that asked about that at one point – it looks great and I can’t wait to make use of it!

    • Amelia says...

      (And extra thanks for linking to bookshop.org!!)

    • Tia Chambers says...

      I think some are missing – like You Should Talk to Someone and Nothing to See Here (unless I am somehow not seeing the full list on my browser).
      Also happy to see most of them in one place!

  28. Jess. says...

    Where I come from (a small town in Montana), it is common to stop your car in the middle of the street to chat out your window to someone in a car passing the other way, like people would stop in the middle of the sidewalk to chat here in NYC (bless them). Everyone else just drives around the stopped cars.

  29. karen says...

    Thank you for the book tab! Great addition! Your team’s recs are always a hit!
    Exclamation point!

  30. shahnnen says...

    Just here to cheer on Ellen! KEEP UP THE SKIPPING, FRIEND!

  31. Agnes says...

    Can I just say thank you for this blog? Maybe I’m feeling extra love because a comment of mine was featured (ee!! Hearts!!) but in this often unforgiving world, notes of grace are so, so appreciated. Thank you!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      <3 <3 <3

  32. Cymbidy says...

    Life in Looks: Catherine O’Hara!!! National treasure (she said, as a Canadian). <3

  33. Jess says...

    Just a friendly note to flag up that when CoJ links to products from Sephora they never load properly for me here in the UK – I get taken straight to the homepage. Not sure if it’s the same for other non-US readers, but thought I’d mention it :) Have a great weekend!

    • Kate says...

      As a Canadian, I always have this issue with links to J Crew, and some other shopping sites, as well. Today’s Sephora link just says the product is not available :(

    • Deb says...

      I came here to say this! :-D

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh sorry! it’s Dior nail glow.

    • courtney says...

      I work internationally quite a bit, and being from the States, I never say I’m ‘American’. Especially if I’m speaking with people from, say Mexico or Colombia, it sounds almost comically presumptuous to distinguish myself from others from the Americas by claiming ‘American’. I just say I’m from the U.S. or the States.

    • mado says...

      I think it’s the fault of the brand website, it seems like some websites first check your location and may redirect you based on that. It’s happened to me with links from different places.

  34. Jules says...

    Have you ever tried a treadmill side-skipping exercise? It SO much fun and gets the sides burning. You just start out slow, put the incline up really high, and listen to a fun fast paced song (also, be careful). It has always been my fave at home workout.

    Personally, I’ve found the best number of days to WFH is 5! I feel so bad for my coworkers who miss the office a lot, but man do I love it. I could do this forever.

  35. Oh my gosh, Ellen, your skipping comment! I relate so much and also it reminds me of that woman, 20ish years ago, who went viral with her “prancercise” video. Anyone else remember her? I feel like skipping and prancing is a form of exercise I could really embrace right now!

    • Ellen says...

      Gaia, do it! ( please ;) )
      Just think how much added joy and levity there would be in the world and the delightful (if wacky) example set for kids, if more “grown ups” were skipping and prancing! This past year has been so thunkingly dull and heavy. Oh the brightness of emerging from it mask-less (really CDC?… OK!), smiling, AND skipping!
      I am embarrassed to admit that I will have to remember how to skip before I can join the “movement”, that’s how heavy and dull it’s been around here.
      – A different, less magical Ellen

    • Mikaela says...

      Prancercise!!! Amazing! This is what I was hoping for when I googled “dance running.” Thank you!

    • Emily says...

      That prancercise video was so hilarious when it came out! I forgot about it but I totally remember it now. So funny.

  36. Sarah K says...

    I liked the thing about the different countries but some of them didn’t list what country they were talking about. Now I am hanging in suspense….
    Love the photo on this post- so lush.

  37. Agnès says...

    CoJ Book Shop! what a great news! I love it. (and I can totally picture the brick and mortar Cup of Jo Bookshop.) I think (hope) it’s going to become an important part of your blog.

    I know it’s not your title, so I’m not blaming you, but the “Meet America’s newest chess master”, shocked me. I thought it was really America’s chess master, when it’s really the USA chess master.
    As a European, I find it crazy that northamericans call their country by the name of a whole continent (it’s not correct, that’s all).
    Have a good week-end every body, it’s rainy in Paris (and I’m a bit in a bad mood).

    • Jean says...

      America is the name of the country. USA = United States of America.
      The continents are North and South America– Canada is also part of North America, so saying America when referring to the USA does not cover the entire continent.
      England also goes by many names, The UK, Britain, etc. No different than using America as short hand for The United States of America.

    • Lisa says...

      The comment on England is not correct. The official country (as recognised by the UN) is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (it’s what printed on the passports for eg), the U.K. for short. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the four nations that make up the U.K. Britain would be the bigger island, so excluding Northern Ireland, which means The northern Irish do get offended (to an extent) that the UK’s Olympic team is sometimes called team GB. There is a U.K. government which sits in Westminster (in London, though it is kind of a city in its own right). In addition, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own devolved parliaments that have jurisdiction over more local matters. Only the U.K. Parliament can decide on things like taking the country to war. Within each of the four nations you also have counties or regions, eg in Scotland you have Fife, Strathclyde, England you have Sussex, Cumbria, Lancashire (some of which are loosely based on the borders of ancient kingdoms). Next level down you have councils, and for each council (for U.K. Parliament), there is an elected member of parliament (equivalent to the House of Representatives in the USA). Above that is the House of Lords, who aren’t voted for. Either they’re appointed by the prime minister or they hold hereditary seats.
      It is really annoying (and I imagine even more so for people from Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) when England, Britain and the U.K. are used interchangeably. It would kind of be like if someone used Texas and the USA interchangeably.

    • Robyn says...

      Jean – good explanation, but as a Scot I have to point out that England/UK/Britain are not synonyms and unequivocally refer to different things which all British people (English or otherwise) know the difference between. Using England to mean the UK is like using Texas to mean the US.

      Nothing to do with your original explanation, but it could be confusing and just had to correct it!

    • Joaquina says...

      Yeah we have sorta adopted “America” as the name for the U.S. vs differentiating that we are the U.S.A. Few people here use “USA”, “The States”, etc. when referring to it. Language evolves.

    • mar says...

      I´m sorry Jean but i disagree, north America and south America create the American continent … like east Asia and west Asia are Asia… so yes, America is a continent not a country. It would be nice to call each country by its name and to acknowledge the existence of other countries.

    • Mary says...

      Hey Jean,
      You probably didn’t mean to, but your comment comes across as pretty snarky. Not a tone I’m used to on CoJ. Also, I’m afraid that your comment is another example of what Agnès is referring to: USA-centred views of the world. North America is not just the USA and Canada, it includes many more countries. And she’s actually echoing a sentiment I’ve heard a lot while traveling countries like Mexico, which are also part of America. Although it is not as bad as NBA Champions being called ‘Champions of the World’ :-). Furthermore, England, the UK and Great Britain are three different things. They are not different names for one country.

    • RL says...

      The United States of America is shortened to America in the same way as Estados Unidos Mexicanos is shortened to Mexico. It doesn’t mean the continent (not to mention that in English, the continent is never known as America, but as North America. What the French call “Amérique” is for us 2 different continents, ie North America and South America. At best we would refer to the two collectively as “the Americas”).

    • Mb says...

      Latin American here— and yes, the monopoly over American also bugs a lot of Latin Americans (sometimes it bugs me too). Unfortunately, the US doesn’t have a demonym in English! United Statians?

      UK folk do differentiate—Welsh and Scottish means something different than Brit or English.

    • Jessi says...

      MAR, that’s incorrect. North and South America are 2 different continents.

    • Anon says...

      Sorry Jean, but the truth is many people in other countries around the world see it from Agnès’ perspective. The USA or the States is the name of the country. “America” does sound like an appropriation of the name of the whole continent! Not trying to make anyone feel bad, but the perspective exists and it is worth recognizing. .

    • Anon says...

      … Actually, I should clarify: using the term “America” can sound to many like the USA is “the” America over all of the Americas, North and South.

      Of course, the question then becomes… what adjective of nationality do we use for “Americans”? In Spanish we can say “estadounidenses”… but often also use “americanos”.

      Interesting food for thought, anyhow.

    • Chloe says...

      Has anyone else read “How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States” by Daniel Immerwahr? I HIGHLY recommend it – I was shamefully ignorant of the histories of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Alaska, Sequoyah and so many other places and it was thoroughly eye-opening. In one part of the book he talks about how “America” was virtually never used as a synonym for the US until the twentieth century (and now it’s inescapable). Anyway, learning that history gave me a new perspective and I thought it was interesting to learn that “America” has gained momentum over time to become this very politically- and emotionally-charged concept (as these comments show!).

    • Mar says...

      I went to school in Mexico and in France, and in both countries they teach you that America is a whole continent, with the regions of North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean…. interesting that in Usa they teach you that they are 2 different continents….even in Wikipedia in Spanish, America as a continent https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continente

    • Jessi says...

      Anon, the perspective exists, but do you recognize that you are now telling people what to call their own country? Saying ‘x is the name of your country, even though you don’t call it that and no one you know calls it that’ is the kind of obnoxious statement Americans are rightly criticized for.

    • Anna says...

      I’ve always found it so interesting that this bothers people! I’m from the United States and I will cheerfully criticize lots and lots about my home, including behaviors that seem similar to the crux of this criticism here. For example, I think it’s really frustrating for Americans to be loud and obnoxious as tourists and to center themselves — I try so hard to be respectful and curious whenever I travel! But at the end of the day, this one is a head-scratcher to me. I see how it can seem like we’re claiming to be the only people from North & South America, but…America is in the name of our country? And it’s just what we call ourselves! As far as I know we’ve always done so (maybe there’s an interesting historical quirk here I’m not aware of). When I say I’m American, I absolutely mean I’m from the USA, not that I’m from the Americas or that the USA is the “main” country in the Americas. I don’t think I’d tell someone from a different country that their own name isn’t correct, haha.

    • Anon says...

      @ Jessi:
      If you read my comments carefully/objectively, you will note that I actually do not comment on what people should or should not call the USA. I simply make an observation about how the word “America” is viewed by many people.

      I appreciate Chloe’s comment. There is a history there, so the term “American” is loaded. I realize many people in the states use the term while having no idea of how it sounds to many people in the rest of the world, so I thought it was a perspective worth sharing.

      You may choose to ignore my
      Comments, you may use whatever vocabulary you like to use in your life. I am not telling anyone what term to use, and actually I am not even judging. But I am adding a perspective that reflects a truth and a history.

  38. Claire says...

    I deliberately started a remote job last month so I wouldn’t have to return to the office! I’ll still need to do some travel for board meetings, but I am so glad I can stay home.

  39. MB says...

    I recently read The Most Fun We Ever Had, and thought it was an excellent deep dive on family life. So well written, and echos so many of the feelings I have while raising my family. Last night I finished American Dirt. Whoa, pretty harrowing but utterly compelling.

    • Megan says...

      Two great books that really stay with you.

    • Joaquina says...

      American Dirt is not so compelling for those of us who are Mexican (and with Mexican immigrant parents). Seems mostly beloved by white, non Chicana, American women.

    • Cynthia says...

      I liked The Most Fun We Ever Had, too.

    • T says...

      @joaquina I’ve Read American Dirt. (And I recognize the criticisms of a white woman writing the work.) Are there other novels that you would recommend on this subject? I would love to read them.

  40. Cass says...

    For some reason the Sephora nail polish link takes me to the French Sephora home page, it will not let me see the link. I’m so curious to know what colour this is – will someone put me out of my misery and share the name in the comments.

    • Krista says...

      The link is taking me to Dior Nail Glow. It’s not really a colour. Here’s the description: “With one universal shade, this unique nail lacquer enhances the color of your natural nails. When applied on bare nails, the pinks of the nails become pinker and the whites become whiter for a shining finish and healthy-glow effect.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, it makes your nails pinker and the white part whiter. and it’s glossy. it’s really pretty.

  41. Jan says...

    100% agree. I never want to work in an office again. I get so much more work done from home without all the unnecessary time wasting that happens in an office, plus I spend a lot more time with my toddler and husband. (I’m neither particularly extraverted nor particularly introverted). A lot of the “evidence” I see that we need office interaction to spark creativity seems to be less driven by actual evidence than it does by old-school leadership teams that won’t adopt good remote work tools and processes.

    • t says...

      Hi Jan, I am a work place supervisor and am requiring my team to return to the office.

      During the pandemic I found: a) clients weren’t receiving responses as quickly; b) my team members were making their own schedules so even though they were putting in the hours it wasn’t during business hours which resulted in delays to answering emails/questions and thus work output was delayed; c) team members were making wrong judgement calls because they couldn’t just pop over to someone’s cube to ask a quick question and didn’t want to wait for a response to emails/calls (see aforementioned delays); d) we had to schedule brainstorming sessions to problem solve issues that suddenly arose and just the scheduling of these conference calls wasted time and caused delays rather than just being able to round up available troops in the office.

      I can see how one might think of some of these as interruptions for a person just trying to get their work done but they are also part of the job and a critical part of client satisfaction at our company. Do you have suggestions for tools and processes that I can consider for a small (16 person) company? I would love to allow for a bit more flexibility.

    • T, my workplace requires that you be available and immediately responsive to both calls and emails when you’re on duty teleworking. We forward all of our calls to our personal phones during our TW time instead of issuing work cells. If non-standard work hours are a problem, maybe allow less flexibility with the hours people choose? Thank you for being an employer who both recognizes the issues and wants to solve them without completely taking away the options ☺️

    • JayNay says...

      Responding to T, I appreciate that you named specific things you’re finding challenging!
      Some ideas for the issues you’re running into: You can set a window of time during which people need to work, so instead of “in the office from 9 to 5” it could be “we all need to be reachable as a team between 10 and 2 and the rest of your workday is flexible” or whatever. For brainstorming: Standing meetings could work and remove the obstacle of scheduling. The blog Ask A Manager has great advice on all these things!
      I think working from home or flexible work options are absolutely here to stay. Instead of thinking of them as worse than before, it’s more helpful to just think of it as a different situation we need to adjust to. There are distractions in office work as well, it’s just that we’re more used to those and think of them as “normal”.

    • Katie says...

      Last Thursday, we held our first in-person strategy meeting in over a year. We were showing things on a monitor, sketching diagrams on large papers, hanging them around the room, conversing and arguing. We got so much done! I forgot how productive an in-person meeting was when brainstorming. The team will show better in an interview too, even if it’s zoom, because they got to know each other better.

      I’m a fan of a hybrid model. Sure, work from home a few days a week, or even most of the time. I do think occasional face to face contact is beneficial. In my business, relationship building is important. It’s not the same to do it on-line ALL THE TIME.

      My company will adopt a hybrid model. I plan to go into the office a couple days a week and work from home the others, depending on what’s happening.

      And no, I’m not old school.

    • Em says...

      T, sounds like you need some new employees!

    • Emma says...

      Hey T,

      You could look into seeing if there’s a program similar to Discord but for offices/small businesses. Discord is used primarily by gamers, but it allows you to set up a small server that can contain multiple different chatrooms, has direct messaging between users, voice chat lobbies, and screen sharing. Your team could message questions to one another real-time rather than waiting for an e-mail, and any extroverts that miss just being able to chat or pop by someone’s desk to ask them a question could just sit in the voice chat lobby, available for talking. It’s free, so it might be worth checking out for a small business. Again, it’s geared toward gamers, but since it’s free it might be worth seeing if it works for your needs and then you could invest in a similar application intended for businesses. Just a thought!

    • Claire says...

      I found myself creating different working hours during the pandemic because I was getting interrupted too frequently during 9-5. My dream scenario? Maybe we’re all online and quick to respond during 10-2 or so, then we can decide if we’re more productive in the am/pm to do our independent work. My team has always been remote (with 2-3 in person team days per month) and we all got more a accomplished during the pandemic. Instead of requiring employees to come to the office in response to your experienced challenges, perhaps you can deliver the same objective feedback you shared here and ask for ideas to respond to it. I think happier employees are ones who are given choices rather than consequences. Why did your team create their own hours? Maybe there is a gap in childcare? I’d worry that making employees return to the office could result in employees quitting (causing more work to rehire and train). Maybe a open meeting on how you’ll move forward — where each person states their needs and wants — would be more fruitful for all versus making the decision for everyone. (Not a manager, I should note (though I do supervise 90 volunteers if that counts), but this is how I’d want a manger to work with me!)

    • Kate says...

      Hi T, while I’m sure some of the delays and lost productivity are due to people being at home during a crisis while trying to work, it’s also not unreasonable to expect people to be reachable during their work day. Some folks on my team work later or start earlier if they want to get more work done, but that’s on top of their regular work-day schedule. We are a small division (only 5 employees) but as a branch of the government we are mandated to use MS Teams for all communication/meetings. It’s not perfect, but you can instantly see someone’s status and when they’ve been intactive even for how long. Anyway, one of the best things we implemented was the 2PM check-in every. single. day. It helps us to feel more connected (on top of our group chat) but it’s also great because everyone has their schedule free, including the manager, and we save up all our questions for this meeting and provide an overview of what we’re working on and where we’re at. It sounds like your staff might need just a little more accountability, that’s all.

    • t says...

      Thanks so much for all the suggestions! I will strategize with my team to come up with some flexibility that works for everyone.

    • Jan says...

      Hi T! Jan here. As one of the other commenters said, thanks so much for being a flexible supervisor, willing to think about how to make work successful on all levels!

      I think one of the major issues is that we were all forced, very quickly, to work from home, which led to remote work implementation before companies actually had good processes to avoid many of the issues you describe in your workplace. Luckily, there are some really great resources out there to make remote work actually work. 

      Here are a few thoughts and resources. First, to create time for necessary coworker interaction, many remote companies ask workers to set up office hours, during which time coworkers can visit via video chat to ask questions and catch up on important business. Likewise, lots of companies require that employees overlap in their work times for a certain amount of time per day. (Such as, everyone has to be working from 9-12 every day). To handle client interactions and response times, many companies set up specific and detailed processes for when client interactions should happen and how soon employees must respond. I know some companies even use the office hours to allow clients to drop by with questions, but this wouldn’t work for all companies, of course.

      Another way that remote companies have negotiated some of these problems is by using project management software like Asana or Trello, which reduces email-based coworker interactions and moves processes to one of these softwares, where the exact process that needs to happen for different tasks/projects can be outlined and timelined. I use Trello for my own personal workplace, and it’s life-changing.

      An absolutely great resource for this is A World Without Email by Cal Newport. In the book, Newport also talks about how some of the most efficient and forward-thinking companies schedule very, very short (think 15 min) meetings each morning to update everyone on what they are doing, questions they have, and where they need support. This could likely really help cut down on the brainstorming scheduling issue, too.

      I have a bunch of resources that I can link as well when I don’t have a toddler demanding I shut my laptop since it’s 5 pm! More to come! 

    • CS says...

      @T:
      At my work, there were very clear expectations about the times we were expected to be available, “on duty”, at work. Basically, the same hours as before the pandemic. It is a healthy expectation for everyone because it encourages people to “stop” working at some point, but also makes it clear at what times they are to be working and available. The whole expectation was presented very positively- as a way to be available and also to set work-life balance limits for ourselves. I loved it.

      Did I work at odd hours sometimes to get extra work done? Yes. But in the morning I could grab a coffee and work from home so I wasn’t worried about it. It was actually very productive.

  42. Annie says...

    This weekend I will be attending one of many, many marches happening around the country in solidarity with Palestinians who are actively facing ethnic cleansing in a modern-day apartheid state. The particular march is Saturday in Brooklyn and organized by wonderful organizations such as Within Our Lifetime and Jewish Voice for Peace.

    • Alex says...

      Bravo Annie!

    • Omaya says...

      Same, Annie. I’ll be attending a march in Arizona. As a Palestinian American with family in Jerusalem and the West Bank, I am heartened to see others join us as we demand an end to Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

  43. Hope says...

    Working from home (post-pandemic) at least 3 of the 5 days would be heaven. For many people, working from home increases productivity. It is a new model for how to approach work and progressive leaders will embrace it.

  44. Tui Campbell says...

    Loved reading what people shared about what’s common in their country and not others.
    As a kiwi I can confirm shoes are optional. My children pretty much only wear them to walk to school and they don’t get touched for the rest of the day.
    On our trip through the USA my poor husband got asked to leave the hotel restaurant so many times cause he just forgot.

    Its also very common if on a hike to have everyone you pass say hello. I never had that in America or Canada.

    • Amy says...

      I’m in BC, Canada and I’d say about 75% of people here say hello while passing each other on trails! Some do avoid eye contact, but I just assume they didn’t come out to nature to engage with people and that makes complete sense to me :)

    • Agnès says...

      Tui, I love that! walking barefoot is my thing and I do it whenever I can. But in the class room!? that’s fantastic!

    • AN says...

      i say hello to everyone on hikes, walks, everywhere! and so do my kids, at 6 and 2 years old. i guess it just depends on the person (i’ve lived in the States since i was 3)

    • K says...

      Being barefoot most of your life sounds SO cool, I wonder if you have better foot and back health that way

  45. Laura says...

    I really love that you’re doing this—signing off a bit early to spend time with your people. We’ll miss you, of course, but it’s such a great thing to model for others. Permission to close down shop for a bit. We’ve all earned it, but also, it’s so hard to do!

    My sister was having a tough week around the time your mom came to visit, Joanna, and I asked her, “did you see this CoJ post? Can you just do what they did?”

    Thank you.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh that makes me so happy. Thank you xo

    • Vero says...

      I agree! When we take that time for ourselves, it gives other people permission to do the same, or see that it’s possible. I find it humanizing rather than acting like we are machines!

  46. Rebecca says...

    Skipping. As. An. Exercise. Best thing I have read all week. I wish more people skipped around this world. I think we would all be happier.

    • CP says...

      Same, Rebecca! This is an aha moment for me!

    • Hannah Holden says...

      I love skipping! It really does boost your mood. Also see holding hands with friends/your mom.

    • Sarah says...

      It has really delighted me that Hannah Holden loves Holdin’ Han(d)s :)

    • K says...

      I agree!

    • Vero says...

      Are we talking about skipping with a skipping rope or skipping along like we did when we were kids?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      skipping along! :)

  47. Robyn Green says...

    Regarding the Winc membership, is it $30 every month, or just the first month? We have a Winc membership which is $60/month, and I reached out to customer service regarding the price last week and they said they can’t give me the $30/month rate, even if I were to sign up as a new customer. Their website isn’t very clear on the price either, if it’s just a one month promotion or the actual rate. Their wines are delicious, just wanted to clarify about the price.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thanks for asking! We clarified with Winc, and here’s the deal: The offer is for new customers only. People can cancel at any time, so if someone wants to get the $30 deal and then immediately cancel, that works! Otherwise, they would continue with a monthly membership, which is just under $60/month for four bottles. Thank you so much! xoxoxo

    • Emma says...

      Just to mention, you can change your membership to just be 3 bottles per month, so around $40. Also, they make it really easy to skip a month (as long as you remember to, anyway) if you have unopened bottles starting to accumulate. I skipped most of last year since we weren’t entertaining.

  48. Sarah says...

    All I have to say is there must be some much fancier potlucks than the ones I’ve hosted/attended. In my house, only one person would eat baked pomegranate mint feta- me. Are potlucks for new culinary projects? Aren’t we all braved and Tums-ready for meatballs, chili, Buffalo dip and a cheese platter?

    • Sarah K says...

      Your menu suggestions make me both homesick and hungry (I am an American expat living in Europe). I would love some Buffalo dip.

  49. NM says...

    Another introvert here! Yes, more time at home has been a blessing. Which is quite ironic considering how much I love living in the busy metropolis of New York City. Maybe it’s the way the city allows you to be connected while still being alone…?

  50. Em says...

    +1 for the Atlantic… my perfect number of WFH days is 2! I am extremely excited to return to my schedule of M/W/F in-office, and T/Th at home. Any more than two days at home and I really start missing the social aspect of work, I miss wearing real outfits, I miss listening to podcasts on the bus, I miss meeting friends for happy hour downtown after work, I miss all the good take-out lunch options near my office, and I miss free office coffee. I know everybody is different but I for one, am stoked to get out of this dang house. And really grateful to have the flexibility to work my ideal schedule!

    • Amy says...

      My ideal is the opposite— M/W/F telework at home and T/Th in the office!

    • Emily says...

      Meeeee too!! I am so tired of being in my house All. The. Time. There are some aspects I really like but I am completely ready for a change of scenery! I miss the transition time between home and work, I miss wearing fun jewelry and clothing, I miss taking walks around town at lunchtime, I miss the random conversations that come up during the day. Would love to have a few days a week with the option to work from home but know that I’m not stuck here all the time.

  51. Sage says...

    I guess I’m part of the 19% who would prefer full-time remote work. (I’m an INTP. I do not mind keeping my robot self at home full-time.) But really we need a shorter work week. 4 days is plenty!

    Enjoy the visit from your dad! :)

    • Amy says...

      I’m right there with you! I love working from home, though I’m not sure I’d feel the same if I shared the space with others. But I love being to take breaks to play with my pets or go for a walk in the middle of the work day. I don’t miss the office….at all. And luckily, I won’t be returning to an office (yay!).

      Also, it kinda felt like that article was written in such a way as to stir up some controversy…

  52. Julie says...

    Loved reading what people shared about what’s common in their country and not others. A few things that came to mind for where I’m from (Oklahoma):
    1. Open casket funerals. They make me pretty uncomfortable but are absolutely the norm here. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a funeral where the casket wasn’t opened.
    2. Loud conversations. I studied abroad in the UK and noticed really quickly that I was so much louder than everyone but here I’m actually quieter than a lot of people I know.
    3. Waving at neighbors. If you’re driving home and see a neighbor outside you always wave even if you don’t know them.

    • Lisette says...

      I also live in Oklahoma, and
      1. I have never seen an open-casket funeral here. I’ve been to lots of them in the past 10 years; none are open casket.
      3. Waving at neighbors while driving – I never see this.

      I live in a large city. I’m guessing different parts of the state have different customs?

    • Julie says...

      Interesting! I’m in Tulsa, what part of the state are you in?

    • Johanna says...

      As an American in the UK, I also feel loud!

      I once listened to talk from a vocal coach about ‘vocal twang’. I wish I could remember all the details, but essentially they described it as a “brightness” from narrowing the aryepiglottic folds (had to google that spelling!). A lot of singers do it naturally and country singers even more so. Apparently also auctioneers? I guess it helps to project your voice without you having to raise your volume.

      But they said that some accents (American accents, a few Scottish and Austrialian ones) naturally use some degree of twang. I’ve since wondered if that’s part of why I can always hear Americans from across the room, LOL.

    • Julie says...

      Johanna that is fascinating! I definitely have a “twang” but never considered how that might influence the volume of my speech!

    • Erin says...

      JOHANNA, that’s so interesting! I’ve lived and travelled abroad in Europe and really genuinely tried to be as quiet as those around me, but it’s a challenge – particularly when speaking English. I always thought that maybe I just slipped into old habits, but something like that would also make sense. And, frankly, make me feel a bit better about my irrepressible loudness. (FTR, I’m not considered a particularly loud person by US standards).

  53. Amanda W. says...

    The perfect number of work-from-home days is ALL OF THEM. Seriously, I do not miss the office, and hope to never return. In my place of work, it seems only the extremely extroverted sales people truly miss the office. They can have it!

    • Amy says...

      Yes to all of this!!!

  54. Lila says...

    Have a great time with your dad and thanks for the great roundup of links :)

    And just a thought on the half-renovated houses (such cool photos): „Doppelhaushälften“ (sth like double house halves?) are really common in Germany and often get build exactly for that purpose. Often the owners go in very different directions with their design choices…but that‘s not necessarily a sign for gentrification (it might be of course in some places).

    • Claire says...

      Yes! We live in an 1800’s purpose built semi-detached miners cottage in the north of England. Sally has the mirror image house joined to ours. On one side, they look very similar but from the back we have a big extension to accommodate our kids and Sally’s is closer to the original layout and much more traditional style (although she is younger than us and super cool). I love our different but similar houses…like twins that went in their own direction but are still close.

  55. Dee says...

    Perfect number of days to work from home s 2? Ugh Atlantic, spare a thought for us introverts for whom – aside from a worldwide plague – lockdown has been a welcome cocoon from awkward social interactions and too much open workspace stimuli. The screaming heebie jeebies of a smelly jam packed public transport commute! The perfect number of days to work from home is definitely all of them you can! I’ll cry if I have to go back.

    Am I the only person who hears people saying they miss the office, and thinks, shut up you just want to kiss up to your boss and you’re going to ruin it for the rest of us?

    • Britt says...

      Not alone. I’m an extrovert, but I don’t miss the office in the slightest. Not the bs office politics and meetings for the sake of meetings, the forced chitchat, the 2 hour commute every day, or the wearing of pants other than leggings. Between no longer having a commute and not having to get ready in the morning, I get 3 hours back in my day every day. And without office distractions, I’m more productive at home.

    • Amy says...

      This introvert (who works from home 4.5/5 days per week) is very excited for my extroverted husband to return to work 3+ days per week! I miss my quiet home. He does laps around the house to get snacks and interaction with me every few minutes, it seems!

    • Michelle says...

      I’m with you Dee! Some of my coworkers truly brightened my day and I miss them as people… but I’d still be much happier not going in to the office! I don’t miss it at all.

    • Sara says...

      Also an extrovert, also in the would rather WFH full time camp. I wouldn’t mind a day here and there going in to the office for a specific meeting, but I loved WFH because it was peaceful and quiet, I got to spend lots of time with my cats, I could exercise at lunch without worrying about having to stop sweating enough to put work clothes back on. I would rather my social interactions be with who I wanted them to be with, when I want them vs. the forced social aspect of the office.

    • Brittany says...

      I’m with you, Dee! I’ll cry if I have to go back to the office FT, too. I love working from home.

    • T says...

      Unfortunately, I have an inability to focus and do good work at home, which is why I desperately want to go back to an office. I’ve always known this about myself.. I spent hundreds of dollars per month to rent a coworking space to study for the bar exam because I couldn’t get anything done at home. As a chronic workaholic, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on making my home a safe space where I feel relaxed and disconnected from work, and I’m so upset that my house has also become my office for the past year and a half!

    • AN says...

      haha – i definitely do not want to just kiss up to my boss. i very much miss seeing my co-workers who are friends of mine, but live far away, so the office was a wonderful place to regularly see them :) i also miss going to some meetings in-person, where what we’re reviewing is pretty technical/hard to understand. i’m someone who learns much better in person, so those are definitely harder for me from home.

    • Amy says...

      Just had to comment to say that I agreed with every statement of your post. Introverts unite! :)

    • Amy says...

      Yes. That’s exactly what I think. I also think that they must be less efficient in general than those of us who don’t commute. Saving that time 2x during the day is huge for my productivity. I know this isn’t fair…but neither is pushing everyone to go into the office.