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Health crisis. Work crisis. An opportunity amidst the chaos?

Abstract : The present context of health crisis and unprecedented lockdown is an opportunity for thinking, position-taking, indignation and controversy. As a social activity, work redefines itself every day, according to circumstances. Work specialists, ergonomists included, observe and reflect. Contrary to certain preconceived ideas, Ergonomics is not primarily about so-called "ergonomic" chairs, desks or toothbrushes. Work is a central object of ergonomics, and the technical resources associated with it cover only some of the questions it raises. The ergonomic project consists of perceiving this Work; and above and beyond the technical resources, it is the values, skills, relationships, organizations, etc. that are its pivotal components, as is its inclusion in society, and therefore in the lives of each and every one of us. Ergonomics and human work: creating a society Ergonomists are part of a humanist tradition that initially aimed to adapt work to men and women in all their diversity 1 , and to do so over time, so that they do not lose or wear out their lives by earning a living, but instead develop and build their health in and through this Work. The main idea behind this tradition is to ensure that Work is human, i.e. that it guarantees and nourishes our vital needs. And while the level and constancy of our remuneration allow us to ensure our basic needs, our vital needs as human beings also include:-the creation of a social and cultural bond, which lets us make, weave, mesh, learn, share, create and innovate, with and for others;-being part of a community and a place that recognizes, accepts, protects and needs us;-a sense of being useful: producing goods and services that have meaning, that are worthwhile in the eyes of those who matter. Some of these performance levers are undoubtedly under-invested in many organizations. To put it another way: we are talking about work that gives everyone the opportunity to live as genuine protagonists of society and as actors in a performance that makes sense. It is therefore vital to look after this work, and sometimes to care for it; think about it and even make it well again. Alongside other disciplines, Ergonomics thus helps to draw, at different scales, the outlines of what a society would look like if it really achieved this: to make society in the workplace is to make society in the surrounding area and beyond.
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Contributor : Fabien Coutarel <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 8:24:46 AM
Last modification on : Monday, January 18, 2021 - 1:10:02 PM


Health crisis. Work crisis. Co...
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Fabien Coutarel, Valérie Pueyo, Marianne Lacomblez, Catherine Delgoulet, Béatrice Barthe, et al.. Health crisis. Work crisis. An opportunity amidst the chaos?. 2020. ⟨halshs-02612278⟩



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