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Lhe “video” might have simply been a pastime linked to confinements. But it has established itself: conferences have grow to be hybrid, places of work “flex”, and it’s now doable to place a dish within the oven and speak along with your different half whereas responding to your boss. Has the world of labor grow to be a land of freedom? Not so positive, replies the essayist and playwright Alexandre des Isnards, who investigated the topic and recounts, in Video is killing me – Office life when there isn’t a extra! (Allary editions), a actuality removed from the clichés of the nomadic worker completely satisfied to be so.

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Co-author of bestsellers The open house killed me And Facebook killed me, he composes sketches based mostly on actual conditions, humorously highlighting the shortcomings of this revolution. Immersed in a world the place the boundary between skilled and personal life is extra tenuous than ever.

Point : Why did you examine this topic?

Alexandre des Isnards: I used to be a bit of annoyed to see that the therapy of teleworking and “video” solely comes right down to questions referring to the measures taken by corporations or the plebiscite of staff. Curious additionally to see with my very own eyes how the world of labor is altering. But what I found was past my expectations: he’s experiencing a revolution! Through the survey train, and day by day remark of staff, I found that, if teleworking appeared extra environment friendly, sensible and comfy to them, it additionally had a value. I needed to point out what its value was…

And what’s it?

It is above all human and due to this fact, doubtlessly, financial. While many profit from it, there may be nonetheless a value, each particular person and collective. I’m pondering specifically of all these casual exchanges – typically fruitful – that are disappearing. These “off” occasions, these “accidents”, these conversations on the doorstep… I additionally consider this work-study scholar – ​​and there are lots of of them – arriving in places of work emptied of their staff, disadvantaged of the transmission that he had come search. Or to this worker subjected to an integration near hazing, the fruit of a synthetic “collective”, which got here to compensate for the one which now not existed…

You point out, in your essay, these consultants whose insane mission consists of “organizing spontaneity”…

Nice oxymoron, isn’t it! However, they do exist… Because teleworking requires that the whole lot be anticipated and ready. We ship a message on “Slack” [messagerie instantanée professionnelle, NDLR] to share an concept, schedule a “video” for an change, use the “cloud” for group work. I normally say that with screens the dialog strikes again a notch. And it's not only a method! We lose instant contact with others. We're making an attempt to recreate it, however nearly, it's a wasted effort! Because the whole lot is deliberate, out of sync. It is a problem to make human relationships extra fluid on this context…

You additionally cope with these staff who wrestle to ascertain (actual) contact with their colleagues. Among them, Brice, who loses sight of Jessica, a younger girl he likes. Is this the tip of affection at work ?

It is true that the chances of crossing paths there, and even assembly there, are much less frequent! We might think about, in return, that with the “flex office” [organisation de l’espace basée sur l’absence d’un bureau attitré] and its interchangeable locations, the office encourages new encounters. But the truth is that it doesn’t exist: staff, by recreating work zones by division, are training false “flex”. Little room, due to this fact, for discovery…

You additionally speak, in your essay, about how “video” is an interference of the corporate in private life. What did you observe?

And the other can also be true! As lengthy as we activate our digicam, we present our colleagues part of our privateness, our residence… Above all, and since Covid, we see our companion at work. This is new within the intimacy of {couples}. We can uncover a character that we love, admire or, quite the opposite, a stalking, feverish character that we’d maybe have most well-liked to not know… But being at residence additionally means being in entrance of your self , to his non-public world and his temptations. Like these of intimate relationships or masturbation, which abruptly grow to be a chance. Which one is extra delicate within the workplace (he laughs)!

Being in a position to work “everywhere” can also be a lure, you level out…

Yes, as a result of when work may be all over the place, it additionally reveals up in locations the place it shouldn't be. The neologism of “traces” [contraction de « travail » et « vacances »] says all of it: many staff, significantly executives, are in the present day unable to place their computer systems down throughout their go away. Which can also be dangerous for many who accompany them! No, with the ability to work wherever isn't simply good…

What shocked you probably the most throughout your investigation?

I feel it’s these staff who “telework” within the workplace (laughs)! Because you must know that, within the very premises of their firm, the latter – and there are lots of of them – meet in conferences… by “video”. Some are at residence, positive, however what about those that made the journey? “In-person” conferences have grow to be the exception, and “hybrid” conferences the norm. However, these don’t appear to fulfill anybody. The feedback I collected bear witness to this. “Shall we see each other in person? » we ask ourselves now. What was yesterday a pleonasm has become an option… To be together, yes, but alone!

The feeling of loneliness of employees is also omnipresent in your essay…

Yes, but it remains difficult to measure. While it is obvious that some suffer from it, others are loners, who like to configure their work without the slightest interaction or the slightest obstacle to concentration. Have you ever attended a “video” assembly in the course of your lounge? If so, you most likely know this unusual feeling: we spend a second collectively, then we go away the applying, and “boom”, it's over… In one click on, your ten colleagues have disappeared. Quite brutal, don't you assume?

If, as you write, in the present day it appears “impossible to go back”, we nonetheless see corporations putting in some safeguards…

Yes, they regulate teleworking to have the ability to fill places of work which have grow to be desperately empty, in order that staff can meet one another a bit of… And above all to make sure their dedication. Because we overlook it, however once we transfer, it’s participating! And that is additionally what “video” undermines. Today, some staff are employed, through digital interviews, with out even having set foot within the firm… However, if it’s so “simple” to affix, will probably be simply as easy to disengage. .

Think concerning the eating places that lose 20% of their turnover as a consequence of “no-show” [lorsqu’un client ne se présente pas malgré sa réservation] or to corporations within the well being sector compelled to ship an SMS to remind you that it will be acceptable to honor the appointment you made with this specialist with the arm-length CV. What the digital induces in our non-public lives, it additionally induces, inevitably, in our skilled lives…

Alexandre des Isnards, The video killed me Office life when there isn’t a extra!
Allary Editions
288 pp. (€20.90)