Sociologist, specialized in the analysis of imaginaries and the transformation of the social bond, Stéphane Hugon is also a teacher at ENSCI and Invited Professor at the ECA of the Universidade do SãoPaulo. 15 years ago, he co-founded the firm Eranos, which supports companies in “To be reconciled with society” and which also has an office in Korea. As we begin to script the post-containment stage, what are the major challenges of this “world after”? How can we even think about the question of the social link in these times when social distancing is paradoxically advocated? The sociologist offers a first hot lighting.
For Stéphane Hugon, in the 21st century, “Our lives have gradually changed radically” , the explosion of the web and the multiplication of digital tools, the climate issue, the taking into account of the environment, have settled in our lives, in a process of continual and collateral changes more than of ruptures or revolutions. New forms of relationship to work have appeared, new forms of sociability have developed. And it is these changes that are suddenly revealed in the global crisis linked to Covid-19, by the generalized confinement. : “Reflection is essential on the way in which work has shifted – and so quickly – outside the walls of the company. According to a recent study by INSEE, a third of teleworking employees – who already partially had this practice – set up some form of tertiary craft dynamic, with significant efficiency. A third is doing rather well, and develops a new work culture, in a logic of transformation through use, with trial / error adjustment processes, in this emerging culture of “doing”. A third is distraught, unable to work outside the walls. “
How to consider returning to business?
At the outset, behind teleworking, the sociologist notes a rather elitist culture, where we accept a certain proximity, even porosity, between the domestic and professional spheres. It is however interesting to note how much the confinement develops a certain form of staging by its management of its background image by webcam (blurred background, addition of decoration …) by tools which appeared like gadgets yesterday, and which mark therefore a zone of intimacy, a border of sharing, of delimitation of his private sphere.
For Stéphane Hugon, “The experience of confinement will necessarily re-qualify the methods, or even reconfigure the work circuits. For example, we will no longer be able to speak in the same way to our employees, the phenomenon having been experienced in an extremely contradictory way. “ Between the experience of confinement whether in an apartment or in a house with a swimming pool, the experience of the epidemic, between the people affected, the deceased relatives, “There is a big gap in the experience of the populations” . And in companies, “ there is a common language to find, a common imagination to reconstruct. And it will be complex, especially in large groups where until then, the strategy was based on smoothing experiences. We will have to redistribute trust, redo a collective form of work. Discrepancies arise when the same words don’t say the same things anymore. There is a risk of break-up that makes it necessary to rethink relationship experiences. »
For the sociologist, in times following strong crises, such as post-war periods, “We need to find a common ethic, to resynchronize society. “ It is for example the choice of General de Gaulle who creates the Ministry of Culture and assigns André Malraux on national reconciliation, with a return to founding texts. This period of Covid is a source of confusion in the representations: “We have witnessed a return of the collective for 25 years when Western culture was more conducive to valuing the individual. Social distancing measures come up against this return to conviviality. We have been working for years to open up spaces, to think about the circulation of places, to see the concepts of open tables, coworking declining … like an irony of fate, are we going to relive a back to the hygiaphone? “ It is necessary to urgently rethink the structuring of places but, in this urgency, to think in parallel about lasting modularities, and our relationship to space, taking into account the insights provided by proxemic analyzes. So how do you reinvent yourself? For Stéphane Hugon, the essential is played around the social link: “The constraints linked to the virus force us to reinvent the link. Social life is what reactivates imaginaries, requalifies spaces. And that creates new thresholds, new gestures, that comes to sequence behavioral acts. It reposition the reasons for being of companies, internally and externally. ” And this questions the social space as a whole: “What are the forms, the interfaces that allow us to create it? “ For him, the real stake is “How to find the means to be together? “ And by its formal approach, the design is important “To think about this relational form necessary for the construction of a relational harmony. “