In this paper, I argue that policies to promote quality of life at work currently adopted by enterprises can serve as a stopgap measure to relieve symptoms caused by the intensification of work, but failed to address the structural causes of the problems faced by workers. I reinforce this idea by arguing that the need to "humanize" work has a tradition of managerial concern. I demonstrate by reaffirming polysemy, the non-materiality and the relativity of the concept of 'quality of work life', that the latter is a management fad that has different meanings in managers and workers representations and that work currently does not provide conditions for workers to carry out the process of biopsychosocial adaptation necessary to guarantee life. I support the adoption of the concept of 'living conditions' because it refers to workers' control over working relations and working conditions as a possibility, which requires the understanding of the process of work knowledge production as socially constructed and shared representations.
work and living conditions; work management; quality of work life