Big brother didn’t see this one coming.
Stay-at-home workers online are sharing their tips on how to evade bosses who track their mouse’s movements while working from home, including free apps and online tools.
“If you work from home and you carry your laptop around with you all over the house because you are so paranoid that the 30 minutes you spend away from your desk during lunch your computer will go to ‘away,’ And then you will be fired because no one will think you’re doing any work, I have something to recommend,” the creator, Leah, said in a July TikTok featuring the trick.
“It’s called a mouse mover and it moves your mouse while you’re away so you can go to the bathroom free from paranoia,” she concluded.
Mouse movers — or “jigglers” — are small devices which go under a computer’s mouse (not a laptop trackpad) and keep the cursor active without any human interaction. A quick search of the term brings up tens of options for as low as $12.99, with a variety of colors and formats available. All, however, serve the same purpose: fooling managers.
There are also free downloads for software that mimics mouse movements, as well as trippy YouTube videos, meant to be played on a smartphone screen with your mouse sitting on top. They claim the repeating lined patterns trips the device’s sensor, Vice’s Motherboard reported on Wednesday.
Leah personally came upon the cheap but effective tool after her job transitioned to remote at the beginning of the pandemic and she found that her company-issued computer began listing her as “away” even after a few short seconds of inactivity.
“Working remotely, your colleagues can’t physically ‘see’ when you get up to go to the bathroom or grab lunch. Or even take 30 minutes to reset on the couch,” the advertising business lead later told Vice.
“The last thing I wanted during those moments was to be paranoid that people thought I wasn’t working — especially since I felt like I was working more than ever,” she said.