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Remote staff are using ‘mouse movers’ to keep their computer awake and fool the boss


TikTok user Leah went viral after she suggested using a mouse mover to fool bosses (TikTok)

Staff forced to work from home due to the pandemic are turning to ingenious methods to give watchful employers the slip.

A boom in so-called ‘mouse movers’ has been uncovered, letting employees keep their computer awake while they’re away from the desk.

Also known as mouse jigglers, these little devices are being sold online through the likes of Amazon and Ebay and keep cursors moving autonomously.

TikTok user named Leah took to social media earlier this year to show off the device in a now-viral video, and explained how it’s allowed her to take a more relaxed approach to remote work.

‘If you work from home and you carry your laptop with you all over your house because you’re 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,’ she explains in a 20-second snippet that was posted in July.

‘It’s called a mouse mover,’ says Leah, a business lead at an advertising company who transitioned to remote work at the start of the pandemic.

‘It moves your mouse while you’re away, so you can go to the bathroom free from paranoia,’ she explains.

Clocking up over three million views, it seems many others are interested in what these gadgets can do for stressed out remote staff.

‘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,’ Leah told Vice earlier this week.

‘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.’

On Amazon, a mouse mover can be bought for as little as £11.

Despite what it may seem, many remote workers aren’t using tools like this to slack off – rather, they feel overburdoned because they’re working so much harder.

Loads of mouse movers and mouse jigglers are listed for sale online (Amazon)

And it seems like most of us like it.

A survey of UK workers by Instant Offices found that 90% want more flexibility in terms of where and when they do their jobs.

That might mean the option to work remotely some days of the week, or shifting around start times to suit your lifestyle.

This isn’t just a passing whim, to be clear. More than half (54%) of those surveyed said they’re prepared to leave a job that’s lacking in flexibility and remote work options, and 44% of people looking for jobs said they’d turn one down if it didn’t have any flexibility.

A significant portion of workers said they’re more productive when working remotely, and on average, employees want to be allowed to work from home for two or three days a week.

Meanwhile, mouse jiggling may simply be a response to bosses tracking staff too much while they’re remote.

Workers can feel snooped on by their bosses when working remotely (Credits: Getty Images)

One in five companies has admitted either installing technology to snoop on staff or planning to. The software can log how long workers take to read and reply to messages, check attendance at meetings — or even secretly film them from their screen.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: ‘Worker surveillance tech has taken off during this pandemic as more people have been forced to work from home.

‘We know many employers are investing in tech to micro-manage workers and automate decisions about who to hire, and who to let go. Staff must be properly consulted on the use of surveillance at work and protected from unfair management by algorithm.

‘As we emerge from this crisis, technology must be used to make working lives better — not to rob people of their dignity.’


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