The WFH ‘mouse mover’ trick that keeps your PC awake and convinces your boss you are working – which of course you are!
- Employees are using devices called ‘mouse movers’ to escape the watchful eyes of micromanaging bosses while working from home
- The contraptions, also dubbed ‘mouse jigglers,’ effectively allow users to escape their desks for hours at a time without being detected by their employer
- In a clip that has since gone viral, a TikTok user explains how the device has changed her life, allowing her to take a more relaxed approach to remote work
- The clip, posted by user leahova in July, has since garnered more than 3 million views
Workers across the globe are using devices called ‘mouse movers’ to escape the watchful eyes of micromanaging bosses while working from home.
The contraptions, also dubbed ‘mouse jigglers,’ effectively allow users to escape their desks for hours at a time without being detected by their employer by moving their mouse autonomously.
With millions of workers engaged in remote work since the start of the COVID pandemic, sales for the small devices – which are placed under a computer mouse to keep the cursor active – have skyrocketed, data from mouse-mover company Tech8USA shows, with many championing the gadgets as integral to a lifestyle that many say leaves workers mentally fatigued.
A 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.
The clip has since garnered more than 3 million views.
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Employees are using devices called ‘mouse movers,’ like the homemade one pictured here, to escape the watchful eyes of their bosses while working from home
In a clip that has garnered more than 3 million views, TikTok user Leah explained how using the device has allowed her to approach her work in a more relaxing manner
It’s called mental health, Janice. Look it up. #wfh #workfromhome #corporatetiktok #worklifebalance
In an interview with Vice on Wednesday, Leah explained how the device has allowed her to approach her work in a more relaxing manner.
Previously, her company-issued computer would routinely set her status to ‘away’ whenever she stopped moving her cursor or got up from her desk.
‘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 the outlet.
‘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.’
The viewership for Leah’s video suggests she is not the only one engaged in such a practice, especially since the start of the pandemic, when the devices, which had already been introduced years before, achieved a newfound popularity.
DailyMail.com reached out to her for comment but did not immediately hear back.
In March 2020, searches for the phrases ‘mouse mover’ and ‘mouse jiggler’ both skyrocketed, and are still markedly higher than they have ever been in the past.
In March 2020, searches for the phrases ‘mouse mover’ and ‘mouse jiggler’ both skyrocketed, and are still markedly higher than they have ever been in the past, data from mouse-mover company Tech8USA shows
Meanwhile, on YouTube, users can find a workaround for the work-from-home hack if they are not willing to shell out the $20 to $30 the gadgets generally cost, with simulated mouse-moving videos that users can play on their phones.
Meant to play from a user’s phone, the videos contain lines that move along users’ phone screens, so employees working from home can then put their mouse on top of their device to simulate the movement incurred by the mouse jigglers.
The movement of the lines in the video should make optical mouse cursors move.
Such videos have rapidly emerged and seen a huge influx of viewership in 2021, garnering hundreds of thousands of views.
What’s more, remote workers have recently started constructing their own mouse movers, made of LEGO pieces or even as simple as a weight on a spacebar, to stop the prying eyes of their employers.
Online retailers are also rife with plug-and-play versions of mouse movers, with devices that physically rotate the mouse’s cursor from below, or USB drives that contain software that simulate mouse movements. When plugged into a computer, the USB stick will be treated as if it were an active mouse.
Online retailers are also rife with plug-and-play versions of mouse movers, with devices that physically rotate the mouse’s cursor from below, or USB drives that contain software that simulate mouse movements
Amazon, for instance, contains an array of results for several kinds of mouse movers, which boast thousands of reviews from remote employees praising how the devices allow them to trick their bosses into thinking that they are hard at work.
One user, who left a five-star review for a USB mouse mover, wrote about how it allows his wife to escape from work early.
‘It works great, literally just plug it in and it starts working automatically,’ he wrote.
‘No installing just a pug and play base system. I bought if [sic] for my wife since now she is working from home due to COVID.
‘She gets her work done super early but always has to keep moving the mouse every 10 min until she is clocked out. She plugs this in into her usb and she is able to actually wash the dishes instead of me.’
Another wrote: ‘I needed this device for also when “working from home”
‘It works perfectly, we also use Microsoft Teams and this mouse jiggler works for me.’
However, users generally seemed to prefer the analog version of the movers, citing that some companies have software that can detect the drives.
Mouse movers such as these utilize a rotating cylinder at its center, physically rotating the mouse’s cursor from below
‘Due to a certain pandemic that can’t be named, I’m having to work from home again,’ one user from the US wrote earlier this year.
‘My work laptop logs me out if it’s inactive for 5 minutes or more. Then it takes me almost 10 minutes to get fully logged back in on the company VPN. I’ve tried several home-made solutions like sitting my mouse on a clock, but that doesn’t work.
‘And getting one of those little software/driver-based USB “mouse jigglers” is out too because my work laptop would see it as “unapproved hardware.” Then I’d get an angry email from the sometimes testy folks in our IT department.
‘So I decided to pull the trigger on this VAYDEER mechanical mouse jiggler and mover. And while it’s expensive (almost $40 USD), it works perfectly and I don’t have to spend all day moving my mouse or hitting keys on the keyboard to keep my laptop awake.’
Meanwhile, on Reddit, in the subthread r/antiwork, users similarly championed both versions of the gadgets, detailing how they allow them to work less.
‘Since we started working from home, my company rides everyone’s ass if your status goes to ‘offline’ in the Teams chat,’ one Redditer wrote.
‘My boss will literally call you out on an email with the whole sales team CC’d, or call your cell and ask why you’re not at your desk. I got tired of it and I found an app that moves your mouse so Teams/Skype/whatever IM shows as active and doesn’t time out.
‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.’
Another commented that they have gotten similar effects by placing their mouse on top of an analog wrist watch.
Many of the mouse movers sold on Amazon essentially utilize the same technology, rotating similar to the ticking of a watch.
Leah’s mouse mover is the rotating kind, from Tech8USA.
Diana Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the company, told Vice that they launched their mouse mover in February 2020, a month before pandemic lockdowns began to take place in the US.
‘The issue of rewarding ‘presence vs productivity’ has always been around, but the forced virtualization of the workplace with the pandemic has made it worse,’ Rodriguez told the outlet.
‘The pandemic has proved to be a catalyst to saying no to the ‘9-to-5’ schedule,’ she continued. ‘The tables have turned in favor of the worker.’
‘They are in power today. They value work flexibility. They are ambitious. They value work-life balance and are not afraid of saying no to employers who don’t share those values.
‘The Mouse Mover is a new tool in that shift – and we stand with the knowledge worker.’
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