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People are using mouse jigglers to thwart their WFH tracking software

They come in USB dongle form or as a device that you put your mouse on.

wfh mouse jiggler
Image: KnowTechie

The pandemic changed the face of work, hastening the switch to work from home (WFH) and hybrid work models. That left a gap for the managers at many companies that were not used to managing this way, and that gap has been jumped into by a plethora of employee tracking software companies.

Those software packages intrusively install on employees’ computers and do things like monitor keystrokes and websites you visit, and some even take occasional screenshots of the desktop.

One of the other things that WFH tracking software does to monitor employee “work” is checking if the mouse hasn’t moved for a while. I’m not quite sure how this counts, since keyboard shortcuts are a thing and I often don’t touch my mouse for long periods of time, but whatever.

The point I wanted to make is that whenever someone invents a control, someone will invent a countermeasure. Enter the “mouse jiggler,” which is peak capitalism.

They come in USB dongle form, or as a device that you put your mouse on, and it simulates random mouse movements to keep your screen on, but more importantly to confuse WFH monitoring software.

The thing is: if your employee is circumventing your “productivity tool” by faking work, how productive is that for everyone involved?

You’ve spent considerable amounts of money on a tool to put a middle-manager on your employee’s computer, and your employee has spent a tiny amount of money on a digital excuse to shrug that middle-manager off.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Productivity has largely improved with the shift to WFH. That’s in the face of the stresses of the pandemic, including having to deal with virtual schooling, lack of childcare, or multiple family members working from the same internet connection.

To keep those workers productive, many industry leaders say we should be tracking mental health (and supporting it), not tracking stupid metrics like if the mouse has been moved in the last hour.

We should all try to be more results-orientated, and not get hung up on busyness or any of the pitfalls of “hustle culture.”

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