Employers are monitoring productivity more than ever, thanks in part to the telecommuting boom.
Employees turn to gadgets to outsmart surveillance software. One such tool is a mouse mover or mouse jiggler, designed to keep your screen on. I decided to try it once to see if it works.
I found out about mouse jigglers on TikTok. A mouse mover is a device that claims not to be recognized by your computer. As the name suggests, the device simulates mouse movement and prevents your computer from going to sleep.
So-called “tattleware,” or monitoring software, is installed on company-issued devices to track employees’ screen time, keyboard usage, and clicks. The mouse jiggler may not help with keyboard use or clicking, but it should fix screen time tracking by keeping your computer’s screen on.
This is how a mouse jiggler works.
How to use a mouse jiggler to prevent your computer from going to sleep
Vaydeer mouse mover.
I ordered a $30 Vaydeer Mouse Jiggler from Amazon and tested it for a day.
Setup took less than a minute. Simply plug the power cord into your computer’s USB port or attach it to the power adapter and plug into the wall outlet. Use the wand for energy if you’re paranoid. You probably don’t want to plug a device that helps you avoid work directly into a work computer, especially since USB ports also raise a whole host of security concerns.
There is an orange power button on the left side that you can use to turn it on and off. A turntable moves when it is turned on. There you place the sensor of the mouse. Once your mouse is in the correct position, you will see the cursor move very slowly on your screen, preventing your monitor from going to sleep.
Vaydeer mouse mover.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. Once your mouse is on the jiggler, you can get up, have lunch, do whatever you need to do, and your computer won’t go to sleep.
It won’t make you more productive, of course, but it can trick some monitoring software into believing you’re still working, at least when that software checks to see if your computer is active.
Employer transparency is the real answer
However, we shouldn’t need these gadgets at all.
I was surprised to learn that employer surveillance is more common than I thought. A recent study by The New York Times found that 80% of the top 10 private US employers track individual employee productivity metrics.
And secretly monitoring employees makes them more likely to break the very rules these systems are trying to prevent, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study.
Transparency is key to maintaining morale. Explaining the scope and purpose of monitoring can increase employee acceptance of the practice by about 70%, according to a recent study by management consultancy Gartner.