Workers Are Using ‘Mouse Movers’ So They Can Use the Bathroom in Peace #Telework #Lifehack @VICE
Leah didn’t expect her TikTok video about a work-from-home hack to go viral. She started using a mouse mover—a small device placed under her computer mouse, to keep the cursor active—after her job as a business lead in advertising transitioned to remote work at the start of the pandemic. Her company-issued computer set her status to “away” whenever she stopped moving her cursor or got up from her desk for more than a few seconds, and with three kids at home who needed help doing remote classes during school lockdowns, that little “away” signal was driving her nuts.
“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 me. “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.”
Recently, more remote workers have been hacking together DIY mouse movers, like this one made of LEGO pieces or as brutal as a brick on a spacebar, as their own recent revolts against remote monitoring by “bossware”. But online retailers like Amazon are also full of plug-and-play mouse movers, with options that physically rotate the mouse’s cursor from below, or USB sticks that come preloaded with software that mimics mouse movements. Plugging in the stick tricks the computer into thinking it’s an active mouse.
On YouTube, mouse mover videos have hundreds of thousands of views. These videos are intended to play on a phone screen, with a mouse resting on top. The movement of the lines in the video should make optical mouse cursors move.
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