Mouse movers keep your cursor moving when you are away from your screen doing something more useful than work. They have existed for years, but their popularity soared as people began working from home early in the pandemic. They are part of a growing trend of workers who have had enough of their bosses installing spyware to make sure they are working.
What is weird is that a lot of remote work – reading reports, listening to meetings – doesn’t require moving the mouse, so while your boss might think you are goofing off you are working hard.
Tech8 began making mouse movers focused on gamers who didn’t want their sessions to time out when they took a break. Initially, the mouse movers were made using a 3D printer.
The company said that when the pandemic hit, people started buying the mouse movers for home use, and the company found itself unable to keep up with demand. Sales have continued to increase, and the company expects its 2023 sales volume to be triple the 2020 figure.
Sales continued to rise after workers returned to the office because some workers needed to keep their computers going when they were doing something important such as healthcare workers use mouse movers to keep their computers awake while they talk to patients; IT teams use them to test software; students may need them to make it easier to take notes while they watch a lecture.
The Guardian says that autocratic bosses are starting to get wise to the fairly low budget technology and are installing facial scanning software in PCs to make sure staff don't leave their cubicles.
Eight in 10 of the biggest private companies in the US track individual productivity, according to the New York Times. And workplace computers may be able to detect the use of peripherals, which could reveal some mouse movers to your boss. If your employer has remote access to your computer screen, they might notice repetitive mouse movements that would be a red flag.