Remote employees are increasingly coming under surveillance by their employers. While hailed as heroes during COVID, remote workers are now just property to track.
Some employers may use existing software to track their employees. For example, software such as MS Teams maintains an active “Available” status when an employee is busy on their computer. However, if the employee takes a coffee break and leaves their computer, this Available status will at some point change to an “Away” status.
Some employers will set an activity timeout aggressively so that just a couple of minutes of inactivity will show that the employee is “Away”. Regardless that the employee may be on the telephone and still working, it looks to everyone else (including your boss or worst enemy) that the employee is “Away” and not currently working.
However, some remote workers are fighting back against intrusive monitoring and using technology to help them, enter the Mouse Movers.
MouseJiggle is one such piece of software. This Mouse Jiggler aims to stimulate the normal movements of a remote worker as they move their mouse around their computer and screen. Also known as a Mouse Shakers or Auto Mouse Mover, it works to prevent screen locking or system sleeping.
This software is ideal if you use your own computer to work from home. Installing this on employer supplied computers may be against policy or the worker may lack the permissions. Similarly if the computer belongs to the employer the employee typically does not have privacy so employers can spy on their workers.
Remember to take care with this solution as employers may use other software to monitor worker activity, so only use this for short periods such as when you need to take a guilt free restroom break at home. They should not be used in a public location if you will be away from your computer as they will keep you logged in and thus the computer will be open for anyone to use.
Employers have a right to have their employees working, however employees also have a right to take a break.