The pandemic has brought about an abundance of remote work opportunities. As of 2022, the job search website Zippia claims that a whopping 26% of all US employees now work remotely, and Pew Research estimates that a majority of workers whose jobs allow them to work from home (59%) now do so all or most of the time.
The benefits of remote work are manifold. Remote workers generally report less stress, better morale, and a better work-life balance than their in-office counterparts, according to Zippia. Which makes total sense, first because of the absence of stressful commutes and in-office politics, but also because job stressors are easier to put up with surrounded by the comforts of home.
But remote work has its trade-offs, including the expectation that you be “on” at all times. In the physical workplace, it’s commonplace and expected for office workers to step away from their desks all the time for coffee breaks or water cooler talk with coworkers. But in remote work culture, workers can be judged negatively when their chat software (Teams, Slack, Skype, etc.) puts a little “Away” message next to their name whenever their computer isn’t touched after just a few minutes.
Remote workers know this isn’t entirely fair, since they have office chat and email apps on their smartphones which travel with them wherever they go. So even if they step out to check the mail or grab a bite to eat, they are still always available for a call or text, regardless of whether they are physically sitting in front of their computer. Nevertheless, the Teams/Slack/Skype chat programs don’t care if you’ve got their app on your phone – it only counts if there’s activity on your computer.
So is there a way to keep your chat status Active even when you’re in the other room?
Yes, with a mouse jiggler.
Despite the funny name, this USB device does exactly what its name suggests – it moves your cursor continually like a robot to make your computer think there’s activity happening. This effectively prevents your computer from going into sleep mode and keeps your little dot on your chat program always green.
If you search for mouse jigglers on Amazon or check the suggestions below you’ll see there are quite a few options. We tried some of the options with the most reviews. All the options below will keep your computer awake and run on automatically installed generic drivers, undetectable to IT departments. And all will work fine alongside a wireless mouse.
But we concluded there is a real winner – the Auedrot 2-mode version. Why? Because of its on/off button.
The way all these devices work is by moving your cursor just a few pixels left and right repeatedly. At first, you may think (as we did) that’s fine to leave on all the time, but after a few minutes, you’ll realize it interferes with your ability to accurately highlight text or maneuver a scrollbar. Plus it will keep your computer awake even after the end of the workday when you want it to go to sleep.
So you will definitely want the ability to turn the jiggler functionality on and off at will. Some of the most popular devices on Amazon do not have a switch and are always active as long as they are plugged into a USB drive, so you would have to constantly be unplugging and plugging back in. With the device being so small and modern laptops having such tight USB drives, that will just hurt your fingers and wear out your drives.
That’s why the Auedrot 2-mode mouse mover is the clear winner. Not only does it have an on/off button, letting you leave it plugged in all the time, but it has two jiggler modes – one that just moves your cursor a few pixels left and right (blue light) and one that moves your cursor in random patterns around the screen (green light). The mode you use is just a matter of preference – both modes work just fine to keep your computer awake and chat status active. You long-press the button on the device to turn it on and off, and short press the button to switch between modes. You can always tell if this device is active by whether it has the green/blue light on.
Note that all the mouse jigglers on Amazon are generically branded so it can be hard to find the right one. Just click the link below to go straight to our pick:
The cheap price for one of these mouse movers can provide a lot of peace of mind. Whenever you want to take a screen break, just turn on your mouse jiggler and walk away. Your boss and coworkers will never know you’re not at your computer!