June 14, 2024

Who measures productivity in mouse movements?

On the radio today, a story about how some employees in a US firm have been sacked for using mouse-jigglers – devices that automatically move a computer mouse to keep the computer awake.

It appears that these devices, alongside others that randomly generate ‘mouse clicks’, also fool some of the systems set up to surveil employees working remotely.

Hence the sackings.

My immediate reaction was to ask: Were the managers sacked for measuring mouse movements instead of results? Who measures productivity in mouse movements?

My next reaction was to remember that since the dawn of slavery, which was also the dawn of capitalism, masters everywhere have sought to ensure they get the highest quantity of work they can out of the people under them. Without necessarily caring about the quality of that work.

While slaves everywhere, being ingenious humans, have always found ways to game the system.

The answer to increasing productivity, also known since the dawn of capitalism, is never to strengthen surveillance or toughen up on punishment.

It is to measure what truly matters to the business – how many promises have been made, how many kept, how many new ways to promise have been created. And to share the risk, responsibility, and reward for doing that fairly, among everyone involved.

Discipline makes Daring possible.