This work-from-home tool lets you take a real break while tricking your micro-managing boss and judging coworkers into thinking you’re still at the keyboard

work from home lurk hack rehaan adatia

More people are working from home than ever before due to the coronavirus.
That has created tension between managers concerned about productivity suffering and workers who are urged — or even required — to always be at their computer.
Lurk From Home aims to fix that problem by letting people take breaks without appearing offline by tricking programs like Microsoft Teams and Slack into thinking they’re still working.
But he says his goal is actually to improve people’s productivity by allowing them to release stress and maintain better work-life balance.
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The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people around the world to work from home full time — many for the first time in their lives — and the transition hasn’t always been seamless.

By now, we’ve all seen plenty of horror stories about Zoom calls gone wrong, kids interrupting at the worst possible moments, and the difficulties of staying productive while also maintaining your mental health.

Research shows that a big part of that means taking breaks to parent, eat, or just get some fresh air and give your mind a chance to refocus.

But some workers haven’t felt able to do that, either because of demanding employers and managers who are concerned about productivity suffering — or simply because employees don’t want to give coworkers the impression they’re slacking off.

In-person workplaces allow your bosses and colleagues to see when you’re on the job, but now many companies have become reliant on tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack to determine when someone’s “at their desk.” Some have even turned to VPNs and webcams to constantly monitor employees throughout the day.

That’s increased stress levels for some employees — but it also inspired Rehaan Adatia, a consultant at KPMG, and Haris Akbar, a post-doctoral fellow at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, to find a way to help work-from-homers reclaim some control over their schedule.

“We were seeing an uptick in these micro-managing initiatives taken up by managers to really check in a little bit further on their employees,” Adatia told Business Insider, adding that a survey they sent around online confirmed that others were having difficulties taking breaks without prompting questions from managers or judgment from coworkers.

So, they built Lurk From Home, a tool that tricks work chats and productivity monitoring software into thinking someone’s still at their computer by using a Java plugin to intermittently move the mouse or play a media clip in the background to keep their screen active.

It’s invisible to the human eye, but Adatia told Business Insider it’s enough to trigger activity logs for Slack, Cisco Jabber, and Microsoft’s Teams, Skype for Business, and Lync, as well as VPNs that may track what workers are up to throughout the day.

From hardware hack to software for hard workers

Adatia said he and Akbar didn’t build Lurk For Home just to enable people to be lazy, and he’s mindful of companies that might perceive it that way and try to block their tool.

“I can see …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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