Unitasker Wednesday: Computer Rearview Mirror

computer rearview mirrorAll Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

I have nothing against mirrors. They are very useful. Mirrors can be used to help you put on make-up, shave, floss your teeth, etc. Dentists use tiny mirrors to see all of our teeth. You can install large convex safety mirrors to see around blind corners and prevent accidents.

The Clip-On Cubicle Mirror/Computer Rearview Mirror was invented to help workers in open office spaces. Many open office plans have desks facing walls or have desk ‘nodes’ where workers face each other and have their backs open to the rest of the room. However, millions of years of evolution has taught humans that sitting with our backs exposed makes us vulnerable and we instinctively seek to minimize that threat. When we are in this unprotected situation, our stress levels increase. The theory is the Clip-On Cubicle Mirror/Computer Rearview Mirror is supposed to help us minimize this stress by allowing workers to see people walk up behind them.

In my opinion, this mirror will do the exact opposite. Any flicker in the mirror, would be a distraction. The worker would continually look to see if the flicker is a potential threat. Rather than improve productivity, this device may actually decrease productivity and increase employee stress levels.

Let’s solve the whole problem by redesigning office spaces so that these mirrors are not needed and workers, (especially women) feel safe, comfortable, and less stressed.

9 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Computer Rearview Mirror”

  1. posted by Lily on

    I sit at a roll top desk in my home office, and there is a window behind me which looks out onto the street. Since I would be by myself, in my home, I think I could make good use of this mirror. However i agree with the points that you made about using it in an office.

  2. posted by Colin on

    Every single time someone walks behind me, I turn my head. Every. Single. Time.

    My rear view mirror is a godsend.

  3. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    I had my own little office/cell up until I retired last year, so I never had the problem. But I have worked in a cubicle and sort of understand the idea. But personally, I think a real open office is better than cubicles. A cubicle might be a good idea if you were on the telephone a lot and they really are clever and compact pieces of furniture, with shelves, filing cabinets and usually plenty of desktop space. And they help in keeping down the noise level, not that you hear the sound of a typewriter anymore. Those are all good points.

    On the other hand, they can inhibit communication, assuming there is ever a need to interact with another human being where you work. But the additional privacy might easily tend to enable you to goof off instead of working, since no one can see what you’re doing. A mirror even helps you to get away with it, too.

  4. posted by Tina on

    One of my staff has something like this. Due to the location of her workstation, people have to approach her from behind. Before she got the mirror, she was frequently startled by these approaches. (Like most in our open-office space, she listens to music on headphones to drown out the ambient noise.) With the mirror, being startled out of her skin is much reduced. Maybe a unitasker but a useful one.

  5. posted by Margaret on

    The biggest problem I had with the corner cubicle design, was having to swivel 180 degrees to answer someone who had a quick question. A mirror would not have helped that. I abandoned the corner and put my computer near the short wall by the entrance. People could just stop and ask away, and it didn’t seem to interrupt my work as much, since I could just turn my head to the side to answer them. And yes, it was also not fun being startled from behind. In truth, I probably would not have been looking in the mirror if I had one.

  6. posted by Carol on

    As a Feng Shui practitioner, I recommend computer monitor mirrors to clients who sit with their backs to the door. This is considered an inauspicious position because things go on “behind your back,” actually and symbolically. You can be caught off guard. There are several designs for these mirrors and some are better than others. Or, you can position any kind of mirror in front of you so you can so behind you. Rather than being a distraction, these mirrors are helpful. And yes, of course, better office design is the best solution to this problem.

  7. posted by source on

    This is a real gift I think for me..!

  8. posted by Jessie on

    This would be useful in a situation I had at one workplace, where a supervisor liked to sneak up on people from behind and stand there quietly, reading whatever was on their screens. Whether we were doing our work correctly or not, nobody likes being spied on.

  9. posted by Steph on

    “…laugh at their ridiculousness?” What is ridiculous is that I should go to my Workplace Resource Department and ask that they reorganize the entire office, including doors and hallways, rather than me buying a $10 mirror so I can see behind me.

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