It’s official: Pokémon GO is a thing. It’s a trend. It’s a phenomenon. It’s also becoming a workplace issue! The craze that’s sweeping the nation and even the globe has some unintended side effects – it’s affecting workplace productivity, safety and security.
Pokéfans all over the world have a new Poké Fever. You’ll see them take to the streets, drain their cell phone batteries, use more data than ever and get more exercise than they have in years. It has been praised for bringing people together; and criticized as yet another distraction leading to pedestrian and driver injury (user’s fault, not the app’s).
Sad to say, even as the main screen specifically warns players to be aware of their surroundings, there are surely going to be people who ignore the warning as well as don’t heed the advice to capture carefully and respect real-world boundaries.
You may also notice it infiltrate the office setting, as the line between personal time and work time has become blurred, and many employers expect workers to put in more than the standard 40 hours, so workers are taking more mini-breaks to compensate for it. Case in point: This Eevee was captured at the DCR office recently!
Playing Pokémon GO doesn’t necessarily mean that workers won’t get their work done, it may just mean they’re likely to use their breaks for gaming. In fact, a June survey by job site CareerBuilder found that 66% of workers use their smartphone at work, with 24% of those admitting to gaming on apps. And since Pokémon-attracting “lures” are being placed around office buildings, well…
If you find that your employees are busier chasing Pikachu than doing their work, you have a problem. And if they’re fighting in the “gym” instead of attending to their tasks, you need to address it. Maybe they’re only playing during their lunch break, but they’re returning late, so it’s now an attendance issue. Then it’s time to police the Poké players.
That doesn’t mean you have to get nasty like one manager who gave employees a spiteful letter saying, “We are paying you to work, not chase fictional game characters with your cell phone all day. Save it for your break time or lunch. Otherwise you’ll have plenty of time unemployed to ‘Catch them all’.” [sic]
There are other less dramatic and more professional ways to deal with a Poké Problem! In fact, Lifehacker.com gives the following tips on “How to Keep Pokémon GO from Affecting Productivity in Your Office”:
If your workers are enticed by Pokémon GO and it’s affecting their performance, safety or security, now is the time to nip it in the bud…because the release of Pokémon GO Plus (a wearable Bluetooth-enabled device that uses LED and vibration to notify gamers the appearance of a Pokémon is nearby) is right around the corner (pun intended)!
Has your office been overrun with Pokémon GO gamers? What are you doing about it?
Since writing this post, I’ve noticed several people of all ages playing Pokemon GO all over town, and even watched a video clip where a State Department briefing was interrupted when a reporter was “busted” trying to capture a Pokemon. Also, I wanted to include an update for those who may think gaming is silly. USA Today reported on July 23 that Nick Johnson was the first person to collect all 142 Pokemon in North America. What’s next for Nick? Well, he gets to enjoy an international adventure, sponsored by Marriott Rewards, to collect Pokemon in Europe, Japan and Australia. Now I wish I had played the game instead of just writing about it! http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/gaming/2016/07/23/we-found-out-what-happens-after-you-catch-every-pokmon/87462700/
Your advice to keep safety in mind shows great insight and amazing forethought; given the stories we hear of Pokémon GO players getting hurt as they fall down; all the way to their being lured to lonely places by robbers! Yes… enjoy the little pleasures of life without losing sight of the main issues like personal safety and learn to combine work with play!
Here is to letting Pokémon GO go, but with a rider: All play and no work makes Jack a…! It all depends on what each of us completes that blank with!
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