Pokémon GO at Work – Productivity, Safety and Security | DCR Workforce Blog

Pokémon GO at Work – Productivity, Safety and Security

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.

Poké Fever!

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!

Pokemon GO eevee with DCR logo

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…

Policing the Poké players

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”:

  • Produce a Policy – an overall device policy can go a long way toward managing device usage at work as long as you have solid rules and guidelines. Be as specific as possible. Don’t use vague terms. For example, some of our customers have a “no cameras” policy due to the sensitive nature of their business. Using Pokémon GO in Augmented Reality (AR) mode could, therefore, get a worker into hot water since it uses the camera function on the phone.
  • Performance vs Playtime – measuring a worker’s performance level, instead of how many minutes he or she spends gaming, is a better indicator of output. If performance starts to lag due to too much gaming, it’s worth having a chat to discuss the issue. However, if performance remains consistent, maybe it’s best to leave it alone. Many high-performance individuals can easily manage their time effectively, even as they run around throwing Pokéballs.
  • Place a Premium on Priorities – studies have shown that sometimes workers “waste time” on gaming, social media or internet searches because they don’t have enough work to keep them busy. So whether or not this is true, managers need to check in with workers to ensure they have a clear set of priorities and that they know to come to them if they need more work to fill their work day.
  • Promise Pokémon – if you have an office with a casual company culture, and it’s safe to do so, you could even set up a “lure” (an in-game item used to attract large numbers of Pokémon) at a Poké Stop as long as the app is used only during lunch, for example. For many players, they’ll be less likely to try to sneak around trying to catch the ever-elusive and rare characters such as Mew and Mewtwo, if you provide them with the promise of a Pokémon.

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?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.

2 responses to “Pokémon GO at Work – Productivity, Safety and Security”

  1. Shelley Luzaich says:

    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/

  2. Lalita Vempati says:

    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!

Shelley has been a published writer since 6th grade. She loves the creative process, and writes so much that it looks like her keyboard is on fire. She’s developed copy for Fortune 500 companies and won numerous advertising and marketing awards.