Q. I have been told that Pokémon Go is a lot of fun, but it seems like my employees are spending more time trying to catch fictional monsters than getting their work done. How do I keep this craze in check?
Yours is not the only workplace to succumb to the Pokémon Go craze! In a recent poll by Forbes and Apester, 69 percent of the employees surveyed admitted to playing Pokémon Go at work. Even more disturbing, more than one-third of the employees confessed to spending more than an hour of the workday playing the game.
It is one thing to use the lunch break for Pokémon Go play, but when workers are spending more time wandering the office floors catching Pikachus than getting their work done, what can you do?
Whether you decide to limit gaming to breaks and other non-work times, or ban it from the workplace altogether, make sure that you apply these rules to all employees, regardless of protected class. If there are legitimate business reasons for restricting Pokémon Go and other distractions more broadly in certain areas of the workplace – such as on factory floors – be sure to explain the reason for treating certain categories of workers differently (i.e., health and safety).
Once you have a decided on the appropriate policy, consider how to communicate it to employees in a positive manner, so that they understand the importance of minimizing distractions and increasing productivity. Train your managers so that the message is conveyed clearly throughout the company, and to ensure that discipline for wandering the building searching for Charmanders is applied consistently.
If your company provides employees with company-owned smartphones, consider installing firewalls to ban the application. Allowing employees to play Pokemon Go and other games on company-issued mobile devices could open up the company’s systems to data security and virus issues.
If your business is open to the public, consider whether you need to ward off players who are loitering rather than visiting for business reasons.
While Pokémon Go is the latest distraction, the key to keeping your workers from engaging in play at work starts with motivation. Looks for ways to keep your employees engaged in the project at hand by making sure they understand the endgame and buy into their role in the process. And consider the fact that this newest game app has its upsides. It gets employees out of their seats and encourages them to interact in a positive way towards a common goal. Hmm, that sounds a lot like work!
-Tracey E. Diamond