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Pokémon Go: What effect is it having on your workplace?

Pokemon Go is the app everyone is talking about. It is a virtual scavenger hunt, making you get up and search and collect characters in the real world. There are increasing numbers of people young and old walking around holding their smart phones up trying to catch various species of Pokemon. Launched on 6 July it has already become the fastest growing app in the UK. It is a game that encourages obsessive behaviour, so it is not surprising that according to a Forbes poll 69% of users play during working hours. The poll indicates that the users are bonding with co-workers and are exercising more due to the app.

Is it becoming disruptive?

Some businesses may experience the following;
• Employees are away from workstations for extended periods
• Loss of productivity- if employees are moving around and changing location chances are they are not being productive.
• Misuse of company property
• Attendance- early leaving, lateness, absence.
• Delays in completing tasks
• Increase in accidents, incidents and near misses

How to manage this?

The phenomenon doesn’t appear to be age-limited. Businesses should be clear on what they expect but also try and use the community that may have developed from this. Early reports are that it gets people talking and working together, sharing ideas and views.

However, caution should be applied for those working in factories or construction sites. There have been reports of people walking into walls and falling into rivers so your duty of care is paramount.

Tips on managing disruption;
• Put policies in place regarding the use of mobile phones in the workplace. Have employees downloaded the app on company phones? It may be worth reviewing your policies in this case.
• Make sure your driving policy makes it clear that the use of mobile phones whilst driving is illegal
• Investigating and disciplining where necessary
• Continue with communicating priorities and deadlines, ensuring that performance doesn’t drop.


You may want to utilise the benefits that Pokemon Go can bring and turn it into a team building tool. Using breaks and lunch times to play it and perhaps hold competitions. Employees would be less likely to sneak away. The mobility required would help staff wellbeing as exercise is known to reduce stress and can therefore make some people more productive.

In the end, Pokemon Go can be seen as just another distraction in this social media world and as such should be treated the same as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp to name a few. Adopting a consistent approach on managing this in the work place will be key.

Pokémon Go: What effect is it having on your workplace?

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