And Now This…Pokemon Go In The Workplace

By July 29, 2016News

So, we have a new social game craze to contend with as it encroaches on the workplace. What’s an employer to do? Where should the lines be drawn to ensure performance is held to a high standard while allowing employees to have a bit of fun? In practical ways, employees who are fascinated in chasing down these characters while on a production floor pose a real risk to themselves and others. The distraction element of the game is well documented. It’s an immersive obsession that people sometimes just can’t put down when they start their workday.

Some practical considerations to take into account –

  1. This is not a recommended “scavenger hunt” type of team-building exercise. It takes your employees outside of a controlled environment and causes potential unknown risk conditions. Plus, it could set the tone for an endorsement of use that may create more disruption than intended goodwill.
  2. Employees who bring their Pokemon Go obsession into their workday should be viewed in the same manner as any other distraction may impact performance. That’s the suggested course of action for managers. Hold employees accountable for their results on the job, their participation in their team’s efforts to getting work done and to be readily accessible for their colleagues. If those conditions are not met, then it’s a manager’s duty to focus on the performance issue directly versus dictating an employee’s personal interests.
  3. Confirm that your policies do not allow the playing of computer or phone games while at work. In fact, if phones are company-issued, your IT group may be able to limit downloading of applications.
  4. If you’ve not already put in place a policy on texting while driving, consider adopting or expanding policy language to take into account any form of distractions that could put an employee and his/her passengers at risk.

This interest-of-the-moment will fade. In the meantime, Austin HR strongly encourages company leaders to take the most direct route, focusing on performance, remaining consistent and holding people accountable to minimize outside, personal interests as a distraction in the workplace.

About David Hughen

Strategic HR consultant, leadership coach, co-owner and co-founder of Austin HR and Your HR Group.