Unless you’ve been otherwise engaged recently, you cannot fail to have heard of Pokemon GO, the smartphone game that has taken the world by storm in less than a month. Take-up of the game has been so rapid that, facing a drastic lack of workplace productivity, many HR professionals have been forced to consider just how stringent their workplace technology policies are.
Based on the hit TV series, Pokemon GO is essentially an augmented reality game, challenging users to use their GPS to find and catch Pokemon characters located within their everyday surroundings. Whilst many argue for the health benefits of the game, with reports of people walking miles at a time to find the rarest characters, many HR professionals have expressed concerns as to just how immersive the gaming experience can be.
It would be easy to dismiss Pokemon GO as just another workplace distraction, but its ready availability on personal mobile devices means that it can be extremely difficult to monitor, sparking concerns around employees’ abilities to do their jobs effectively with when such a huge distraction is so close at hand.
Whilst the fad remains popular within the workplace, it may be wise to revisit the technology policy in your employee handbook. If you already have a section that clearly restricts gaming and social media usage during office time, then any rules laid out should also apply to Pokemon GO. Consider putting together a gaming policy if you do not already have one, and liaise with your IT department to see if they can limit the ability to download certain applications onto company devices.
If you already have such a policy in place, then make sure that it is applied consistently, so as not to cause any issues with discrimination or to provoke confusion around what constitutes sensible behaviour. For example, it would be unwise to encourage managers to use the game as a ‘teambuilding exercise,’ whilst punishing other employees for their usage.
If large numbers of staff are venturing outside at lunchtimes to hunt for Pokemon, then it may be beneficial to call an informal staff meeting to remind people of health and safety policies. Ensure that attendees are aware of their personal safety, and highlight the need to be vigilant of any dangerous areas nearby.
Lastly, try to see the game as an opportunity to promote workplace socialising – support those using the game to bond with co-workers, and suggest specific periods over lunchtimes to encourage people to ‘hunt’ outside.
Composing, implementing and maintaining adequate HR policies, covering areas such as social media and gaming, can be hassle-free if you have an automated system in place. Cloud-based HR and Payroll software, such as Cascade, can aid you in building and managing comprehensive policies spanning all areas of your business, and updating documents with any new legislation is quick and easy.
If you’d like to see what our software could do for your business, then why not book a demo?