Why you should encourage Pokémon Go in the office

When it comes to Pokémon Go-ing in the office, it’s not all fun and games. Recent workplace surveys have found that up to 24 per cent of workers with smartphones admit to gaming at work, which means there’s a lot of deskside down-time happening. But managers worried the entire department is busy catching Pokémon while deadlines slip shouldn’t despair.

As the line between work and personal time becomes increasingly blurred, non-work activities such as gaming or social media may actually have little negative effect on productivity. In fact, these distractions could serve as much-needed mental breaks for employees experiencing midday brain-drain. Allowing for a little play can be motivating and boost creativity, as employees return from their breaks with renewed focus and clarity. Good employees make sure that work still gets done, even if they take a few minutes every now and then for personal interests.

Company leaders can also use times like this, where a pop-culture trend or new technology infiltrates the workplace, as an opportunity to reiterate and reinforce the organization’s break-time and online security policies.

Keeping company data safe is a top concern for organizations facing a constantly evolving stream of tech tools. And when it comes to avoiding security vulnerabilities, the best offence is a good defence. A Robert Half Technology survey found that 53 per cent of Chief information officers (CIOs) are enhancing employee training on security issues. Educating employees on how, why, and what vulnerabilities can arise as a result of their online activities at work is essential in ensuring best practices are in place to prevent data breaches.

Managers who see trouble brewing (i.e., more missed meetings than missed PokéStops) should keep in mind that communication is key. Address distractions or productivity dips immediately and clearly define what is, and isn’t, appropriate online usage. Encourage your employees to be strategic about when they’re on their devices, limiting use to specific times of the day. Recommend that they leave them out of sight to avoid temptation during work hours, and consider implementing “no phone zones” in meetings for a more collaborative group experience. Have them save game-time for lunch, and organize Pokémon Go get-togethers. Capturing wild Pokémon with colleagues can be a great way to build a sense of camaraderie, while preventing workday poké-chases from getting out of hand.

That said, great managers know that employees who feel trusted and supported are often the most motivated. Lead by example by avoiding getting swept up in the craze yourself (yes, it can happen to anyone), but leave room for a little fun. Your staff will appreciate the mental break, and you’ll get the opportunity to connect with them beyond the boardroom.


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