Is Pokémon hiding in your workplace?

Is your workplace Pokémon free? Here’s how to catch Pokémon Go in your social media policy … and some hints on how your business can benefit too.


What is Pokémon all about?

The summer saw a new craze which could be played by anyone with a smart phone. The new Pokémon Go game, which is set in the real world, has got people playing everywhere because it uses augmented reality and GPS tracking to position wild Pokémon all around us.  And, yes, that means in the workplace too.

The point of the game is to capture Pokémons and to do this, players need access to pokestops and gyms.

  • A pokestop is a refuelling point – a location where players can stock up on pokeballs (which they use to catch Pokémon) and other items. Pokestops are often landmarks or buildings, and every single player will need to visit one fairly regularly if they want to keep playing
  • A Gym is the place players go to do battle with their Pokémon. Gyms attract a lot of players throughout the day as they try to battle for dominance over that particular site

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Can your business benefit?

Some businesses have really benefited from being a pokestop, or near a pokestop. They’ve seen a surge in people dropping by their cafe or shop while they refuel their pokeballs through the day.

Even business that aren’t near a pokestop are attracting players (i.e. customers) by posting ‘lures’ or organising a ‘pokehunt’.

Is it legal to kill a Pokémon?

Not all businesses are devotees of Pokémon. The problem is that it’s got people playing along at all times of the day and night and while employers may be happy for their employees to enjoy this app in their lunch breaks, they may not want them using work time or premises and disturbing those who are working.

There is also the danger of exposing the organisation to viruses and hackers, if employees are using work devices to access the game, and potentially jeopardising the confidentiality of any sensitive business information stored on them.

As an employer you are within your rights to use the disciplinary policy if this happens, but you should first ensure that staff are aware of the boundaries of acceptable or unacceptable use of gaming applications, social media or other internet-based platforms.

How to catch Pokémon in your social media policy

While most businesses will already have a range of policy and guidance on using social media and the internet, Pokémon Go (or similar apps) are a new phenomenon and may need a special mention.

If you are concerned about the effect of Pokémon Go in the workplace, you should confirm your expectations in relation to its use.

At the very least, you should remind employees of your social media policy.

What to include:

  • It’s worth specifying which types of applications, or use (including social media activities), your existing policies cover
  • It’s not necessary to mention the Pokémon Go game by name in a policy, but the policy should make your expectations clear
  • Be clear on where and when (and if) they can use the game at work
  • It’s acceptable for you to limit employees’ use of gaming apps to areas outside the building to minimise the disruption games like this could cause

Pokémon are a bit like great employees. They are rare, some of them have distinctive skills, but sometimes you have to do battle with them to make them stronger, unlock new talents and get them focusing on the job at hand (rather than playing games).

If this sounds familiar, contact us to find out how we can save you from the Pokémons.