Pokemon Go… Away!?

Pokemon Go… Away!?

What is Pokemon Go?
It is an augmented reality game in which players should walk around and collect digital creatures. It is the mobile app which has taken the ‘spotlight’ from Game of Thrones and has become the talk of the town for the past few weeks. Often referred to as “dangerous”, “time-sink” and “productivity threat”, mocked by “intelligent” people and loved by the millennials. It is also the reason why many other businesses will benefit from. Like the battery packs sector or the medical companies – for treating severe neck pains and Pokemon-chasing injuries.
Is Pokemon Go a problem?
According to Forbes poll, 69% of Pokemon Go users play at work.

Do we have a problem here? Is Pokemon Go really that bad, addictive and such a terrible game which leads to death, car crashes, injuries, job losses etc.? Surely Pokemon Go is just out there like many other addictive apps like Tinder, Angry Birds, like drugs, like alcohol… No doubt that the minds behind Pokemon Go are excellent psychologists, strategists and marketers. But they have by no means obliged anyone to play.

So we cannot really claim that the game is to be blamed. It is not addictive. It simply turns out to be interesting to people and they get addicted. That’s another story. People are in charge of coming to their senses. They are the ones to set and keep the healthy boundaries of hunting digital Pokemons.

We came across many articles explaining how bosses should ban Pokemon Go or already encountered angry, authoritative notices of bosses who already did that.

The effect of this “ban” is doomed to failure similarly to the ban of Facebook on company computers, whereas employees simply use Facebook through their personal mobile phones.

Another article outlined a couple of tips on how to protect your employees and to make them prioritize work over Pokemon Go. This looks like nothing more but a big, red warning signal about the helplessness of humanity. We already live in an “augmented” reality – the reality where bosses would need to craft strategies to prevent employees from playing games during their work hours. The reality where society is thinking about protecting users from themselves. The reality in which the majority of men are not hunting animals to secure the dinner (haha, right?) but are hunting not particularly eye-pleasing digital creatures with no cause in mind.

On top of everything, some writers put forward the argument that Pokemon Go brings people “together” – we can just imagine the conversation flow:

“Hey, did you capture X?”

“Yeah, pretty cool, mate!”

“Yeah, how many have you got so far?”

“[number] and you?”(you see how social people can be in the digital era? A-m-a-z-i-n-g!)

Pokemon Go is not the problem. If catching Pokemons is the reason we will talk to each other, we will do exercise or we will neglect our jobs, the problem is definitely not in Pokemon Go.

Is Pokemon Go hindering productivity at work?
If one has no self-control, then clearly yes.

If you are banning Pokemon Go, then be sure your team is going to find sneaky ways to play. Do not make it the forbidden fruit.

We will separate our tips in two – for employees who are willing to be more conscientious of what is happening during their workday and for employers who want to use Pokemon Go to their company’s benefit. Keep an open mind.

Pokemon Go – the new productivity stimulus for your employees, a short guide

  1. Write a humourous company email to let your employees know you are worried about them bumping into each other, literally, while Pokemon-hunting in the corridor. Finish with something like – “Unfortunately, the company cannot afford introducing “Pokemon Go”- related bonuses. I know, we’re very stingy and traditional!” Humour has the powers to mildly communicate a message, while being clear enough about the outcomes.
  2. Introduce weekly team competitions (during lunch break or close to end of the day). Make your team share about their experiences. Form teams and demonstrate you are OK with some moderate Pokemon Go usage.
  3. Take Pokemon Go to another level. Introduce a business or a social cause. Encourage your employees to be more thoughtful and think of their own rewards. Whether it would be a piggy bank for beers, or a collective aim like fundraising for children, that truly depends on the people you are working with.
  4. Tie Pokemon Go to Deadlines. Let your team play a certain period of time in the office for every met deadline.
  5. Organize a team building event or a Pokemon-themed party. If your employees like chasing Pokemons, motivate and encourage them to do so in the right time – breaks, after work, parties and other designated times. Take pictures, be truly social and make your employees happy (hence more productive).

Pokemon Go – how to improve your work performance, a short guide

  1. Play on your way to work, find new routes and cross streets carefully. If you do not have the routine to do sports in the morning, perhaps catching Pokemons for 30 minutes will be the ideal way to start your day. Thus, when you arrive, you will feel satisfied and ready to start tackling your daily tasks.
  2. Remember the Pomodoro technique? You spend 25 minutes per task and then you take a 5-minute break. What about a joint Pomodoro-Pokemon technique? Try it and see whether you get more things done.
  3. Put away your phone and do your most unpleasant or heavy daily tasks first. After you are done, reward yourself with a little Pokemon Go Walk.
  4. Talk to your fellow colleagues about it. After all, although it is not a very profound conversation topic, it is an excellent ice breaker and can increase your productivity. You will feel supported because other co-workers are sharing your hobby rather than being scolded at about playing it. Team spirit is crucial to productivity.
  5. Put away your phone and exercise concentration and self-control. It is important for your well-being that you are in charge of technology, not the other way around.

Picture credit: Pawel Kuczynski