Pokémon Go is the latest craze in phone apps, as we all know. People of all ages and backgrounds play this game, and for the devout players, it can affect their jobs. Even a reporter at a State Department briefing was caught playing the game last week during a press conference. While this game may or may not quickly lose its popularity, it does highlight some problems phone apps like this can cause for employers.
The game itself can take an employee’s attention away from their work. The most serious players may keep the game app open all day to ensure they don’t miss anything. No surprise that this can seriously affect an employee’s productivity at work.
There can be some serious safety implications if an employee is playing the game. In a manufacturing setting, it can be quite dangerous if an employee is distracted from the task at hand. We’ve all heard about drivers going off the road while playing the game, so remind any employees that drive for work that phone usage is prohibited while driving, especially when employer-owned vehicles are involved.
The game is also causing concern about its access to information on a user’s phone. If employees are playing the game on a phone provided by the employer or a phone containing work-related information, that information may not be secure.
We do not encourage employers to overreact should they find employees playing the game, but make sure employees understand expectations in the workplace. Employers should go over their policies regarding cell phone use and data security or even revise the policy, if needed, to deal with this phenomenon and the inevitability of the next fad mobile app.