"Why Pokémon Go Is Causing Companies Around The World To Update Their HR Policies?"
It is hard to believe that less than two months ago, Pokémon Go was nothing more than another new app. While Pokémon was once just for kids, this is the first gaming app to incorporate augmented reality successfully into a mobile app—an app attracting gamers of all ages. Unlike most gaming apps, this GPS-enabled app requires you to get up and about in search of Pokémon. While the game is the most successful of all time and generates multiple millions of dollars each day, it is causing many problems.
Pokémon Go Related Accidents
There have been reports in the leading publications and news sites all around the world of Pokémon Go-related accidents. Since the app requires you to look at the map while on foot, many gamers get so caught up that they lose track of their surroundings. From players walking into ongoing traffic, kids accidentally crossing the Canadian/US border, car accidents—and multiple near misses.
However, the accidents are
not just occurring during personal time, but distracted gaming while walking through the office has caused concern for workplace safety and employer liability. Accidents aside, gaming while on the clock has many HR teams revising their company policies.
Where Do You Draw The Line With Electronics Flexibility?
Some companies have and will always be strict when it comes to texting, checking personal email, or taking personal calls while at work—but to support balance, some companies are far more flexible. The challenge with flexible electronics HR policies is where you draw the line. While productivity was once the primary concern, Pokémon Go introduces the increased risk for employee distractions that have the potential to create costly accidents. Unlike most gaming apps that you can play for only a few minutes at a time, Pokémon Go requires a bit of a search to achieve results—meaning playing for just a few moments here or there is less likely.
Even large corporations, such as Boeing, have revised their electronics policy. After seeing that over 100 employees had installed the app on their work phones, playing mobile games during work hours has now been banned.
Questions To Consider When Updating Your Electronics HR Policy
As with all policy amendments, you must consider multiple factors before moving forward. While you are still working out the details of your new policies, or creating your first electronics policy—send out an email alerting your employees that some gaming-related policy updates are on the way. To begin developing your new policy, consider the questions below.
Does your current electronics policy already address gaming and social media during work hours?
If you provide mobile phones to your employees, can they be used for personal reasons too? If so, does this include downloading apps of any type?
How will you communicate and enforce your new/amended HR policy? With emails, signs, and direct conversations?
What will the consequences of gaming at work be? For example, how many warnings for gaming while at work? Is it reasonable to confiscate personal phones during work hours?
Can employees game while on break? If so, can they play augmented reality that requires movement?
Will the consequences for managers caught gaming be more severe?
Would you terminate an employee for gaming at work?
How will you respond to accidents caused by distracted gaming?
Make Sure Your New Policy Is All-Inclusive
While your initial goal may be to address your Pokémon Go related concerns, you want to ensure your new HR policy includes the use of all personal electronics, gaming, social media, and personal socializing while at work.
Even if Pokémon Go has yet to be a concern in your workplace, take a proactive approach to the concerns related to gaming and augmented reality that employers are facing around the globe.