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Pokemon Goes to Work, Confuses Employees Who Don't Play Pokemon

Are you playing Pokemon Go? I don't want to distract you from walking into another lamp post, but we need to talk about playing Pokemon Go at work.

Pokemon Go is one of the first augmented reality games to really take off as a cultural phenomenon. People are chasing Pokemons everywhere, but what about the Poke Stop that is your office? What about the co-workers who suddenly whip out their phones to spot a Lapras, whatever that is?

By the way, here is the view from your co-worker's smartphone as they stumble back to their work area.

You're not hip to Pokemon, you don't know anything about it (here's the A-to-Z list of characters if you need help), and now your obsessed co-workers can't seem to get enough of it. They're running late to work, arriving five minutes late to meetings, speaking in a language you do not understand and generally making you wonder if they're 8 instead of 38.

Some managers have turned themselves into a viral sensation by trying to limit playing time to breaks and lunch. Business articles tell HR it will have a real headache on its hands over the next few weeks as employees obsess over the game.

Other articles, meanwhile, offer employees some creative ways for working in a little extra Go-time on the clock. (Hint: if a co-worker offers to run your errands for you, then you know the score.)

My take? The obsession with Pokemon Go at work is a bit of escapism for burned-out employees who may not be taking a vacation anytime soon. Employees of all ages are supplementing their work day with a little bit of augmented reality. The initial rush of excitement will wear off soon enough, and you'll have these co-workers back just in time for the next viral gaming sensation.

Managers can look for innovative ways to work Pokemon Go into their management strategies this summer. If you're having a company retreat soon, then you might divide employees into teams and have them play the game as a fun team building exercise, for example (as long as it's okay with the retreat location, check first).

You might start a daily Pokemon Go time out in the office, where employees hunt the office for 15 minutes and have a leader board competition for the rest of the summer. Employees can earn 100 bonus points on top of their weekly Pokemon score for meeting this week's work deadlines! How's that for motivation, and bragging rights?

In sum, ponder how you might use this game to improve employee productivity and office morale in the coming weeks. Work with it, not against it.

Just go with the Pokemon flow. Let your co-workers have their summer fun as long as they're getting their work done. Try to take an interest in their Pokemon interests, at least as much as you can muster. A reminder to turn up on time and meet deadlines could be important, if time management is suddenly becoming an issue. Work before Woopers, everyone! Now go back to work. Have fun.


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