I’ve heard several stories about the current Pokémon Go craze, and the seemingly mindless zombie-youth walking around neighborhoods trying to find the best and the most Pokémon Go characters. Lest you think the craze is limited to the younger generation, I know several adults that are gripped by the craze. But, what happens when that craze spills over to your work?
For those of you living under a rock, Pokémon Go is a game based on the beloved(?)Pokémon characters from the 1990’s. The game uses your phone’s GPS to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” on your phone screen so you can go and catch them. As you move around, more—and hopefully different—Pokémon appear. The game has a time aspect to it such that if you don’t act quickly, the Pokémon may not be there later on. So what do you do if you’re in the middle of typing your report, and you get notified that Pikachu is right down the hall? If you don’t act quickly, he’ll be gone. But that darn report has to get done.
This is not an isolated problem, nor is one that was created by Pokémon Go. Companies are continually struggling with how to deal with personal use of electronic devices in the workplace.
Recommendations for Employees:
- Don’t download Pokémon Go or any other game onto your work phone. Employers who discover games on work phones will presume you are playing games instead of doing work. Even if your company policy is lax—or non-existent—it doesn’t make sense to open the door to problems.
- Games shouldn’t be running in the background. You don’t want your phone notifying you that Squirtle is in the copy room when you are in a meeting with your boss.
- Never download software onto a work computer or device without your employer’s permission. This is particularly true for personal cloud software such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Box. You could unknowingly compromise your company’s systems or give the impression that you are taking confidential company material.
- Don’t access your personal email or social media accounts from work computers or devices. Depending on your company’s policies, the employer could have a right to view anything done on a work device, including personal and even confidential emails.
Recommendations for Employers:
- Make sure your company has a written policy regarding use of personal devices during work or at the worksite. Communicate clear policies to employees before problems arise.
- Don’t infringe on employee break and meal time. Employees that want to spend their lunch break tracking down MewTwo, that’s their business.
- Whenever possible, don’t mix personal devices with work devices. If you require employees to use cell phones or tablets, give them a company device for that purpose. Work devices are for work. Employees should not access personal emails or social media pages from work computers.
- Develop an electronic device policy that works for your company. Cutting and pasting a policy from a different company may not fit your needs.
There are some very positive things that can come from Pokémon Go. Kids are getting out and walking around exploring their neighborhoods. One girl even found a dead body while searching for Pokémon. Maybe the game gives your family something they can do together. Whether you like the game or not, be smart about what you do and don’t do at work.
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.
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