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When I first heard of Pokémon Go, it was from a friend a few decades removed who seemed to think the new game was the greatest thing since sliced bread as it helped get people off the couch and moving. The augmented reality game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures called Pokémon who appear on device screens as if they are in the same real world location as players.

With a culture that is so attached to cell phones, texting, apps, gaming, etc., which are typically sedentary actions, at first glance this seems like a great idea. Other benefits cited are increased teamwork and social interaction due to interest in the game. On the downside, injuries and possible criminal activity have already been linked to playing Pokémon Go.

While employers want healthy and active employees and to be on top of the latest useful technology, they also want productive and safe employees. Whether you embrace Pokémon Go or not, this whole Pokémon craze is a reminder that employers need to provide guidance around the use of electronic devices by employees at work. This includes using cell phones or other electronic devices in the workplace, including while driving for work.

Employers can consider the following:

  • Limiting or prohibiting use of personal electronic devices during work times, including playing games
  • Controls on downloading applications on company electronic devices and the need for policies and procedures on personal use of the equipment
  • Prohibiting use of any hand held devices while driving and requiring employees to follow state laws
  • Addressing social networking and social media in the workplace with handbook policies on practices that are allowed or prohibited
  • Creating other means to increase teambuilding and social interaction among employees, such as company social events or technology free meetings and walking programs.

Employers need to apply policies consistently among employees. While applying policies, they also need to ensure they are not limiting the rights of employees to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment, which is protected under employment law.

Looking for More Guidance and Support?

KMA can help you develop use of electronic device policies and practices for your organization. Contact Anita Krieg or another member of the KMA HR Consulting team today.