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“What do you mean there’s a Pokémon in the Boardroom?”

In all my time as a lawyer, I never thought I would see myself think that question, let alone type it out loud!

As you all know, Pokémon Go – the latest augmented reality game – is the latest craze for gamers. It can be played on smartphones so everywhere you go, people are stopping to ‘catch’ Pokémon on their phones, or find the next PokeStop (virtual drops where gamers can collect free items) to stock up on Poké Balls (the iconic red ball for capturing Pokémon.)

Inevitably though, and we all saw it happen with Facebook, some employees see nothing wrong with continuing their obsession within their working time. With Pokémon to be discovered all around the world, many workplaces are now hunting grounds for the virtual characters which could negatively impact on productivity at work. I hear that there are some businesses which have added Pokémon Go to their software blacklist after the game was downloaded by employees onto smartphones provided to them by their employer.

Top tips to stop your business becoming overrun with Pokemon

• Ensure that your mobile phone policy is clear on personal use of mobile phones. There is no right enshrined in law that says that your employees have to have access to their mobile phones at all times, despite their protestations otherwise! If you have a rule that personal mobile phones are to be kept away from work areas, then make sure that that rule is enforced.
• Make it clear in the policy that personal mobiles are only to be used during break periods.
• Ensure that employees are aware that if they are found to be using their mobile phone when they’re supposed to be working, it may result in disciplinary action being taken against them.
• If you provide your employees with smart phones, then think about a “blacklist” of sites that can’t be accessed.
• Most importantly, be consistent!

If you need any advice on making Pokémon actually go from your premises, or you want to discuss your current policy on employees mobile phone use, then please contact me.

If you have any queries regarding employee policies, or any aspect of employement law then please contact Julie Sullivan in our employment team on 01383 721 621.

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