By David Bates

I must admit that, at the ripe old age of 38, I sometimes feel a little out of touch when it comes to online games. While it took me a little while to get my head around Candy Crush Saga, I have to admit I don’t think I’ll ever really understand the attraction of Pokemon Go.

In case you’ve missed the media coverage, this game – generally played on smart phones and other hand-held devices – requires players to wander around (literally) searching for and capturing imaginary Pokemon (short for ‘pocket monsters’).

I know, I don’t get it either, but stay with me people.

Pokemon Go has apparently taken the world by storm, with people playing it in all kinds of ways: while out walking (and paying no attention to their actual surroundings), while driving (and paying no attention to the traffic), and while at the office (while paying no attention to either the time, or the work, they’re being paid to do).

Just in case you think this article is a somewhat delayed April Fools Day joke, try googling ‘Pokemon’ and ‘accident’ and you’ll see it’s no laughing matter.

Your screen will instantly be filled with articles about the accidents and injuries – even deaths – which have been directly attributed to players getting caught up in the game and failing to notice impending danger.

Now think about all the ways this seemingly harmless game could affect you and your employees:

  • A company car could be damaged while an employee hunts Pokemon between meetings.
  • A worker could lodge a workers’ compensation claim when they trip over in the car park capturing a Pikachu (that’s one of the 722 known types of Pokemon).
  • Your entire IT system could be compromised by a worker connecting to the game.
  • Hundreds of hours of paid working time could be lost while employees lose themselves in the game instead of their (now overdue) work.

So, as bizarre and as sad as it may sound, employers really do need to put a stop to the game called Pokemon Go. A simple update to your internet and mobile phone policy should do the trick … just don’t forget to alert your employees to the change.

I really wish I could write more, but I’ve just spotted an elusive Jigglypuff hiding in the copy room!