We can pretty much guarantee you've heard about Pokémon Go! by now, the virtual reality game that has quite literally taken over the country. People are going to extremes to catch those little creatures. We're talking reports from the use of drones, people breaking limbs, skipping work and even people discovering dead bodies while playing (more on that later). For the most part, the takeover has been positive, and at iOFFICE we're not immune to the hype, especially considering Pokémon is one of our customers we're in full support.
Just a quick refresher, Pokémon is a Nintendo franchise that spiked in popularity during the 1990s. Targeted mainly at Millennials in their late 20s and 30s who played the game as kids, the current version is designed to mimic the original, sparking nostalgia with its players. The premise of the game is to capture creatures or Pokémon that battle one another, and like the game's slogan, the player is hoping to "catch 'em all" and become what's known as a master trainer in the game.
The big difference this time around? Users are no longer hunched over a Gameboy in their living room, the mobile game forces players to interact with the real world by having to physically move themselves to walk their virtual player. The system uses Google Maps combined with elements that actually exist with virtual elements in the game. The brilliant developers behind the hit have selected landmarks, parks and historical sites as important stops in the game, getting people to discover areas they may not have before. It's getting people outside the workplace during their lunch breaks, encouraging interactions between neighbors and coworkers that may not have happened, and is allowing people to explore their environment, all wins in our book. Here are some perks that can come from embracing the trend at your office.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our day-to-day working lives that we forget to stop and say hello to the guy in the desk across from us. While we really hope you know who you're working with everyday, Pokémon Go is the perfect excuse to walk around your floor during lunch, or to spend some time just outside your office after work and meet the other hardworking people in your building! Chances are if you're both playing the game you might have more things in common. Take the opportunity to meet some new people and maybe even make some new friends you can invite to the office happy hour next week.
The real beauty of this game is that you can't sit still and play, you have to get moving! It's a great way to stretch your legs after sitting for a few hours. We are constantly reminded that sitting is the new smoking, so take a walking break and get outside while you play. Getting away from your desk even for a few minutes every couple of hours is also linked to less stress levels among office workers. Users are reporting that they have reached their daily recommended 10,000 daily steps thanks to the game. The program even awards players a medal after you walk a certain distance. Just be sure you're paying attention when you're doing all of this walking, and avoid running into oncoming traffic or walking right through a weather report like this one player did.
Studies show that taking just 100 steps after a meal helps you feel better and do better work when you do sit back down at your desk. This company is so convinced of the productivity benefits of exercise during work they're making the game a requirement for all employees.
Lure Players to Your Business
If you're a small business owner, or work in retail, the additional foot traffic could really be a perk for your company! Avoid the temptation to get only paying players inside your store and consider placing a sign outside saying you support the game, like these local stores did. You could also invest in $1 "lures" within the app to entice players to your store. Some businesses are offering discounts for one of the three teams players are required to be a part of within the game on certain days. Try a few different offers to see what gets the greatest response.
How to Steer Them Away
Unfortunately, there have been reports of hot spots in the game that have appeared in less than ideal locations, such as hospitals and at people's private yet historically significant homes. If this happens to you, and you would like to request your home be removed from the game please do not reach out to Pokémon directly, instead please visit Niantic's (the company that makes Pokémon Go) support page here.
At our office the game has been a huge hit. A few employees at our Houston headquarters have turned their lunch break into a daily Pokémon outing. Nate, Sammy and Graham have taken the Montrose streets to catch them all. Here's a video of their recent endeavor.
Happy catching and stay safe out there!
Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.