If you haven’t played the new Pokemon Go game you may very well be in the minority at this time. This new GPS based version of the game that’s been a television series and a continuation of an already twenty year-long franchise has been created for several reasons. With this new game you can capture Pokemon characters or perform various tasks with them while on the go (hence the name). Using GPS you can find a Pokemon stop in many different areas around you and this game has become a great way for some businesses to advertise and bring in a few additional customers. The game promotes you getting out of your house and on the go, but Volkswagen has a different view of the game.
In a recent memo this German automaker strictly prohibited its employees from playing the game at work and from downloading it to devices that are property of the company. This came along with the warning that taking photos of the VW facilities was strictly prohibited as well. This memo which was released on August 9th to the 70,000 Volkswagen employees makes it sound like the automaker doesn’t want its employees to have any fun.
In reality the concerns of Volkswagen make perfect sense and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you have ever experienced a computer virus or hacking, or know anyone who has you may understand the first concern of electronic security. Using the Geo-Tracking function of the game leaves the company information on the company issued devices, such as smartphones and tablets, open to the possibility of hacking. As long as the Pokemon Go game isn’t downloaded on these devices, which don’t belong to the individual employees, VW can more easily protect itself against possible threats from the outside.
The second concern regarding the game is the possibility of physical danger. You might have heard about several accidents that have already occurred because people became distracted while playing the game, imagine doing this around the machinery of a manufacturing or assembly plant for one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world. These distractions could cause an employee to walk where they shouldn’t or run into machinery while they’re busy trying to capture Pokemon, even if they’re on their break. This also makes perfect sense for VW and will help employees avoid unnecessary accidents caused by distractions at work.
Banning this game on the premises of VW makes perfect sense from the security and distraction standpoint. VW employees aren’t even allowed to play the game on their personal devices on company property, but can do so once they are no longer on and of the Volkswagen sites. This isn’t an action taken to try and punish the employees, but rather to protect the privacy and electronic property of Volkswagen while also ensuring employees are able to remain safer at work. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if other companies don’t enact the same policies to avoid similar issues in their organizations.