Since last summer’s launch of the wildly popular Pokémon Go App, companies have experienced a massive and concerning decline in business productivity. According to a recently released study by Valor International, Pokémon in the office has had an enormous impact on productivity metrics and late task delivery in its first year.
“We surveyed more than 2,000 businesses and found a significant trend toward productivity declines,” says Dr. Sarah Willow, VP of research for Valor International. “Using broad-based productivity metrics like revenue per employee and customer satisfaction scores, we can conservatively estimate that businesses are performing 32 percent worse than they did in June 2016. While the long-term impact of this trend remains to be seen, countless managers we talked to are expecting an uptick in client churn and possible decrease in revenue by the end of the fiscal year.”
Data-driven recommendations from this viral study include “begging your boss for the budget to hire more full-time employees” and “hoping desperately that the app’s servers crash for an extended period.” There have been merciful dips in app activity throughout the year, but to no avail: Resurgence around Gen 2 Pokémon and raid battle integrations sent offices into tailspins again and again. The study also advised against guerrilla intervention methods like mass-interference with mobile reception, citing legal risks. While the study also revealed a 68 percent slow across the board in data delivery and a whopping 76 percent halt in project response rates, it did show a massive increase in the catch rate of Caterpie nationwide.
To investigate how real businesses have been impacted by these frightening results, we interviewed some completely real leaders and employees across the nation.
Cons galore from Pokémon Go
One year after the office productivity plague hit smartphones, a Toronto-based portfolio manager spoke to us on the condition of anonymity. “In my 30 years working in project management organizations, I’ve never seen such dismal metrics in my entire life,” he lamented. “Every time I try to talk to my QAs, devs, or product managers, they’re running around the campus trying to catch Drowzees.”
Apologizing for his twitching eye, he gave us a tour of the company’s project management software. “Just look at this,” he grumbled. “One hundred percent of our project deadlines are at risk, we’ve exceeded budgets on every active sprint, and every live action item is behind schedule. In this morning’s scrum, one employee took a screenshot of a Squirtle standing on my shoulder like a parrot.”
Charvi Spark, a CFO in the finance industry, was equally annoyed when we reached out for an interview. “I don’t even want to think about how I’m going to explain this drop in performance to the board. I’ve accidentally punctured three stress balls this week alone by squeezing them too hard.” Spark attributed her agitation to a frustrating morning. She reports her noon meeting with compliance was repeatedly interrupted by a “stampede” of employees. “I haven’t downloaded the app personally, but apparently our south conference room is ‘within range’ of some Pokeball loading station and everyone keeps ‘throwing #luresfordays.’ I thought we were ready for virtual reality in the office, but this small hint of augmented reality alone is crippling us.”
Pros of Pokémon in the office
As it turns out, not all leadership is unhappy with the massive changes in the workplace since the advent of Pokémon Go. Corporate Wellness Director Stephen Candela expressed something like elation when asked about the impact of the app. “Our employees report they’re walking at least five kilometres per day to try to ‘hatch eggs,’ apparently, even a year later. I mean, I wish they were doing it on their personal time, but our recent annual wellness screening was astounding.”
Candela’s boss, Chief People Officer Charlotte Blaze, confirmed the health benefits, adding that her budgetary outlook for the next quarter is stellar: “I was even able to cancel our corporate gym membership and on-site yoga class benefits for employees. It’s just not necessary any longer.” While Candela and Blaze are thrilled, their perspectives are unique, even for leadership focused on people. One news story reports that a Montreal-based B2B high-tech startup had to bring in consultants to resolve ongoing conflicts between staff members based on rivalries and loyalties to the various Pokémon Go teams: Valor, Mystic, and Instinct.
So … why even go to work?
“For the lures,” one anonymous employee said simply when asked for a comment. “My desk is equidistant from three Pokestops. I’m lousy with XP.”
The results of both the nationwide Valor study and our interviews are unanimously negative. While there are some isolated benefits to Pokémon Go in the office, such as improved fitness levels and fewer employee sick days, the vast majority of business leaders are concerned about their company’s ability to get stuff done. We tried to interview David Hooked, a 28 year-old business analyst and member of Team Mystic about his thoughts. However, he was unavailable for comment, saying, “Sorry, just a minute. I need to catch this Magikarp so I can finally get a damn Gyarados.”