How Pokémon Go might actually boost productivity

Hannah Sims · 28 Jul

You’re either playing Pokémon Go, or making a big deal about how cool you are because you’re absolutely not playing Pokémon Go. If you’re one of the former (and let’s face it, statistics say you are) you’re probably fed up of the endless jokes from your co-workers.

Well sure, you’re not likely to strike gold searching for your next Rattata when you’re supposed to be preparing for that all-important presentation, but here are five ways Pokémon Go could actually improve your productivity.

1. Work = Reward

Playing video games is more like work than you might think. Successful workplaces and games have similar goals. It’s all about engagement and retention. If you put in an extended gaming session, you’ll be rewarded with next level – that keeps you engaged and discourages you from switching off.If you put in the hours at work, you’re rewarded with money – and if you work extra hard, there’s the prospect of promotion – the real life equivalent of the ‘next level’. Games teach us about logical progression and how putting in the hours helps deliver results. This model works just as well in the workplace, even if real life doesn’t always pan out in quite the same way.

Taking more breaks will mean that you get more done in the long run.

2. Frequent breaks

Research shows that colleagues who take breaks get more done in the long run, whether they split work into 90 minute bursts with 20 minute breaks or 25 minute bursts with 5 minute breaks (known as the Pomodoro method). Taking time out of the office – a ‘mini-break’, if you will – is great for recharging the batteries without spending too much time away from your desk.
Spotted a Pokémon in the park? Pop over in your break, catch it, and then return feeling refreshed. It’s better than smoking, after all. Less cigarettes, more charmander. Who can argue with that?

3. Inter-office communication

With the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go, suddenly people you never spoke to are playing the same game as you. It’s not just hardcore gamers either, but curious first-time players from all walks of life. Get this: Pokémon Go is more popular than Candy Crush. This means that you suddenly might have more in common with the strange sales guy who sits by the window than you originally thought. Getting along better with your work colleagues and meeting people outside your team is great for when you need to push together on a new project.

4. Walking meetings

Yes, the buzzword of the office world – walking meetings. If you weren’t sold on the benefits of walking and talking, you will be if that walking meeting can be combined with a hunt for a Pokémon. Catch one, and then put your phones away while you walk back so you can have a good old chat.

Also: if Pokémon isn’t your thing, you can just pretend you’re in the West Wing instead. Bartlett for America!

5. Happiness!

Schmaltz! Cheese! Warm fuzziness! By getting people outside and interacting with each other, Pokémon Go has been credited with lowering social anxiety and being “secretly the best exercise app out there”. The Guardian have called the game a “good old-fashioned treasure hunt crossed with a fairytale” – what’s more appealing than that?! Yes, productivity is important, but so is happiness. No one’s productive if they’re unhappy. As we say here, ‘work hard, play harder’. And Pokémon Go could be helping you do both.

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