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4% of employers in Malaysia have fired staff over Pokémon Go

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Ever since its release in July – August, Pokémon Go has been a huge hit, taking over many offices. In order to reclaim its workers from the augmented reality game, employers such as Volkswagen and Boeing have resorted to banning staff from playing the game at work.

According to a survey by Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), in addition to advising employees against playing the game during work hours, issuing warning letters and imposing suspensions from work without pay, 4% of employers polled have dismissed workers for playing the popular location-based game while at work – reported The Star.

“MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan says the poll on the impact of the game on workers was taken among 150 employers in various sectors,” The Star wrote.

ALSO READ: 4 ways to maintain a work-Pokémon Go balance in your office

The survey revealed that employers in Malaysia have taken a strong stance against Pokémon Go with 95% saying they do not allow employees to access the app at work.

“Some 96% also prohibit workers from using the company e-mail address to sign up for the game,” Shamsuddin said.

A quarter of of bosses have caught employees playing the game during work hours and 11% have noted that employees are taking longer lunch breaks to play the game.

Shamsuddin added that 50% of poll participants were from the manufacturing sector while the rest were from other industries.

Some employers are even taking a step further with 54% wanting to request that game developer Niantic Labs remove PokéStops (spots for players to replenish game items ) and Gyms (where players can go to battle and train their monsters) near their offices or work place.

“The addictive, augmented reality game is worrying the MEF to that employees will not be giving their best at work,” The Star wrote.

READ MORE: 7 things HR can learn from Pokémon Go

Shamsuddin pointed out that 5% of employers also found their workers to be breaching the company’s restricted areas to catch the monsters in the game.

However, on the flip side, some 19% of employers in the survey – including those in the food and beverage industry – found that the game is good for business (see “Win-win for shops and gamers”).

“Most employers are still trying to assess the situation. It is too early for us to set a standard policy for all employers on Pokémon Go,” Shamsuddin told The Star.

He says while the hype about the game has fizzled out compared to when it was first launched, employers should adopt a stand that discourages employees from playing on work premises so that it will not affect work performance.

Photo / 123RF

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