Pokémon has become a worldwide phenomenon that has millions and millions of people playing. But does this augmented reality game have a place in a business environment? There are some businesses who are leveraging the attention the game is giving their location, while other businesses wish they could hire a Pokémon ‘exterminator.’

If you are not aware of it, Pokémon is the augmented reality game that has users on a giant scavenger hunt for virtual creatures, trying to capture them with a special ball. It is not just gamers that are playing – it is families, groups of friends, celebrities and yes, even business people working in the downtown core!

Businesses that thrive on walk-in traffic are leveraging this phenomenon by luring Pokémon (lures cost about $1 each) to their location in order to attract trainers (the people playing the game) who are potential customers. They are hoping the trainers will maybe take a look around and make a purchase. Some retail businesses and restaurants are taking to social media to advise trainers of the Pokémon near or in their business, and offering a discount or lost-leader special for those who catch that particular Pokémon at their location.

There are also other businesses that are waiting to go even further to attract Pokémon trainers by having sponsored Pokéstops (where trainers can acquire more Pokéballs) that have in-game marketing messages based on the location.

But let’s get back to the big question: Is business the place for Pokémon? Not all businesses are embracing the fact that they have Pokémon trainers showing up and interrupting their work environment. These are businesses that are not intended or prepared for random walk-in traffic. Some businesses have had to change or enact new security procedures to keep trainers from trespassing. There are also a growing number of businesses that have been implementing rules about playing the game by their own staff while at work. This is because it can be a distraction from getting actual work done.

Professional work environments like office business centres that cater to getting business done, are seeing people who work there wandering the halls in search of Pokémon, but they try to discourage this because it disrupts the professional image of others who work there. It is hard for an office space provider to tell a tenant what they or their guests do in the office they rent, but they can ask that it be kept out of the shared spaces.

At Telsec Business Centres, we are encouraging our office space tenants to hunt their Pokémon outside the office in nearby locations. There is no shortage of Pokémon or Pokéstops near 1 Yonge Street along Queen’s Quay or the short walk to the business core. In fact, some of our office tenants have been seen talking in the kitchen about the places they found nearby where they found multiple Pokémon or sometimes rare Pokémon. Examples of these have been the multiple Pokémon that can be found around Queen’s Quay Terminal and the Harbourfront Centre. One office tenant was actually proud of the fact that he found a rare Pokémon at Centre Island!