A Chicago businesswoman has developed the new Workemon app designed to hook up employers with available Pokemon Go players.
Independent game app designer Lexi Perot was having trouble staffing her second business, a pizza restaurant, when an incident with some Pokemon Go players gave her the idea.
"It was almost closing time and we heard all of this commotion on the roof, I went out to see and it was some of our customers from earlier who had been playing Pokemon Go. I told them to get the hell off of there or I would call the cops, but they said they were trying to hatch an egg and needed just a few more minutes."
Instead of calling the police, Lexi Perot thought about how motivated and resourceful the Pokemon Go players were, and that night when she went home she went with a hunch and worked through the night to create the first version of Workemon.
Perot created her own Workeworld in her restaurant which is overlayed on the augmented reality world of Pokemon Go. Work duties were divided into Worketasks that gamers could perform.
"I didn't know how I was going to get gamers to try it in the first place, but I started by giving a free slice and salad at the restaurant to the first 100 to download the app. It took just a few days once word got around, and the app solved my labor shortage in a matter of days."
The initial release was not the polished version that is now used by over 1650 Chicago employers and businesses nationwide as part of the Workemon Network.
Perot talked about her amazing discovery along the way, Workemon players out performed regular employees on almost all tasks in her pizza restaurant.
"There is something about receiving instructions and tasks through a game screen that makes the players highly efficient at their work.
How It Works
A wide variety of businesses now use Workeman: janitorial, office and even managerial positions are being filled by Workemon Players.
In the slick new version of Workemon, employers and businesses on the Workemon Network create a Workeport wherever they need labor. Players tryout by performing Worketasks which are rated, and if accepted by the employer, players become Worketask Masters.
Players accumulate productivity points, and after so many hours of productivity, a certificate is awarded which can be deposited in the Workebank. Workebank points are worth money in the real world.
App Under Fire From Labor Leaders
Grant Orms, spokesman for the American Workers Combine talked about their opposition to the Workemon app.
"This is technically a game so these businesses are underpaying the most menial tasks, they are not paying witholding taxes or insuring their workers, in fact they have no commitment to Workemon players beyond their productivity points. If a player is sick or injured on the job they are on their own and will be replaced by another player."
We spoke to one player, Mark Jenkins, who didn't even realize he had been working at a Mooby's in Toms River, New Jersey for two weeks, until he got the employee of the month award.
"I started cashing in my productivity points at that time and it was more than I was making as a high school teacher during the day, so I quit and just play Workemon now."
Developer Lexi Perot will be featured in a story in Forbes next month. The app has also inspired the hashtag #workemon.