HR, it's Time to Get Your Employees to Unplug


Now if you’re a recruiter in the talent space, you already know that texting is becoming one of the best technologies to actively and passively recruit and communicate with applicants and prospective recruits. It’s fast, cheap and accessible anywhere, at any time. But today’s post is not about using text messaging for recruiting…it’s about avoiding it for your mental health.

Want a real vacation? Unplug for the week. Or if you’re like most Americans addicted to texting and email…unplug for at least one hour, during work hours, every day as a start.

Growing up, I saw many addictions including tobacco, food, and alcohol. Today this is being replaced with gaming, vaping, and yes, texting.

According to Experian, U.S. smartphone owners aged 18 to 24 send 2,022 texts per month on average — 67 texts on a daily basis — and receive another 1,831. Yes, that’s the number!

That's nearly double their slightly older peers, smartphone users aged 25 to 34.

Young Americans send almost ten times as many texts as Americans over 55. That’s a staggering amount even for baby boomers.

Here is another interesting fact: 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent (, with the average response time for a text being a mere 90 seconds. So, if you’re not getting the response you’re waiting for, either the person you’ve texted hasn’t yet seen your message or is purposefully avoiding you. Fortune magazine even ran an article  this past year discussing how researchers found many feel it is rude to wait more than 20 minutes to respond to a text.

Texting and texting software is also a multi-billion-dollar business that is growing globally every year. Some organizations have either ditched or plan to get rid of traditional email to communicate internally. A few have been doing this for years.

So in a world of 24 by 7 connectivity we are becoming even more connected, literally, to our phones. Everywhere I go, I see people with their phone literally attached to one hand or wrist. It has become a new appendage for most. Not just millennials… everybody.

Last year, I spent about 15 days on different golf courses during week days and I would say approximately two-thirds of all golfers had their phones accessible and would text or call between holes and even occasionally between shots. The amount of phone usage didn’t seem to drop that much when I played on weekends either. In fact, the only recreational pursuit I took part in with no phones was my weekly 90-minute doubles tennis game. It may be difficult to hit a two-handed backhand with a phone attached to my wrist.

We can push back at this ever-increasing issue. This past week, several of my business program students in the Delta Sigma Pi Honors business fraternity at Adelphi promoted an “Unplug” an hour a day commitment drive. Yes, my students did this. They asked all members of the college community (students, faculty, and staff) to sign up and regain some human connectivity. Requirements were to stay off their cell phones an hour a day and make a new human connection during that time.

This is a wonderful concept that can be implemented in any work environment and certainly will lead to positive mental health outcomes.

Food for thought for the future…it’s time to start taking phone breaks. I know I will…OH, I gotta go, I just got a text I need to respond to!




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