Work Related Podcasts: Helpful or not Helpful?

Here’s a new trend I’ve seen mentioned in a few places, management has been asking employees to listen to company related podcasts on their way to work. The thinking is to make long commutes, common in most major US cities, productive business time. The “recommended listening” isn’t usually the boss droning on about mission statements though. Typically it’s business news from various sites that the company has subscribed to or feeds they aggregate on their own servers. Some large corporations with in-house media departments have developed their own regular weekly or monthly podcasts.

Right now, the average working American will spend about 100 hours a year commuting to and from work, roughly an average of 21 minutes a day depending on how you figure it. Of course, many people spend more. For example, I typically average about 1 1/2 hours a day commuting to and from work. This time is, of course, largely unproductive time for most people. Others who like to live dangerously try to conduct business from a cellphone or, even worse, a Blackberry or other PDA (Yikes!).

Changing that time into something productive (or safer) has its appeal but should it be something forced on employees or done by choice? Is it an effective way to get an employee in a working mood on their way to work? Or is it just something that’s yet another annoying intrusion into their private lives to employees?

I think it could have some value as an optional, occasional, thing. I wouldn’t like to see this kind of program as something forced or something that’s optional but not really optional.

What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know.


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