Take a Podcast to Lunch

Get ready, employers, this one is a shocker – your employees are consuming podcasts on your dime in record numbers. Oh sure, if cornered, they’ll tell you it was the company’s inspiring series 10 Steps to Make You A Better Employee, but don’t believe a word of it. A quick look at their computer iTunes account will give you a much different picture.

Now, before employers start papering the in-boxes with “Guidelines for Proper Internet Usage”, let me offer the “half-full” explanation . . .

Using our nifty PodGarden PodTractor tracking technology, Oneupweb regularly tracks those iTunes subscribers. In fact, we’ve been tracking 100 percent of listener behavior from all sources for select entertainment sites, health care and topical business podcasts for more than seven months. And the results are a little eye-opening.

Be it entertainment or business, right now the patterns are all pretty much the same: corporate podcasts are being downloaded in the largest number between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Clearly, a good deal of these are brownbag podcasts, consumed at the desk along with the turkey on whole wheat. Others are finding their way to the personal iPod for later consumption. And others still are being passed around the office like a good joke at the water cooler.

We also found another peak download period, for entertainment and education podcasts – around 4 p.m. This we attribute to the “grab a podcast for the commute home” set.

Employers, this is a good thing. First, our numbers show that a significant number of your employees are choosing to download business and education podcasts and listen on their own time, during lunch. While your competitors’ people are mulling over the proper wine to go with the sea bass, your employees are at their desks multi-tasking.

Second, we interpret the 4 pm download as basically a time-shifting activity. Most will actually listen or watch on their commute. And a good number of these podcasts are educational in nature. Most broadband connections allow someone to continue working while downloading. And then a quick upload to their iPod and the podcast goes home with them. What was wasted time becomes productive time that extends work hours.

So, bosses, don’t fight it. Join the crowd and take a podcast to lunch this week.