You're tired of listening to the same terrible radio show every morning in your car. You've heard that new song so many times through your headphones this week that you've decided you don't like it, after all. How many times can you sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the way to work before you realize, horrified, that you're just not as talented as Freddy Mercury?

The internet is brimming with podcasts that are diverse, packed with information and ready to cure your commute. But instead of killing time with an episode of Serial or listening to the same stats you've already watched on EPSN with breakfast, try learning something new. Podcasts are like reading articles and essays—even books—without taking your eyes off of the road or carrying an extra stack of paper in your bag. In this article, find some of the best podcasts to feed your brain.

RadioLab


Let the hosts of WNYC's Radiolab guide you through stories and investigations about everything in the world, from truth to CRISPR to Alzheimer's. Weekly 45-minute episodes explore a theme through interviews, stories and jokes that make serious news fun and turn history into fascinating narratives. This is your general knowledge story series where you can learn about anything from some people who simply enjoy talking about it.

Listen here.

The Inquiry

Every week on The Inquiry, a BBC World Service podcast, the hosts talk to "expert witnesses" about thoughtful, relevant issues. "Who Gets to Have Their Own Country," the team asked after Catalan's announcement that the region would hold a referendum for independence from Spain. Other recent episodes include "Are Videogames a Waste of Time?" and "What Can We Do With Our Dead?" For a concise but deeply investigated lesson on the context and implications of current events, and for a great alternative to the rapid fire daily news headlines, The Inquiry is your perfect morning fix.

Listen here.

Planet Money

NPR's Planet Money will keep you informed on the economy and all of its trends, developments and historical context. Hear from Tom Burrell and learn about his industry-changing work in advertising. Discover the similarities between fake news stories in Ukraine and the U.S. In under thirty minutes, you'll discover something you probably didn't know through fascinating interviews with experts in the field and the people who were there.

Further quench your thirst for first-hand knowledge with the TED Talks Daily Podcast that features a new talk every weekday.

Listen to Planet Money here.

More or Less: Behind the Stats

The weekly BBC Radio 4 podcast, More or Less, digs into a current event and the statistics being reported about it. Their most recent episode cleared up the confusion surrounding so-called 500-year storms and how they can happen twice in a decade, or even twice in a year. They've explored fantasy football, the gender ratio in Sweden and, of course, election numbers. Tim Harford hosts this math-based show that takes listeners far away from scary math and into discussions about the real-world implications of these numbers.

Listen here.

StarTalk Radio

Neil deGrasse Tyson answers the biggest questions in the universe and also tackles practical science innovations in his weekly podcast, StarTalk Radio. From dark matter to NFL training and nutrition, Tyson and his frequent cohost, Chuck Nice, have a lot of fun talking about modern science with scientists, actors, comedians, musicians and various other guests. Learn about hip hop with Logic or basketball with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

For more guest appearances by Bill Nye, check out the StarTalk All-Stars companion podcast.

Listen to StarTalk Radio here.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Admit it: you only say you don't like history because you resented all of the name and date memorization in high school. But real history isn't about a list of events; it's about the stories. Enter Hardcore History, an epic history podcast hosted by Dan Carlin. The shows come out every few months but they're often closer to six hours than three, so you'll have plenty to listen to before you're stuck waiting for the next episode (plus, if you're starting now, you already have sixty episodes to catch up on). This is the dramatic storytelling you've been waiting for in a history class.

Listen here.

Song Exploder

If your business (or your passion) is music, Song Exploder is the deepest dive into new music available. Instead of listening to that song again, listen to its artist break it down part by part, track by track as they tell the story of its creation. In close to a half hour, you'll discover the process and inspiration behind one song and hear its isolated vocals or that one sound effect near the middle that came to the songwriter in a dream or whatever its story is. Previous artists include U2, St. Vincent, Gorillaz, Metallica, Joey Bada$ and Weezer, whom Hrishikesh Hirway interviews before editing out his parts. What's left is the story of a song told by its artist directly to their fans.

Listen here.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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