Lockdown brings increased digitisation to the health and lifestyle habits of regional Australians
• Almost half (46%) of regional Australians who needed a health consultation in the past two months did so virtually via telehealth services
• More than half (56%) of regional Australians working from home are beating social isolation by connecting with family through video calls and 27% are now making social video calls with colleagues.
• A quarter (24%) of regional Australians are now keeping fit with the support of online exercise classes.
Lifestyle habits of regional Australians have undergone a major shift since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, with record numbers of people exploring online substitutes for everything from access to health support services to exercise, skills training and entertainment.
When compared to their metro counterparts, however, regional Australians still seem to prefer in-person interactions.
The NBN Behavioural Change Survey investigated internet usage habits before and during social distancing, to understand how data consumption needs have changed during the COVID-19 crisis. The survey, conducted by Venture Insights and commissioned by NBN Co, found increased demand for key online activities that could help predict permanent behaviour changes that endure once social distancing restrictions are eased.
Adoption of telehealth services
46% of regional Australians who have needed to access a health service during the crisis did so using a telehealth service. This take-up mirrors changing behaviour across the country, whereas a whole, 48% of respondents who needed a health consultation did so via telehealth.
Nationally, two-thirds (64%) of people who have accessed health services during COVID-19 are open to considering using telehealth in the future.
Beating social isolation
Access to online services has played a significant role in keeping us connected, with the research showing 56% of regional Australians working from home have beaten social isolation by connecting with family through video calls.
More than a quarter of regional Australians are also missing workplace social connections, with 27% of regionally based respondents making social video calls with their colleagues
Keeping active and entertained
Exercise has also moved online since COVID-19, with 24% of regional respondents working from home indicating they are also working on their fitness with the assistance of online classes.
In addition, the research revealed an increase in spending on entertainment equipment, with 1 in 6 respondents nationally (15%) purchasing items such as smart TVs, media devices or digital assistants to keep them entertained during downtime.
For more information on the NBN Behavioural Change Survey and to learn more on what NBN Co is doing to support Australia through COVID-19, please visit: www.nbnco.com.au/campaigns/covid-19