Millions of Brits have started taking part in online activities as the nation adapts to the new ‘virtual way of living’.

By Jack Peat
Friday, 10th April 2020, 12:57 pm
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 8:35 am

Live meditation sessions, music concerts and even visits to the zoo are among the activities now taking place online as the nation adapts to ‘virtual living’.

A study of 2,000 adults found many people have gone way beyond conference calls, keep fit sessions and online pub quizzes.

Lockdown has forced us to find inventive ways of connecting online, such as group cooking sessions, art classes, wine tasting and even virtual ‘pub crawls’.

Despite being stuck at home, more than a fifth are exercising more than ever, with one in 10 taking part in live classes online.

Other popular activities to do virtually include watching Instagram ‘concerts’, having music lessons and even having a cup of tea or coffee with a friend.

Hyperoptic, the UK’s largest Gigabit full fibre provider, commissioned the research.

Charles Davies, MD ISP, Hyperoptic, said: “Living virtually is a big change for everyone of all ages, but it’s great to see Brits are maintaining a work life balance, continuing to take part in hobbies, trying new things and enjoying their social lives.

“We are committed to help people stay connected, at the time when they need it the most.

“All aspects from school and work to dating and exercising have been affected but reliable connectivity allows people to still live their lives - just in a slightly different way.”

How are Brits adapting to the changes in life?

The study also found more than half of those polled feel they have adapted very well to living virtually and 44 per cent have used the internet for shared experiences since the Covid-19 crisis began.

And a third were pleased they can still enjoy the majority of their hobbies in a different way, such as going to the gym or pub quiz nights.

Of the parents polled, more than two thirds have tried to maintain a normal school routine for their children, with many turning to the internet for help as they become teachers.

A third have used live PE lessons online to help educate their child, while four in 10 have turned to YouTube for educational content.

A fifth have even gone on virtual ‘day trips’ using real-time footage of places such as aquariums.

And four in five admitted they are glad there are a lot of online resources for home schooling children.

Similarly, 57 per cent of Brits couldn’t imagine not having the internet during this time and more than half would be bored without connection.

A further 59 per cent think it’s ‘vital’ to have a good broadband connection currently and two in five would feel lonely without it.

Brits are now talking more than before.

The study also found that as a result of the lockdown, more than a third think they are communicating with others more than they did before, with three in 10 more encouraged to talk rather than text.

One in eight are having calls with friends and family as often as everyday, with a fifth using Facetime.

Almost four in 10 are likely to send social media messages while almost a quarter opt for Whatsapp video.

Popular topics being discussed when they do catch up virtually included the current news (47 per cent), their mood (30 per cent) and exercise (12 per cent).

But it’s not just our communication with friends and family which has changed as a quarter have adapted the way they talk to colleagues while working from home.

More than half say they are sending more emails, while four in 10 have seen an increase in video conferencing and 37 per cent have experienced more group calls.

And two fifths of those polled, via OnePoll, said it’s important to communicate regularly with others while living virtually.

Top etiquette ‘rules’ for video conferencing were found to be limiting background noise, talking clearly and being on time.

Similarly, more than half believe it’s polite to pay attention to others on camera, 47 per cent said everyone should look presentable and three in 10 think pets and children should be out of shot.

Top 50 activities Brits have done online while living virtually:

1. Watched a new TV series online2. Placed an online shop3. Had a group call with relatives4. Had a group video call with friends5. Played an online game e.g. Scrabble6. A live exercise class7. Read an online magazine8. Had a cup of tea or coffee with a friend via a video call9. Followed a DIY tutorial10. Made a playlist11. Sang happy birthday to someone on a video call12. A live 'pub quiz' via the internet13. Played a group video game14. Watched a TV show with others present on the internet15. Followed tidying hacks16. Watched a live cooking tutorial17. Played a game via a video call with others e.g. Scrabble18. A meditation session19. Watched a TED talk20. A baking tutorial21. Read a bedtime story to a younger relative22. A live yoga session23. Had a 'trip to the zoo' via a live stream24. Watched an Instagram live 'concert'25. Had a 'night out' with friends e.g. drinks and music on a group call26. Played online bingo with others27. Had a movie night with others present on the internet28. A tutor lesson29. Had a takeaway night via a video call30. Streamed a theatre performance31. Had a date night e.g. ate a meal or played a game with your partner via a video call32. Followed a hair tutorial33. Had a brunch date with friends/relatives34. An Xbox tournament35. Had a family dinner with relatives who live elsewhere36. Followed a makeup tutorial37. Cooked a meal with others via a video call38. Had a dance lesson39. Had a guitar lesson40. Thrown a birthday 'party'41. Had a book club meeting42. Streamed an opera show43. A live art class44. Sang in a group choir45. Had a drum lesson46. Virtual 'pub crawl'47. Dog training lessons48. A wine tasting session49. Witnessed a live funeral50. Witnessed a live wedding