From free children’s books and piano lessons to meeting software, pay-TV and workout videos, plenty of companies are stepping up to offer services, software and tuition without charge during the coronavirus pandemic.
While some are free for just for a few weeks, others stretch for months and could continue until the end of the year as people are asked to stay inside their homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And this rare positive side to social isolation could see homebodies become a lot stronger when they’re allowed to re-emerge from hibernation.
Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth became one of the first to announce free services for those cooped up at home when he threw open the virtual doors to his workout app, Centr.
The app, available on Apple and Google devices, will be free to use for six weeks if you sign up on the web, and offers workout videos from a host of experienced trainers including Luke Zocchi and Tiffiny Hall.
“In times like this when there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot questions running through your head I find it’s even more useful to concentrate on your movement, your physical activity, your exercise, your nutrition … and also our mental fitness,” he said.
Former Bachelor star Tim Robards also offered access to his abs workout for six weeks, in case you want to emerge from isolation with a washboard stomach, and other workouts from the likes of Runtastic, YMCA, Peloton and Les Mills have also dropped their prices to help people get or stay fit at home.
Some offers are a little more niche, with Tinder delivering free access to its premium service to keep lonely hearts talking, and Home School Piano offering beginner lessons for three months, assuming you have access to the instrument or an app like it.
For children stuck at home, Foxtel is offering access to the Kids channel package free of charge until the end of May, along with other channels, Apple has a free library of Sesame Street books on offer, and Audible has created a collection of audiobooks to entertain small people while you try to work from home.
And if you are working from home, it could pay to note that there are free offers to help you do that after Microsoft, Zoho, Cisco and homegrown success story Atlassian made some of their cloud services free during the pandemic.
Broadband users can also access unlimited data during the day from Telstra and Aussie Broadband, while mobile customers can get a larger allowance during the next month, though some users will need to apply for it.
FREE ENTERTAINMENT AND DATA
— Foxtel: Free access to drama, entertainment, lifestyle, documentaries, reality and kids channel packages for all subscribers until May 31.
— Fetch TV: Three months free access to 11 news channels including CNN and BBC World News.
— Telstra: Unlimited downloads for broadband customers. 25GB extra for postpaid mobile users, 10GB extra for most prepaid users for 30 days.
— Vodafone: Free national standard calls until April 30, 5GB extra mobile data for postpaid customers, 3GB extra data for active prepaid users.
— Optus: An extra 20GB mobile data for postpaid customers, and 10GB for prepaid customers during April.
— AmaySIM: Up to 30GB free mobile data for all customers for use until April 15.
— Aussie Broadband: Unmetered broadband use between 6am and 6pm, NBN 12 plan users upgraded to NBN 25 at no charge.
— Centr app: Full access for six weeks, available until March 31 for those who sign up via the website.
— Runtastic Premium Membership: Free access for 90 days
— YMCA 360: Free online fitness classes available during the pandemic.
— 12-Minute Abs Challenge: Trainer Tim Robards offers six-week program for free with code, “FREEABS”.
— Peloton app: Free access to at-home workouts for 90 days
— Carrot Fit: Free to download for two weeks
— Headspace: Free access to ‘Weathering the storm’ meditations
— Gold’s Amp: 600 workouts free until May 31.
— Les Mills on Demand: Free classes in everything from Body Combat to Barre until the pandemic is over.
— Pure Barre Go: Daily live classes for free over Facebook
— Apple Books for kids: Large collection of Sesame Street audio books for free.
— The Year Without Pants: free e-book on working from home by Scott Berkun.
— Audible: Large collection of children’s audiobooks free while schools are closed.
FREE WORK TOOLS
— Canva: Premium subscriptions free for public health organisations.
— Microsoft: Free access to Microsoft Teams for six months.
— Atlassian: Cloud software including Jira Software, Confluence, Jira Service Desk and Jira Core have been made free, free one-year subscriptions to business software for teachers.
— Cisco WebEx: The videoconferencing platform is free for 90 days.
— Zoho: Cloud services in its Remotely suite are available for free until July 1.
— Tinder Passport: Free until April 30.
— Home School Piano: Level one lessons free until September 1.
— Affinity Photo suite: Free use for 90 days on Mac, PC, iPad.
— Australian Music Examination Board: Theory of Music online courses, grades tone to three, are free until June 30.