• Virgin Media O2 Business has today published its Q1 Movers Index, revealing Gen Z’s rising office attendance as companies introduce money-saving perks, like free pizza and drinks.
  • This comes as only 10% of businesses have long term plans to allow employees to choose where they work.
  • Using aggregated and anonymised mobile data from O2 Motion combined with polling of businesses and consumers, the quarterly Movers Index highlights UK movement trends and insights. 

With the majority (89%) of businesses mandating in-office working days, the latest Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index shows Gen Z attendance is up by 10% as businesses lay on the perks to attract workers in.

The quarterly Movers Index, now its second year, is based on combining anonymised and aggregated UK movement data from O2 Motion* with national polling findings to reveal key behavioural trends. The combined data paints an accurate picture of movement patterns and the trends influencing them.

Gen Z upping office attendance as companies lay on perks

The first few months of the year in-office working rose, with almost half (46%) of Brits working in the office more frequently now, compared to three months ago. O2 Motion data shows Gen Z daily commute trips are up 9% from this time last year, including a 14% increase in January trips. To maintain office attendance and offset employee costs, businesses are offering perks including free drinks (27%), regular socials (22%), free lunch on certain days (18%) and free pizza (12%). Companies are also looking to increase staff productivity with flexible hours (51%), productivity tools (36%), virtual events (16%), making reliable connectivity key to facilitating efficient hybrid working.

Bank holidays set to boost local economy

With May bank holidays approaching, the majority of Brits (93%) are planning to stay in the UK instead of going on foreign trips. Six in ten (60%) are planning activities for the upcoming bank holidays including visiting the seaside (25%), the countryside (24%) and outdoor activities like long walks or picnics (15%), setting the UK economy up for a much-needed boost. To encourage spending, 37% of businesses are planning special deals and discounts during this period.

Brits spending more to shop local

Brits started the year with reduced trips to shopping centres (6%) and high streets (1%) according to mobile data. The months with the biggest fall in growth for high streets are July, November and December**, suggesting that online shopping may be preferable in colder months and peak holiday periods.

Local high streets remain important to shoppers, with just under half (47%) planning to increase their shopping at small local businesses in the next three months. In fact, Brits are willing to pay up to 33% more for an item locally rather than a large online retailer, up 14% from the end of 2024.

Jo Bertram, Managing Director of Virgin Media O2 Business, said: “Despite challenging winter months for Brits and businesses, our Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index shows positive trends are emerging. After experiencing reduced spending from the cost-of-living crisis, there is a clear consumer appetite to support local businesses, with many willing to spend more to do so.

“With Gen Z’s office attendance rising, businesses need to ensure they’re equipped to support this trend. This relies on quality connectivity and communication tools to provide a good working experience in the office and beyond.

“As trends continue to evolve, it’s important for businesses to partner with organisations that can equip them with the tools to succeed. Our mobile insights have been supporting businesses for years to tap into reliable data that can help inform strategic choices.”

From retailers to public sector organisations, Virgin Media O2 Business’ team of data experts support companies of all sizes to understand these trends and use them to make strategic decisions. The Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index is a publicly available quarterly report that explores the latest UK movement insights from each quarter. Find out more and access the report here: Virgin Media O2 Business website.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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