Latest Virgin Media O2 Business Movers Index: Firms Bet on Free Food to Draw Gen Z to Offices

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. 

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.