People have always needed people, especially those at the younger end of the workforce and the office, is not just a place to work but a social hub where lifetime relationships are forged. Working from home has it's benefits but for social animals, cities are once again becoming the place to be and London is definitely calling.

Gen Z (16-24) are leading the charge on London's revival, as they head back into the office and look for premium experiences in the city, new research reveals.

Return to a working week

According to the study of 2,000 London workers commissioned by London Heritage Quarter, four and five-day weeks in the office are making a comeback for Gen Z as over half (57%) say they plan to increase their attendance in 2023 from the current three-day average.

In contrast, their older colleagues (aged 35+) agree that just 1-2 days in the office is their preference. 

London's vibrancy and character is the primary driver behind Gen Z's office intentions, as having an office in a buzzy area (34%), cultural events nearby (34%) and nice outdoor spaces for lunch breaks (33%) were among the top reasons for people in this age bracket coming into the office.

This comes as over half (54%) admit they feel lonely and isolated at home, often going for hours without talking to anyone (61%) - indexing much higher than their older colleagues (38%, 56% respectively).

Premium experiences

The research shows that it's London's premium experiences that are attracting young people back into the city. Gen Z respondents were more likely than any other age group to choose higher-quality places when it comes to going out (41%). Over a quarter (26%) save up and choose quality over quantity, but a further 15% admit they go out more often to more expensive and higher-quality places.

Going to the office is no different, with Gen Z twice as likely to treat themselves to nicer lunches (21%), or eat out in more expensive cafes/restaurants with colleagues (17%) than their older colleagues (11%, 8% respectively).

Optimism for the year ahead

Despite the cost-of-living crisis still looming and 58% noticing the impacts, half (50%) of Gen Z workers say they feel optimistic for the year ahead.

The study found that younger people are balancing their premium going-out choices by making the most of free activities to do in London, such as walking around and enjoying its history - more than any other age group (36% vs 24%). A quarter now actively opt for alcohol-free socialising to reduce their costs (24%) or have fewer drinks after work (24%).

Ruth Duston, OBE, OC, Chief Executive of London HQ said: "London has a wealth of attractions to enjoy, from rich culture and heritage right through to its bustling and lively nightlife. The cost of living continues to bite, but it's encouraging to see that people are turning to London for what it does best - stand-out landmarks, architecture, green open spaces and history."

"It's why projects such as our partnership with Westminster City Council on the £22m regeneration of Strand Aldwych are so important for the city's revival. Since opening to the public in December, in a matter of weeks it has already shown its value to tourists, students and workers across the capital, championing local culture in a space to bring people together. We must continue to invest in London so it can retain the vibrancy and buzz that sets it apart on the world stage."

London Heritage Quarter - the collective of four Business Improvement Districts - offer free activities and things to do throughout the year across South Westminster, Victoria Westminster, Whitehall and Northbank, such as the VoiceLine installation in Strand Aldwych. The VoiceLine is a 170m line of tailored speakers that perform a rich programme of bespoke audio works celebrating the history of the space from 8am - 8am daily.

A little more information about The London Heritage Quarter, known by the snappier name of London HQ

London HQ is the brand for the collective of four Business Improvement Districts ( BIDS) which cover South Westminster - Victoria, Victoria Westminster, Whitehall and Northbank.

Stretching from Victoria Coach Station through to Parliament Square, Strand and on to the Royal Courts of Justice, the BIDs cover some of central London's most iconic locations and visitor destinations. The BIDs represent thousands of businesses, from major employers and FTSE 100 companies to smaller creative businesses and start-ups, across a diverse range of sectors. 

Delivering value through partnership is at the heart of of their offer, with the BIDs working hand in hand with Westminster Council and other partners to support business growth, enhance the environment and lobby on behalf our diverse business communities. Recent successes include the refurbishment of Christchurch Gardens in Victoria and the momentum built around the transformation of Strand Aldwych. Both projects, pioneered by the BIDs, demonstrate the importance of high-quality public spaces and the powerful force for good that public / private collaboration can be.