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2017 Small Business Wish List


Even if you’re happy with the job you already have, something could always be better, right? When it comes to keeping small business employees and owners happy and productive, what benefits and technology should companies consider implementing in 2017? An extra day to work from home, for instance, could boost employees’ productivity and loyalty to their employer.

To find out, we surveyed over 500 small business owners and employees and asked them about their work wants. Here’s what we learned.


Benefits That Matter Most

A bar chart that shows the most coveted small business benefits by respondent percentage. Top   three most coveted include work from home days, 53.1 percent, cheaper health insurance, 47.8 percent, and flexible work hours, 44.6 percent.

When it comes to keeping employees happy, knowing what they want can be half the battle. It can also help with prioritizing current benefits as a business owner.

Of more than 385 small business employees surveyed, over half wanted more opportunities to work from home (53 percent). Depending on the kind of work your employees do and the type of technology you have in place to allow remote access to company computers and servers, it’s possible that working from home is an enticing benefit that can be offered at no additional cost to the company.

More than 40 percent of employees said cheaper health insurance, flexible work hours, and flexible time off were benefits they also wanted to see implemented in 2017.

However, fewer than 16 percent ranked on-site child care, disability insurance, and job sharing (when two part-time employees share a full-time position) as top priorities.


High-Tech Wants

A bar chart that shows the most wanted technologies by respondent percentage. Top three   include new computers, 51.4 percent, faster internet, 40.6 percent, and smartphones and tablets, 22.7 percent.

Technology isn’t just on our personal wish lists – it’s also on small business employees’ wish lists as well.

When asked which technology was a professional priority, over half of employees said new computers were a 2017 must-have (about 51 percent). Old computers – or computers running outdated software – can cause more headaches than results when it comes to getting work done.

Additionally, faster internet was high on small business employees’ wish lists (41 percent). For cloud- or web-based company resources, a powerful internet connection is the lifeline for productivity and functionality, making it a necessity in some workplaces.

Technological advancements that were least requested included digital accounting (11 percent) and storewide communication devices (7 percent).


Small Business Benefits and Tech Wants

A chart that displays the most wanted benefit and technology by industry.

Small business employees who work in government and public administration, medical and health care, technology, and information services and data processing most wanted the ability to work from home.

Further, employees in manufacturing and education preferred having cheaper health insurance, while those in marketing and advertising most wanted company-paid education and work-from-home days.

Only marketing and advertising and medical and health care employees most yearned for faster internet. Every other industry labeled new computers as their top tech item.


What Employees and Owners Want Most

A chart that displays the most wanted benefit and technology by employee type, and also   generation.

Overall, small business employees were most interested in work-from-home days, while owners felt flexible time off should be a prioritized benefit. However, only 26 percent of employees believe they will receive this benefit, and only 54 percent of owners and partners think flexible time off is an achievable goal in 2017.

Interestingly, small business employees and owners agree their companies should invest in new computers. While only 50 percent of employees believe this wish will be granted, 69 percent of owners think there’s a good chance they’ll be able to cross this wish off their lists.

By generation, millennials most wanted work-from-home days, while Gen Xers and baby boomers voted for cheaper health insurance. All three generations picked new computers as their most desired technological advancement in 2017.


Making the Workplace Better

What we found was that small business employees, managers, and owners most wanted work-from-home days and flexible time off. Additionally, new computers topped all of their technology wish lists. Whether these are implemented in 2017 remains to be seen, but knowing what people want when it comes to work is a step in the right direction toward creating an enjoyable workplace.

Help provide for your team by utilizing Paychex by outsourcing your payroll and human resources needs and beyond to focus on your business and your employees.



We surveyed over 500 people in the U.S. who work at a company with 500 employees or less. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were employees, and 23 percent were managers, owners, and partners.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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