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Majority of Business Owners Feel Prepared to Respond to the Coronavirus

March 05, 2020

New Paychex research found 66 percent of U.S. business owners say they are prepared should the coronavirus become widespread.

Two-thirds of business owners say they are prepared if the outbreak spreads in the U.S.

New research from Paychex, a leading provider of human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, reveals that despite the current threat posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), 66 percent of U.S. business owners at this early stage say they are prepared should the virus become widespread. Additionally, the research shows that 59 percent of business owners have a business continuity plan in place to address potential business disruptions.

The research, conducted February 28-29, 2020, reflects the sentiment of 300 business owners with two to 500 employees and gauged thoughts on overall preparedness and how the coronavirus is impacting business operations.

“Navigating a rapidly evolving environment such as this can present challenges, but the insights revealed through this initial research are encouraging – the majority of business owners feel prepared,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “This is an opportune time for business owners to evaluate response plans for any potential crisis situation, including developing a comprehensive business continuity plan, evaluating HR policies related to leave of absence, and developing or refining employee and customer communication channels.”

Business owner concern over coronavirus

  • Business owners have moderate levels of concern regarding spread of the virus.
  • Sixty-one percent indicate they are somewhat to not at all concerned.
  • Thirty-nine percent say they are very or extremely concerned.

Current business impact of coronavirus  

  • To date, business impact as a result of the coronavirus has been limited.
  • More than half the business owners surveyed (51 percent) reported no impact to their business.
  • Those who have felt effects cite concern among employees as the top impact (25 percent), with business travel delays (16 percent) and supply chain disruptions (13 percent) as other leading impacts.  

Ability to withstand coronavirus-related interruptions

  • The majority of business owners feel that they could both continue operations (83 percent) and withstand a temporary supply chain disruption or delay (84 percent) should the virus become widespread.
  • If a business pause or shutdown were to occur, 75 percent say that they have enough cash or credit to survive related interruptions.
  • Fifty-four percent of businesses could accommodate either remote work or working from home if a quarantine were to go into effect. This varies by industry, however, as 65 percent of manufacturing businesses could not accommodate work from home or remote work.

About the Paychex Business Survey
Paychex polled 300 randomly selected business owners with 2-500 employees. The survey was fielded and administered online by Bredin, a third-party research firm, between February 28-29, 2020. Results yielded a +/- 5.66% margin of error.

Disclaimer: The data cited in this news release represents the opinions of the survey respondents and not those of Paychex or its employees.

About Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by more than 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves over 670,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2019, across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.