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Majority of Business Owners Feel Prepared to Respond to the Coronavirus

Two-thirds of business owners say they are prepared if the outbreak spreads in the US

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 US 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.”

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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.

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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.

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