Can Your Organization Survive Another Round of COVID-19?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19

The summer months are a time to hit the beach, take a break, and enjoy the warm weather but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 summer will be anything but relaxing. As employers welcome back workers and stay-at-home orders continue to lift, many are questioning whether there will be a second wave of the coronavirus and if so, how badly will it impact organizations a second time around?


Source: Corona Borealis Studio / Shutterstock

A new survey, released by Paychex, reveals that 63% feel the worst is behind them when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations. However, 4 in 5 business owners are somewhat or very concerned about a possible second wave of infection.

“Over the past couple of weeks, as all 50 states have begun some phase of reopening, many business owners have turned their attention to determining how to best operate safely and efficiently in this new landscape,” says Martin Mucci, Paychex President and CEO—in a press release. “After an extended period of uncertainty, with more questions remaining, it’s encouraging to see that business owners are optimistic about their recovery from this crisis while remaining cautious about the economy and a potential second wave.”

Key Findings

As part of a COVID-19 survey series, Paychex polled 300 randomly selected business owners with 2 to 500 employees beginning April 17, 2020. The most recent wave of the survey, conducted from May 15 to May 17, 2020, revealed the following insights:

Businesses’ current status:

  • 46% of business owners report they are fully open and operational
  • 42% are open on a limited basis
  • 12% are closed, but plan to reopen
  • Of the businesses that are open, 30% closed at one point during the pandemic
  • Of the businesses that are closed, half plan to open by July, and 25% will open as soon as they are allowed

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan status:

  • 44% of businesses have applied for a PPP loan
  • Of those that applied, 58% have now received payment, twice as many as wave three (May 1-4)
  • Businesses with 2 to 49 employees are now twice as likely to have received a PPP loan as businesses with 50 to 500 employees

PPP concerns:

  • 37% of businesses are not clear on how to apply for PPP loan forgiveness
  • That said, 68% are very or extremely confident they will meet the requirements for loan forgiveness
  • 26% don’t think the PPP loan will be enough for them to survive

Expected time to return to normal:

  • 45% of respondents think it will take three or fewer months for their business to return to pre-COVID norms
  • 57% of respondents think it will take seven or more months for the U.S. economy to return to normal
  • 19% of businesses say they have already returned to pre-COVID revenues

Business resilience:

  • Business resilience has remained steady since wave one of the survey (fielded April 17-20), at 70 on a scale of 1-100
  • Businesses with 50 to 500 employees (80), fast-growth businesses (79), and Midwestern businesses (76) are more resilient than their peers

Business owners’ top priorities:

  • 23% are focused on maintaining customer relationships
  • 21% on managing business as usual
  • 14% on reducing expenses
  • 5% on revising their go-to-market approach
  • Reopening their businesses has become a higher priority since wave three of the survey (fielded May 1-4)

Reopening concerns:

  • 33% of businesses are concerned that they won’t have sufficient customer demand upon reopening
  • 31% are worried about keeping employees safe at work
  • Concerns of a second wave:
  • 84% of businesses are somewhat or very concerned about a possible second wave of infection
  • 64% feel they could survive a second wave financially

While the verdict is still out regarding a second wave of COVID-19, it’s refreshing to see that a majority of employers believe they’ll be able to survive if/when it hits. For more information on the survey, click here.

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