Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO

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On Tuesday, April 14 from 10:00-11:00 AM EST, join The Tembo Group, an APCO Worldwide company, and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) for a virtual roundtable on post-COVID scenarios and the best paths for business and philanthropic leaders to secure social and environmental progress. 

RSVP here.
Reputation Tracking and Staff Engagement for Health Systems During and After COVID-19

Although it is unclear when the COVID-19 crisis will end, now is the time for health system communications teams to measure, monitor and analyze their local/regional reputation and online conversations about their organizations, and invest in anti-burnout efforts, so they are prepared to emerge stronger once the crisis ends.

With decades of experience helping healthcare organizations manage crises, improve communications and protect reputations, APCO can help you navigate this complex environment and emerge more resilient and agile for the future.
APCO is tracking Americans' attitudes and behaviors related to COVID-19 in a series of weekly polls. The latest installment, from polling conducted on April 3, looks at Americans' attitudes on the impact of social distancing and outlooks for a return to 'normal' life.
Woman Working from Home
Life During the COVID-19 Outbreak: How Parents Working from Home are Feeling About Their Situation and How Employers Can Help Guidance

APCO Insight conducted a pulse survey on March 31, 2020, to explore the strategies that employers are taking to help working parents navigate working from home. Katie Sprehe and Vaishali Udani share the key findings on what employers can do:
Parent Working from Home

#1: Recognize that those working from home with kids won’t be as productive at this time. Parents working from home are just as concerned with getting the coronavirus (76%) as they are with having to homeschool their kids (76%).

#2: Parents working from home expect their employers to have the right policies in place to help them navigate this stressful situation. This cohort puts high priority on employers providing flexible work schedules (86% important) and ensuring employees have paid time off/sick leave (85% important) during this time.

Toto, it Sure Doesn't Feel Like an Election Year Anymore

Dan Smith, associate director in APCO Worldwide's Washington D.C. office, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. presidential campaigns and the upcoming election:
Text Message Campaign

"COVID-19 has forced the 2020 campaigns—much less our connections with friends and family—into virtual mode for the foreseeable future. Campaign rallies have been replaced by campaign podcasts...Community organizers and campaign staffers who spent past years going door-to-door to stump for their candidate now use peer-to-peer texting tools to garner support.

2020 certainly isn’t the election year we expected. But the COVID-19 pandemic has presented candidates and elected officials with the opportunity to fill the void in human contact created by the crisis with authentic virtual communications that foster connections, [and] arm individuals with the information they need to stay safe."


As the impact of COVID-19 ravages the global economy, governments are racking their brains. Countries like the United States, and Thailand are reporting record high job loss rates, forcing them to spend big on soft loans, tax breaks and financial support to keep the economy afloat. For developing economies, the situation is much more dire. Total lockdowns and the shuttering of businesses have cut the livelihood of many people working in the informal economy, without any safety net or adequate social welfare to support them. In South Asia, where the virus is accelerating, institutions warn of a looming economic crisis which could cause the region to crumble.

The economic impact of the virus outbreak has heightened the debate over alternative economic models, in attempts to move towards more sustainable functioning. Announcements by Spain’s government to provide some form of a Universal Basic Income shed light on public efforts to prioritize welfare during the pandemic. The Netherlands is also working towards economic reforms to emulate the ‘doughnut model,’ committing economic reform to guarantee essential life services for individuals. These moves reflect a growing recognition of governments to consider more sustainable economic models that ensure some degree of social equity and minimize damage in times of severe economic contraction. Moreover, it serves to acknowledge the need to build social resilience in the economy, which will be essential to facilitate the global economic recovery once the pandemic subsides.


A key element of the global economic recovery is determining how soon governments can allow their nation's businesses to return to work. After more than 11 weeks of a lockdown on the Chinese epicenter of Wuhan, and despite fears of a secondary outbreak, Chinese businesses are slowly resuming work. Several European countries, including some of the worst hit by the pandemic, are now preparing to loosen restrictions. On April 13, Spain announced relaxed measures on manufacturing and construction workers, while the Italian government will loosen measures beginning April 14 on some shops to allow business resumption, even as a nationwide lockdown remains until May 3. Denmark and Austria, which were both quick to respond to the pandemic, are also introducing gradual plans to ease their respective lockdowns. Stateside, a drop in the daily United States infection rate on Friday led some officials to suggest that some portions of the country could resume a "rolling re-entry," as early as next month.
Governments are still on high alert about the risk of a secondary wave of infections, especially as normal business operations resume. From an economic perspective, secondary or tertiary outbreaks could further prolong the economic pain that governments are seeking to avoid. As governments prepare to ease restrictions, businesses should keep abreast of both official public health guidance and government announcements on work resumptions and compliance measures that can impact their operations. Just as business continuity plans were essential to responding to the first waves of the pandemic, updating and reviewing these plans will be critical to ensuring that businesses are adequately prepared for the first signs of work resumption.

Some Positive News

  • Easter celebrations: From online sermons to drive-through church services, this is how the world celebrated Easter amid the outbreak, The Washington Post
  • Joint efforts: Chinese and American scientists, companies and research firms are working together despite the fact that their respective governments cannot get on the same page, Inkstone
  • In sickness and in health: Couples get creative in finding ways to get married, despite social distancing and lockdown measures, The New York Times

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler

  • Preparing your business for a post-pandemic world, Harvard Business Review
  • Protecting reputation and engaging healthcare workers during and after COVID-19, APCO Worldwide
  • Should the public wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19? Yes, but not at the expense of those worn by medical staff​, The Economist
  • How should people with mild symptoms self-quarantine?, The Wall Street Journal (video, 2 minutes)
  • The big lesson from South Korea's coronavirus response? Testing, Vox (video, 8 minutes)


“There will be time for post-mortems. Very few countries are going to get an A-grade for what that scrambling looked like...We didn't simulate this, we didn't practice, so in both the health policies and economic policies we find ourselves in uncharted territory."

        - Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair

The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running."

        - Kenneth M. Sullivan, Smithfield President & CEO
The APCO team is working with clients globally to manage this crisis, and we stand ready to support your needs. For more resources from APCO, including our latest research, information on how we can help or to contact us, visit