Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO

The Future of Education: Will COVID-19 Be the Catalyst for an E-learning Revolution?

Tom Short, director of APCO Worldwide's London office, highlights how online learning will change as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic:

"Online learning is not a new trend. For many years, universities, colleges and business schools have explored ways to deliver content virtually to improve learning outcomes, reach a wider group of students and generate new revenue streams. 

While e-learning has thrived in many areas, in secondary and tertiary education it’s never quite taken hold. It’s only recently that we’ve had the in-classroom and at-home technology—and the internet bandwidth—to be able to deliver an engaging remote experience at a viable cost. But there have been many other historic barriers to adoption beyond the technological." 

This Time It’s Different for Financial Services

Jeff Zelkowitz, executive director and global financial practice leader in APCO Worldwide’s New York office, highlights the three issues financial services firms need to think through to stay ahead in this global pandemic:
Man under umbrella

"Financial services firms and their clients have benefited from Fed activity that has shored up the stock market – leading to what some see as a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. To come back stronger, however, the financial sector needs the rest of the economy to recover – their fates are intertwined.

The more that jobs come back, small businesses recover and distressed companies and industries are able to find a new normal, and the more corporate balance sheets and household income and savings are restored, the better off the financial sector as a whole will be."


APCO colleagues are sharing on-the-ground insights and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 in markets around the world. Today's dispatch from APCO's Washington, D.C. office highlights how the pandemic is affecting the economy around the world and how businesses must balance safety and job security post-pandemic. For more information, please contact Alison Patch.

Next month marks six months since the first official reports of the coronavirus in China. With this anniversary, experts note the anticipated economic implosion caused by mass lockdowns has curiously yet to materialize in many parts of the world. However, as economic giants such as the United States and China report new outbreaks, and Brazil and India grapple with a surge in infections amid a race to reopen, anticipated second wave infections and death tolls are coming faster than predicted and, with them, a deeper economic crisis than previously planned.
On Monday, global cases of COVID-19 surpassed 9 million – a number that has more than doubled in just five weeks – and cases continue to rise at a rate of around 1-2% a day. Global deaths stand at over 464,000 and have doubled in seven weeks. In the United States, more than 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, a larger number than expected and one that portends a long road to recovery, even while banking stocks rally on news that U.S. regulators relaxed post-financial crisis-era restrictions. In China, fears over a new outbreak in Beijing could be even more damaging, as previously reopened schools are closed once again and travel from the city restricted on the eve of a public holiday. Globally, stock market stability seems disconnected from the reality of threats to insolvency and the ongoing debate over rescue packages that will continue into the summer holidays.
A chorus of business leaders and investors have warned of the risks of a market that appears grossly out of sync with reality. As companies consider back-to-work solutions, they should prioritize safety and privacy while keeping a conservative eye on the bottom line. The mental health epidemic afflicting many forced to stay at home through strict quarantines will also not be alleviated by employers risking the safety of their employees, nor will it be helped by risking job security. Businesses must balance the two in the months to come.

Some Positive News

  • Lasagna Lady: After Michelle Brenner was furloughed, she made 1,200 pans of free lasagna for those in need, The Washington Post
  • Library drone delivery: A school librarian in Virginia uses drones to deliver books to kids stuck at home due to the coronavirus, CBS News
  • Big tip: A Starbucks employee receives more than $16,000 in tips after refusing to serve a customer who wasn't wearing a mask, The Hill

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler

  • Carlyle Group Co-Chief Executive Officer Kewsong Lee on the power of leadership, Center for Strategic & International Studies(podcast, 32 minutes)
  • Adapting your business budget after coronavirus: 5 tips to get back on track, Forbes
  • 5 ways to make the most of a stay-at-home summer vacation, Fast Company​
  • Which country has the world’s best health care system?, Vox


“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

  - Arundhati Roy, Author

“Many Yemenis have lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic, and the most vulnerable groups in society, such as IDPs and refugees, have become more vulnerable. The already fragile health system is overburdened and lacks the capacity to keep up with the coronavirus situation."

  - Laila Abdulrab, UNHCR humanitarian aid worker
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