COVID Leadership Series
Webinar: The Leadership Series - A Spotlight on Technology & Innovation

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we ask ourselves how is technology and innovation shaping our ‘new normal’? On Wednesday, May 20 at 4:30pm (UAE time), APCO Founder and Executive Chairman Margery Kraus joins regional business leaders to reveal insights into new consumer perceptions, discuss how businesses are adapting to the new environment and the importance of leadership communications in this evolving world. RSVP here.
This Time It's Different for Financial Services

Jeff Zelkowitz, executive director and global financial practice leader in APCO Worldwide's New York office, discusses what financial services need to consider to stay ahead of the global pandemic and come back stronger:
Umbrella Financial Down Arrows

"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 2008 crisis was a meltdown of the financial system fueled by excessive debt and risk-taking, whereas the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is locking down our economy. “This time it’s different,” has dangerous echoes in finance – but this crisis is different, and so are the risks."

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in 2020

APCO Greater China's Howard Kwong and Jacklyn Chan discuss China's ambitious plan for the Greater Bay Area, the impact of COVID-19 on economic integration and recommendations for foreign business:

"The plan for the GBA aims to build a formidable economic cluster helmed by the core cities of Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. The current objectives are to set a framework for cooperation by 2022 which pave the way for the free flow of people, goods, and services. By 2035, the region is expected to play a leading role in multiple industries, including advanced manufacturing, innovation, shipping, trade, and finance.

China’s priority will be to restart its economy without triggering a second or third wave of coronavirus cases. The GBA is a key bridgehead to support China’s recovery.​"

Chinese Flag Skyscraper


APCO colleagues are sharing on-the-ground insights and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 in markets around the world. Today’s dispatch is from APCO's Greater China offices in Beijing and Shanghai, with tips and insights into the return to work in China and the post-COVID office life:

China's national and local governments are determined to restart the economy to mitigate the heavy hit the country took in Q1, and facilitating work resumption is a cornerstone of this strategy. For the past few months, APCO’s Beijing and Shanghai offices have implemented a “phased approach” to their return. This involves dividing the teams in half (Groups A and B), who split their time evenly between going into the office and working from home. The specific rules follow the policies of the buildings in which we operate. As things stand, entry is only granted upon the presentation of a QR 'health code' or building entry pass that ensures the low risk of infection. The teams also receive temperature checks twice-daily, which are reported to building staff and local authorities. During the work day, colleagues are required to sit at least two-meters apart from each other and encouraged to not “mass gather” at lunchtime.

Despite these new precautions, the return to the office has been smooth, and there is hope of returning to full capacity in the not-too-distant future. This return, however, is subject to constant review to gauge the local situation, especially amid the risk of subsequent outbreaks. Another major difference is heightened awareness of hygiene and social distancing. After months of control measures, colleagues still need to remain vigilant in washing their hands regularly, avoiding large group clusters inside and outside of work and adopting other travel methods to avoid peak crowds on public transport, such as bicycle, electric scooter or by car.

Some Positive News

  • Virtual Graduation: Former U.S. President Barack Obama was among many celebrities, artists and activists who recognised the Class of 2020’s 3 million graduating high school seniors in a broadcast ceremony ‘Graduate Together’, NPR
  • Nature's Comeback: Absence of crowds has allowed wildflowers to burst between the stones in the coastal paths in Northern Ireland in numbers rarely seen before, Belfast Telegraph 
  • Treat for Neighbors: The U.S. National Symphony Orchestra musician David Murrey played "Baby Shark" outside his house to entertain neighbors on lockdown, The Independent

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler


“While it will take some time before we get to enjoy again the things we are missing – from the comfort of our families to a night out with friends – those days will come again.​"

     - Leo Varadkar​, Prime Minister of Ireland

“I urge governments to place people with disabilities at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to consult and engage people with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have valuable experience to offer of thriving in situations of isolation and alternate working arrangements. Looking to the future, we have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.​”

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
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