Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO

How Companies Can Help to Counter the Gender Inequality Caused by COVID-19

APCO's Kim Kowal, senior consultant, shares her opinion on how employers can differentiate themselves and help bridge the gap between male and female staff members.
Man and woman working at home

"In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives of people everywhere. However, while COVID-19 may be a new occurrence, the disproportionate impact on women resulting from a public health emergency is not.​

Similar to past infectious disease outbreaks, there are several different outcomes of a pandemic for men and women—not just in terms of health. While women have a lower risk of death after contracting the coronavirus, the overall impact of the pandemic will ultimately threaten their wellbeing, perhaps in less obvious ways."

Reputation Management During a Pandemic: A Tale of Two Countries

In the Diplomatic Courier, APCO's Kevin Vindevogel and Thomas Kerstens team up with Bas Lans to discuss the different approaches taken by the Netherlands and Belgium in tackling the pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been typified as a so-called “black swan event”, an unpredictable event which has a major socio-economic impact and cannot be rationalized with the benefit of hindsight once it is over. While the COVID-19 crisis, first and foremost, is a global public health crisis, one of the aspects that elevate it to “black swan” status, is the crippling effect that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have on the global economy."

Geometric glass office building
Webinar: America in the Post-COVID World Order

APCO Worldwide and the U.S.-India Business Council invite you to a discussion on the future of global partnerships in the 21st century. In a post-COVID world, the United States will face opportunities for renewed strategic and economic partnerships. This will require countries to overcome nationalist and protectionist impulses that are emerging across the world in response to the pandemic.

The discussion will feature Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, and Ambassador Tim Roemer, Executive Director at APCO Worldwide. The webinar will be held on Friday, May 29, 2020 from 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Eastern Time. RSVP here.


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 Washington, D.C. discusses expanding testing capabilities in the workplace as lockdown restrictions ease:

As economies across the globe begin the careful process of returning to work, school and international travel, the gap in existing testing capabilities looms large in the minds of policymakers. In the UK, a government plan to reach a capacity of 200,000 PCR tests per day falls short of the number of tests required to meet need, as these tests remain costly and cumbersome to perform. The quality and accuracy of testing has weighed on demand, with criticisms of testing equipment from China resulting in the short-lived decision to tighten export controls on COVID-19 test kits and other supplies at a time of critical need. Meanwhile in the United States, the number of positive cases may be continuing to increase in nearly half the country as states begin to reopen. However, debate rages on both sides of the political aisle over test accuracy between states, even as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released its first comprehensive tracker of testing results since February.
While the details of each employer’s plan to return will vary based on location, industry and culture, any path forward is reliant on employee willingness to submit to regularized testing, contract tracing and increased workplace safety measures. Despite this, the cost, availability and questions over accuracy may prevent a global comprehensive testing regime this year. In many cases, the barriers to any swift return to work will be too high, leading some executives to adopt innovations employed during the pandemic, including more long-term remote work options and transferring employee benefits to those bearing the costs of higher utility bills and office costs.
As employees settle into long-term remote work realities, the vital role of testing goes beyond the initial sparks of the virus or return to work plans. New research suggests that the novel coronavirus may never go away, even with a vaccine, making testing a long-term necessity. In the short term, ethical questions of how to prioritize testing will confront executive decision makers across all industries.

Some Positive News

  • Pandemic Wedding: Frontline key workers get married in London hospital chapel, after canceling their summer wedding due to the coronavirus, The Telegraph
  • Antibodies for Mild Cases: A recent French study showed that antibodies are produced in almost all coronavirus patients, The Guardian
  • Interfaith Worship: A church in Berlin has opened its doors to Muslim worshippers unable to fit into their mosque under new social distancing rules during Ramadan, BBC

More Tips from Around the Water Cooler

  • Eight ways to go out and stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Vox​
  • 'A faceless threat': How the coronavirus is felt across the world, POLITICO​ (podcast,10 minutes)
  • How to host a virtual networking event, Harvard Business Review
  • Will the coronavirus pandemic open the door to a four-day workweek? The Washington Post
  • In times of crisis, a little thanks goes a long way: Five tips on expressing gratitude, Harvard Business Review

APCO is opening up the virtual water cooler for submissions from our readers - please share your article suggestions with us here.


“International co-operation, woefully inadequate so far, will be vital if the pandemic is not to re-emerge. One of the paradoxes of this pandemic is that even as we are forced to turn inwards, we need each other’s cooperation more than ever.”

        - Dame Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics

During this outbreak, caring for one another and being kind are keys to overcoming this and other challenging diseases around the world."

        - General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
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