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Belgium in Brief: Will You Ever Go Back To Work?

It’s 11:30 AM, and I’m settling into the same routine I’ve had for over a year now – my second coffee of the day as I write this intro.

This tiny thing has become a big part of the new normal for me, a new routine that I could stand to keep, but it’s also got me thinking about how my life has changed for the better now I work from home.

Aside from the odd day in the office, my commute is gone. Those few days I make the trek into the city feel more like a treat than a chore, and I don’t want to lose that.

This same impact is felt at lunch. I no longer have to venture out and grab something quick on the days I just want sustenance. Going out for lunch is a BIG thing, something to celebrate, not just another chore in the day.

We’ve all had to make plenty of changes we hate – and rightfully so – but there’s some that I think are here to stay, and they are inherently tied to working from home.

If the weather is nice, I can go for a run. A stressful day can be undone by working out the moment I finish. Prep work for dinner can be done at lunch.

Hell, I’m even here when (most) of my packages are delivered.

Now this, of course, is my take. My reasoning that even when things go back to normal, I’ll probably still work from home some days.

But what has changed for you? Got any new habits? Or do you need to get out?

Let @johnstonjules know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. 2.4 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines blocked from distribution in Belgium

About 2.4 million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently ready to be distributed in the company’s Belgian factory in Beerse, but have to wait for the green light from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they will be released. Read more.

2. First Moderna, then Pfizer? Belgium studies if first and second shot can be different

Different coronavirus vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Credit: Belga

Four research centres in Belgium are launching a study to find out whether the coronavirus vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the country’s authorities can be used in a “more flexible way.” Read more.

3. SNCB launches pilot project for flexible subscriptions for home-work journeys

SNCB will launch a pilot project to offer flexible subscriptions for home-work journeys in June, hoping to meet the demand expected to come with an increase in teleworking, according to a press release from the Belgian rail company. Read more.

4. Ireland among latest orange travel zones on European coronavirus map

A number of new regions have coloured orange on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) map of travel destinations, meaning that restrictions for travellers will be eased. Read more.

5. Revealed: Government ministry hacked by foreign power

The entire computer system of the federal home affairs ministry was subject to a full, complicated cyber-attack as far back as April 2019, with all fingers pointing to China, according to De Standaard. Read more.

6. Facebook removes support group for terror suspect Jürgen Conings

Facebook removed the “Als 1 achter Jürgen” group from its platform on Tuesday after the page reached nearly 50,000 members.

The group was created last week to show support for the fugitive right-wing soldier, who has managed to evade international efforts to capture him for eight days and counting now after allegedly stealing military-grade weapons from a barracks and leaving behind a letter stating his intent to “join the resistance.” Read more.

7. Number of newborns in Flanders slumped to lowest point in almost 20 years

The number of children born in 2020 in Flanders reached its lowest point in almost 20 years, whilst on average the number of children per woman slumped to its lowest point since the start of the century. Read more. 

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