What are the precautions that BBF are taking for COVID-19?

title image for covid-19 measures at bbf

What are the precautions that BBF are taking for COVID-19?

Ensuring the health and safety of our tenants, customers and staff is a priority at BBF, and with the challenges the world has faced in the last few months with COVID-19, it has only increased our focus. 

As the epidemic continues to evolve and the government updates the restriction levels, we have been working hard to ensure that we continue to provide safe and hygienic environments for our staff and tenants.

We want to ensure that everyone who interacts with BBF feels safe and comfortable during these times.  

In order to do this, we have introduced new operational procedures in our offices and worked closely with our cleaning teams to implement increased cleaning standards in our apartments. 

Operational Procedures - BBF Offices

As of the 11th May, 2020 BBF will be opening back up our City and Schuman offices to invite tenants and guests in by appointment only. To ensure the safety of our staff and guests during these visits BBF has created new operational procedures.  This includes:
  • Maintaining 1.5 m distance: Social distancing of 1.5m is to be maintained at all times
  • Masks: All BBF staff members will be provided with masks and we encourage all visitors to use a mask as well
  • Disinfectant gel and gloves: will be available to staff and visitors at the front desk
  • Plexi-screens: will be provided for all meetings with visitors
  • Daily disinfecting: All work areas will be disinfected daily
  • No Cash Handling: We will not be accepting any cash payments of rent
  • Restricted Access: Visitors will not be allowed to use restrooms, with the exception of the elderly or pregnant.

Current Tenants: Online Appointment Bookings

To ensure appropriate social distancing, we kindly request that you book your appointment online in advance with your local BBF Service Advisor.  Please click on your local office below to book your online appointment: City Office Schuman Office

Sales Visits: Online Appointment Bookings

As of Monday 11th May, we will also be able to provide in-person viewings for apartment sales and rentals to a maximum of two people per visit. Appointment in person If you are not able to be here in person? No problem, we also provide virtual tours and you can register for this online using the following link. Virtual tour booking
bbf sales person renting apartment to couple

Apartment Visiting Guidelines

Please note that it is very important during an in-person apartment visit to mind the social-distancing guidelines outlined above.  This includes entering small confined spaces like lifts.  We recommend, where possible, to use the stairs. If at any stage during the visit either party feels uncomfortable, they can request to stop or postpone the appointment.

Technical or Maintenance Visits in Your Apartment

Our technical team will also be performing all emergency as well as non-emergency requests as of Monday, 11th May.  If you have previously lodged a non-urgent request during the COVID-19 period, this will be actioned in the coming week. When our technical team visit an apartment they have been instructed to take the following actions:
bbf technician fixing a dishwasher
  • Gloves: On arrival they will put on a new pair of gloves before entering the apartment
  • Masks: Inside your apartment it is mandatory for them to wear both gloves and masks
  • Permission from tenant: They will ask the tenant if he or she authorises work in the apartment in their presence
  • Social Distancing: If the tenant chooses to stay in the apartment they are to keep social distancing of 1.5m at all time.
  • Open Windows: The technical will also open a window during the intervention to ensure adequate ventilation of the apartment
  • Safety First: At any time if you or the technician feels uncomfortable or that the health and safety guidelines are not being followed, work is to stop immediately
  • Between Apartments: Once the intervention is completed, they will dispose of their gloves into a designated bag and put on a new pair of gloves before the next visit

Cleaning in Your Apartment

As per tenant communications sent out on Monday the 4th May, complete fortnightly cleaning services for our serviced apartments will resume as of the 11th May, 2020.  If you do not wish to have a cleaning representative enter your apartment and didn’t complete our request form in the email, please notify your Service Advisor as soon as possible.  We have worked closely with our cleaning teams to ensure that the safety and hygiene of our tenants is the top priority.  Therefore please see below the additional measures that have been taken regarding the cleaning of your apartment:
  • Hydro-alcoholic gel between apartments: Our cleaners will be either washing their hands with soap or using hydro-alcoholic gel between each apartment
  • Gloves: They will also put on disposable gloves before entering the apartment
  • Masks: Inside your apartment it is mandatory for them to wear both gloves and masks
  • Permission from tenant: They will ask the tenant if he or she authorises work in the apartment in their presence
  • Social Distancing: If the tenant chooses to stay in the apartment they are to keep social distancing of 1.5m at all time
  • Products: They will be cleaning with bleach, alcohol vinegar and dettol for disinfection
  • Safety First: At any time if you or the cleaner feels uncomfortable or that the health and safety guidelines are not being followed, work is to stop immediately
  • Changing Cloths: Once the apartment has been cleaned the microfiber cloth will be disposed off and a new cloth used in the next apartment or common area.  This is also the case for cleaning of the floors, with the cleaning rag being changed between each apartment
  • Between Apartments: Once the intervention is completed, they will dispose of their gloves into a designated bag and put on a new pair of gloves before the next visit

Requests For No Cleaning - Linen Changes

We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable with someone entering their apartment.  Therefore, if you have requested to not have cleaning in your apartment during this period, you will still be notified of linen change requests each fortnight. Our guidelines for linen change over remain with use of gloves and asking tenants to have the linen ready for collection on the scheduled date.

Looking Forward

The safety and well-being of our tenants and employees is paramount. Therefore, as we look forward into the future, BBF will continue to review our operations and procedures to ensure that we continue to comply with the government guidelines and provide safe and hygienic apartments for our tenants. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our corporate partners and tenants for your continued support during this time and we look forward to meeting again, hopefully in the near future!

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The Multicultural and Multilingual Working Environment in Belgium

The Multicultural and Multilingual Working Environment in Belgium

If you are planning to work in Belgium as an expat, you might be wondering what the work culture is like in this small but diverse country. Belgium is located in the heart of Europe and has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. It also hosts several European Union institutions and is home to many multinational companies. Therefore, you can expect to encounter a multicultural and multilingual working environment in Belgium.

However, there are also some specific aspects of Belgian business culture that you should be aware of before you start your professional journey there. In this blog post, we will provide you with some useful information and tips on how to navigate the Belgian workplace successfully.


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1. Belgian business culture: key features

Belgian business culture is influenced by its neighbouring countries, especially the Netherlands, Germany, and France. However, it also has its distinctive characteristics that reflect the country’s history, geography, and social values. Here are some of the key features of Belgian business culture that you should know:

Respect for hierarchy

Belgians tend to respect the authority and expertise of their superiors and expect clear instructions and guidance from them. However, they also appreciate a participative and consultative management style that allows them to express their opinions and ideas. Belgians are generally polite and formal in their communication with their bosses and colleagues, especially in the French-speaking part of the country. They address each other by their titles and surnames until they are invited to use first names.

Consensus-oriented decision-making

Belgians prefer to make decisions based on consensus and compromise rather than confrontation and conflict. They value harmony and cooperation in the workplace and avoid direct criticism or confrontation. They tend to discuss issues thoroughly and consider different perspectives before reaching a final decision. Furthermore, they also expect to be informed and consulted about any changes or developments that affect their work.

Punctuality and efficiency

Belgians are very punctual and expect others to be as well. They arrive on time for meetings and appointments and adhere to deadlines and schedules. They value efficiency and productivity in their work and expect high standards of quality and performance from themselves and others. They are well-organized and detail-oriented and like to plan ahead and follow procedures.

Work-life balance

Belgians generally enjoy an effective work-life balance. They work to live, rather than the other way around, but generally manage to enjoy the business of working. However, being great enthusiasts for the good things in life, they make sure that both work and leisure receive equal attention. They usually work from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, with an hour-long lunch break. They rarely work overtime or take work home unless it is absolutely necessary. They also value their personal time and privacy and do not like to mix their professional and personal lives too much.

2. Tips for working in Belgium

Now that you have a general overview of Belgian business culture, here are some practical tips that can help you adapt to it more easily:

Learn the language

Although many Belgians speak English as a second or third language, especially in Brussels, it is advisable to learn at least one of the official languages of the country: Dutch, French, or German. This will help you communicate more effectively with your colleagues and clients, as well as show respect for their culture and identity. You can also learn some basic phrases or greetings in the other languages to impress your interlocutors.

Dress appropriately

Belgians dress conservatively and professionally for work, especially in formal settings such as meetings or presentations. Men usually wear suits and ties, while women wear dresses or skirts with jackets or blouses. Avoid wearing casual or flashy clothes or accessories that might be considered inappropriate or disrespectful.

Be prepared for meetings

Belgians take meetings seriously and expect them to be well-prepared and structured. They usually have a clear agenda and objective for each meeting and stick to it. They also expect participants to be well-informed and prepared to contribute to the discussion. Make sure you do your research beforehand and bring any relevant documents or materials with you. Be punctual, polite, attentive, and participative during the meeting. Avoid interrupting others or making jokes that might be misunderstood or offensive.

Build trust and rapport

Belgians are generally reserved and cautious when dealing with new people. They prefer to establish trust and rapport before engaging in business or personal relationships. Therefore, do not expect to close a deal or make a friend on your first encounter. Instead, be patient, respectful, courteous, and reliable. Show interest in their culture, history, politics, sports, or hobbies. Avoid topics that might be sensitive or controversial, such as religion, ethnicity, or language issues.

Respect diversity

Belgium is a diverse country with different linguistic, cultural, and regional identities. Therefore, be aware of and respect the differences and preferences of your colleagues and clients. Do not assume that all Belgians are the same or that they share the same opinions or values. Be flexible and adaptable to different situations and expectations. Do not make generalizations or stereotypes about Belgians or other nationalities.


Working in Belgium can be a rewarding experience for ex-pats, as long as they are willing to learn and adapt to the local business culture. By following the information and tips provided in this blog post, you can avoid potential misunderstandings or conflicts and establish positive and productive relationships with your Belgian counterparts. We hope you found this blog post useful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below.

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Making the Most of Your Stay in Belgium as an Expat

Making the Most of Your Stay in Belgium as an Expat

Belgium is a complicated but vibrant country with lot’s of different ways you can experience it. But how do you make the most of your stay as an Expat? Take the time to explore the country’s historic cities, picturesque towns, and stunning countryside. Indulge in the local delicacies, from mouthwatering chocolates and waffles to flavorful beers and hearty stews. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, which includes world-class museums, galleries, and music festivals. You can also join in on the many activities tailored to expat life.

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1. Culture and Heritage

Belgian culture is a rich tapestry woven from the influences of its Dutch, French, and German heritage. From the surrealism of Magritte to the comic strip creations of Tintin and The Smurfs, Belgium has made significant contributions to the arts. The country’s love for beer, with its hundreds of breweries and countless cafés, is a central part of its cultural identity. To experience Belgian culture, one can explore its vibrant art scene by visiting museums such as the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels or the Magritte Museum. You could also try attending the annual Aalst Carnival parade or immersing yourself in the country’s love for cycling.

To best experience Belgian culture, one can delve into the country’s artistic heritage by visiting museums and attending cultural events. Exploring the distinct regions of Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels allows for an appreciation of the diverse linguistic and cultural influences within the country. Engaging with locals, and participating in traditional festivities such as the Sinterklaas celebrations, can provide an immersive experience of Belgian culture. Additionally, taking the time to understand the significance of symbols like Manneken Pis and exploring the country’s contributions to music, such as the invention of the saxophone, can deepen one’s appreciation of Belgium’s cultural heritage.

Belgium’s long and rich cultural and artistic heritage is epitomized in the paintings of Pieter Bruegel The Elder. The country’s contribution to Art Nouveau is evident in the Brussels cityscape, and folk culture is kept alive in a variety of indoor and outdoor museums. Belgium holds several significant annual musical events, including the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition. Belgians have also taken American jazz and made it their own, with a thriving jazz scene and respected jazz festivals.

2. Belgian Cuisine

Belgian cuisine is revered around the world for its mouthwatering dishes that perfectly marry quality ingredients with rich flavours. Traditional Belgian dishes include Flemish Stew (Carbonnade à la flamande or Stoofvlees), Liege Waffles, and Belgian Fries (Frites). The country’s culinary landscape is also known for its seafood, particularly mussels, and a variety of cheeses such as Remedou, a Belgian hard cheese.

Aside from the famous Belgian dishes, there are also regional specialities that reflect the country’s strong culinary identity. These specialities are influenced by connections to various European countries and are rooted in historic recipes that have persisted for centuries. Some regional delicacies include Eel in the Green, Ham and Belgian Endive in the Oven, and Grey Shrimp with Tomatoes.

3. Learning the Language

While many Belgians speak English, learning the local languages can greatly enhance your experience as an expat. It not only helps you navigate daily life but also allows you to connect more deeply with the local community and culture. As an expat in Belgium, learning the local language can greatly enhance your experience. Belgium is a multilingual country with three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. The language you’ll need to focus on will depend on the region where you live.


If you’re in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region, learning Dutch will be essential for daily interactions, work, and socializing. In Wallonia, the French-speaking region, mastering French will be crucial. In the German-speaking community in the East, German is the primary language.


There are various resources available to expats to learn the local language. Language schools and courses are widely available, both in-person and online. Many municipalities offer integration courses specifically designed for newcomers, which often include language instruction. You can find more information about French courses here and for Dutch courses here.

Additionally, there are language exchange programs where expats can practice the local language with native speakers in exchange for helping them learn their language. This can be a great way to improve language skills while making new friends. Furthermore, immersing yourself in the local culture and daily life can greatly aid language acquisition. Watching local TV programs, listening to radio stations, and reading newspapers in the local language can all contribute to improving language skills.

Finally, don’t be afraid to practice speaking the local language, even if you make mistakes. Most locals appreciate the effort and will often be supportive and encouraging.

4. Embracing the Expat Community

Belgium is home to a thriving expat community, offering a network of support, social events, and cultural activities. Engaging with other expats can provide valuable insights, friendship, and a sense of belonging in your new home.

Embracing the Belgian expat community can be a rewarding experience. Whether you’re a newcomer or have been living in Belgium for some time, connecting with fellow expats can provide a sense of belonging and support. Here are some tips on how to embrace the Belgian expat community:

  1. Join Expat Groups: There are numerous expat groups and communities in Belgium, both online and offline. Websites like Expatica and InterNations offer platforms for expats to connect, share experiences, and find useful information about living in Belgium. Joining these groups can help you meet new people and build a network of friends.
  2. Attend Expat Events: Many cities in Belgium host regular expat events, such as meetups, cultural gatherings, and language exchange sessions. These events are great opportunities to socialize, learn from others, and immerse yourself in the local expat community.
  3. Volunteer and Get Involved: Volunteering for local organizations or participating in community activities can be a meaningful way to contribute to Belgian society while meeting new people. Whether it’s through charity work, sports clubs, or cultural associations, getting involved can help you integrate and make a positive impact.

By actively engaging with the Belgian expat community, you can create a supportive social network, gain valuable insights, and make the most of your expat experience in Belgium. Remember that every expat journey is unique, and embracing the community can lead to lasting friendships and a deeper connection to your new home.

5. Renting a Serviced, Furnished Apartment

One of the best ways for expats to settle into Belgium comfortably is by renting a serviced, furnished apartment. These apartments offer a hassle-free living experience, providing all the amenities and comforts of home without the need to purchase and transport furniture. Serviced apartments also offer flexibility in lease terms, making them ideal for expats who may have uncertain durations for their stay. Additionally, they often come with added services such as cleaning, maintenance, and utilities, allowing expats to focus on enjoying their time in Belgium without the stress of managing a household.

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5 Reasons to Choose Serviced Apartments for your Corporate Travel

Why Choose Furnished Apartments for Your Expat Stay in Belgium

When planning an expat stay in Belgium, one of the key decisions to make is choosing the right accommodation. While hotels may seem like the obvious choice, furnished apartments offer a range of benefits that make them a preferred option for many expats. Let’s explore the advantages of choosing furnished apartments for your expat stay in Belgium. From the convenience and cost-effectiveness to the comfort and flexibility they provide, furnished apartments offer a home away from home experience that is tailored to the needs of expats. Here are some of the main reasons why furnished apartments are the ideal choice for expats in Belgium.

A summary of reasons why serviced apartments are a better option than hotels.

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1. Convenience and Cost-effectiveness

One of the primary reasons to choose furnished apartments for your expat stay in Belgium is the convenience they offer. Unlike traditional apartments, furnished apartments come fully equipped with all the necessary furniture, appliances, and amenities. This means you don’t have to worry about purchasing or transporting furniture, kitchenware, or other household items. Everything is already provided, allowing you to settle in quickly and focus on other aspects of your expat journey.

Moreover, furnished apartments are often more cost-effective than hotels or unfurnished apartments. Hotels can be expensive, especially for long-term stays, and the costs can quickly add up. Furnished apartments, on the other hand, offer competitive rates and flexible lease options, making them a more affordable choice for expats. Additionally, you can save money on dining out by utilizing the fully equipped kitchen in your furnished apartment to prepare your own meals.

2. Comfort and Homeliness

Furnished apartments provide a level of comfort and homeliness that is unmatched by hotels. These apartments are designed to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, allowing you to feel at home during your expat stay in Belgium. The carefully selected furniture, tasteful decor, and personal touches create a warm and inviting ambience.

Unlike hotel rooms, furnished apartments offer separate living spaces, bedrooms, and sometimes even multiple bathrooms. This additional space provides privacy and allows you to relax and unwind after a long day of work or exploration. You can enjoy the comfort of a living room to watch your favourite shows, a fully furnished bedroom for a restful sleep, and a dining area to enjoy meals with friends or family.

3. Flexibility and Customization

Furnished apartments offer a high level of flexibility and customization to suit your specific needs. Whether you’re a solo expat, a couple, or a family, there are furnished apartments available in various sizes and configurations, ranging from studios to multi-bedroom apartments and even penthouses. This allows you to choose an apartment that accommodates your lifestyle and preferences.

Furthermore, furnished apartments offer flexibility in terms of lease duration. Unlike traditional rental agreements, which often require long-term commitments, furnished apartments can be rented for shorter periods, such as a few months or even weeks if you’re staying outside of Brussels. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for expats who may have uncertain or changing plans.

In addition to the flexibility in lease duration, furnished apartments also provide the opportunity to customize your living space. While the apartments come fully furnished, you can still add personal touches to make it feel more like your own. Whether it’s hanging artwork, adding decorative items, or rearranging furniture, you have the freedom to create a space that reflects your style and personality.

4. Amenities and Services

Furnished apartments in Belgium often come with a range of amenities and services that enhance your expat experience. These can include access to fitness centres, swimming pools, laundry facilities, parking spaces, and 24/7 security. Some furnished apartment buildings also offer additional services such as housekeeping, concierge services, and maintenance support. These amenities and services provide convenience and peace of mind, ensuring that your stay in Belgium is comfortable and hassle-free.

5. ASAP verified apartments

In addition to the benefits of choosing furnished apartments for your expat stay in Belgium, it is highly recommended to look for ASAP (Association of Serviced Apartment Providers) verified apartments. ASAP is a globally recognized accreditation body that ensures the highest standards of quality, safety, and professionalism in the serviced apartment industry. By choosing an ASAP-verified apartment, you can have peace of mind knowing that the accommodation meets strict criteria for cleanliness, security, and customer service. These apartments undergo regular inspections and adhere to industry best practices, providing you with a reliable and trustworthy option for your expat stay in Belgium. Look for the ASAP logo when searching for furnished apartments to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free experience.


Choosing furnished apartments for your expat stay in Belgium offers numerous advantages. From the convenience and cost-effectiveness to the comfort and flexibility they provide, furnished apartments offer a home away from home experience that is tailored to the needs of expats. The fully equipped apartments, along with the additional space, create a comfortable and homely environment. The flexibility in lease duration and the opportunity to customize your living space add to the appeal of furnished apartments. Moreover, the amenities and services offered by many furnished apartment buildings enhance the expat experience. Whether you’re staying in Belgium for a few months or a few years, furnished apartments provide the ideal accommodation solution for expats seeking comfort, convenience, and a sense of home in this vibrant country.

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