How can I get my start date moved remotely because of COVID?

I accepted a job offer right before the COVID-19 crisis. My start date was supposed to be April 17th, 2020, but the company informed me that they will not onboard or start any new employees until we can return to working in the office. I live in NYC and I’m worried that the stay-at-home order will continue through the fall. How can I request to start remotely? Or should I continue my full-time job search?

You can definitely reach out to the recruiter to explain your situation and request that you start remotely. Sometimes it is out of their hands, but it is important to be proactive in situations like this. I would also recommend that you continue your job search. There are many companies still hiring and onboarding new team members remotely, so it is good to keep your options open.

Here is an email template you can use to reach out to the recruiter:

Hi [name],

Hope this message finds you well and that you are staying healthy. I wanted to thank you for how communicative you have been throughout this process. I know there are many things that are out of our control right now, especially in regards to onboarding new team members, and I appreciate your transparency.

When I accepted my offer a few weeks ago, we discussed an April 17th start-date. After the stay-at-home ordinance, though, you mentioned that onboarding would be put on hold until it is safe to return to in-person work. But, with the extension of social distancing as well as the severity of COVID-19 cases in NYC, it seems highly likely that offices will remain closed for quite a while.

Given these updates, I wanted to reach out to see if there could be any flexibility for me to start working remotely. I understand remote onboarding can be difficult, but I am really excited to hit the ground running with the team.

In my prior roles, I’ve had a lot of experience working remotely both independently and in collaboration with others. I am more than happy to be as flexible as possible until I am able to begin in the office.

Please let me know your thoughts on this! Once again, I’m very excited to begin working and hope to do so soon.

[your name]

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