Relocating For Your Job During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy nationwide, leaving many unemployed or furloughed — even those in senior positions. Efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak meant a large part of the country were mandated to shelter at home, essentially bringing business to a halt.
But there are pockets in the country where the economy isn’t as affected. Some companies are even recruiting, but you’ll probably have to relocate to a new city or state. Moving to a new area is stressful enough without a pandemic, especially if your relocation is to a major city where the virus tends to spread faster. How can you make relocating for your job during COVID-19 safer and smoother?
Depending on where you will be moving for work and if possible, you may want to transition slower than you normally would. For example, every week you delay your move to a New York City, a COVID-19 hotspot, the better your chances of avoiding the impact of the outbreak.
You may have no choice but to move slowly. Travel remains tenuous with the coronavirus, and the situation can change from day-to-day. Moving companies may be understaffed, causing delays in the process.
Speak with your manager or human resources contact about their expectations and timeline. It’s likely they have a good understanding of the challenges and delays at this time. Perhaps you can work out an extension with your new employer and work remotely to train and transition into your new position while you pack and prepare to move.
Buying yourself some time eases the pressure of a move so you can work out your housing options and make sure that your relocation is safe for yourself and the people moving you.
Preview Your Housing Options
Before coronavirus, you probably would have flown to your new city to check out your office space and get a feel for the metropolis. You might have gone around with a realtor to look at apartments to rent or houses to buy. But with the shelter in place mandate, travel is more difficult. Not to mention, riskier. Getting sick with COVID-19 and having to quarantine can take you out of commission for more than a month. It’s best to stay healthy if you’ve just been hired and preview your housing options from the safety of your home.
You can do a lot of your relocation research online. Look into your new work location and what nearby neighborhoods may suit your needs. There are Facebook groups you can join to get opinions from locals or you can Google for information from blogs or the local Chamber of Commerce.
Once you have an idea of what neighborhood you like, do some research about the types of housing available. Weigh the pros and cons of whether apartment living or a new home fits your lifestyle and budget. After all, your home is your sanctuary, especially now in the time of COVID-19. If you don’t have a home base you feel comfortable in, the transition from your old life to your new one may prove to be more difficult.
Know Your Legal Rights
The home search in a new city may be challenging. Especially if you have kids with disabilities or live with an emotional support animal. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits a landlord or lender from discriminating against race, religion, gender, family status, religion, or disability. Understanding your rights is crucial in making sure you are being treated fairly.
An emotional support animal may be misunderstood by many landlords. You are allowed to search for a home advertised as a no-pets rental because an ESA is not strictly considered a pet — but it’s not a service animal, either. That still does not mean a landlord can refuse you the right to your ESA.
Be sure you disclose information and supporting medical documentation showing your need for an ESA to a prospective landlord. They cannot charge you pet fees or refuse an emotional support animal. If you run into trouble with a particular landlord, you can file a discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Social Media Is Your Best Friend
It’s possible you found your job through social media. Many jobs, such as hospital and nursing, have turned to social media to recruit talent. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites are a valuable source of information for networking, work, and relocation.
Besides joining city groups to get insider advice on your new location, look into the company’s social media pages to learn more about the workplace culture. It may help you with a smoother transition into your new environment. You may be able to connect with work colleagues in advance and get a better understanding of how other employees (and the company as a whole) interact.
Relocating was stressful enough before the coronavirus crisis. The challenge of relocating for your job during covid-19, when most of the services you need may not be running at full speed makes things more complicated. But with a little adaptation and the help of the internet, you can make your move a positive experience.
This guest post was authored by Magnolia Potter
Magnolia Potter is a blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She loves writing on a variety of topics from technology to lifestyle. When she isn’t writing you can find her traveling far and wide or reading a good book.