I've just started using Upwork and have come across something I think might be an issue? I sent an offer to a freelancer earlier and selected the 8th, which is today in Sydney, as the start date. The freelancer accepted and went to begin work on the project but he had some issues with starting.
After some discussions with Joe M from support I found out that the Upwork system runs in the UTC timezone. This means the system was registering the date as the 7th, and Joe told us we had to wait until the time ticked over to begin.
I'm suggesting a "Start Right Away" option for the start date or something similar which will allow project to start asap.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. The difference in time zones may delay the project and I understand that it shouldn't happen. I'll share your feedback with the Team.