Back in 2020, my previous job — like so many others during the COVID pandemic — went fully remote. At the office, I’d had an assigned cubicle with an expansive three-monitor computer setup. At home, however, I suddenly found myself sitting in an uncomfortable kitchen chair with all my equipment crammed onto the tiny, rickety desk in the corner of my bedroom.
The line between work life and personal life rapidly blurred. To top it off, I was also trying to land more freelance writing gigs, in the hope of turning my side hustle into a small business.
If you're wondering what you need to work from home, don’t do what I did and cram all of your hardware onto a wobbly desk. I’m here to help you learn from my mistakes. Here is some of the best home-based business advice I have for comfort, productivity, and staying sane.
Ergonomics are important. Running a small business from home can mean sitting in one spot all day, which can take a physical toll on anyone. Now imagine if that spot is a stiff swivel stool at your kitchen island. This might work for brunch, but working for hours requires more appropriate seating. A comfortable chair and desk setup designated for your home-based business can be beneficial in the long run.
Don’t like sitting? Consider a standing desk converter. It will allow you to switch from sitting to standing without interrupting your work flow. If you’re tight on space and can’t accommodate a standard desk, look for a lap desk or laptop tray. These can help turn a couch or bed into the ideal workstation.
When you start your own business at home, it’s not uncommon for home offices to get relegated to dark corners of the home. Unfortunately, this can make for a pretty unpleasant work environment. Instead, make lighting your workstation a priority. Find a spot with natural lighting. It will help keep you energized throughout the day and could even improve your mood.
If natural lighting isn’t an option, make sure you find the right lighting fixtures for your situation. If your small business requires a lot of video conferencing, consider a ring lighting system so you look your best on camera. If you want something easier on the eyes, an LED desk lamp might be a good option.
Offices are full of distractions. But running a business from home comes with plenty of its own. One common distraction is noise, particularly for business owners with families or pets. Make sure your workspace is set away from bustling, high-traffic areas. If you’re working in tight quarters, consider getting some noise-canceling headphones. Keep any TVs or radios off within your earshot.
Noises aren’t the only distractions you’ll face while operating your home-based business. Starting your own business from home often means the boundaries between personal and professional break down. Working remotely leaves you surrounded by lots of personal responsibilities. Dishes, laundry, a messy living room — you name it. It can be difficult to focus on work with all these chores and tasks looming over you.
Try to develop a routine. Managing your time and keeping your work separate from your homelife can be game changers for home-based business owners. Decide when you’d like to complete your chores around the house, and build them into your schedule so they don’t interfere with your work.
What equipment is needed to work from home will vary, depending on what type of business you’re running. Once you start working from home, your equipment needs will likely become apparent organically. If you find yourself saying you wish you had something as part of your workstation, that's probably your sign to stop wishing and make it a reality.
Obviously you can’t have every time- or effort-saving piece of hardware. Business owners have budgets to consider, and your home office can only hold so much. But if you spend a lot of time on calls, a headset could free up your hands and save you a bit of hassle. If your work involves a lot of spreadsheets, you might want to consider getting a second monitor — or a bigger one — so you can see everything at once and easily compare information without toggling through tabs.
Think about what your daily work entails. If there are gadgets or tools that could make it run more smoothly without breaking the bank, don’t hesitate to get them. Consider them an investment! Not only can this help your business run efficiently — it also can preserve your sanity and make your work more manageable.
Starting a business from home involves more than just the work you do. It’s not as simple as sitting down and putting in your 9-to-5. There are logistics to consider, including insurance.
Did you know that most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover home-based business operations? Having the appropriate business insurance is the best way to make sure your home business is protected. Home-based business insurance options — such as general liability and professional liability — will typically help in the event of unexpected injuries, damages, and alleged negligence.
Not sure if home-based business insurance is right for you? Don’t worry. Simply Business® makes it easy to search coverage options from leading carriers and will let you know which policies are recommended for your industry. Try our online quote tool. It’s free and will have a quote ready for you in minutes, at any time of the day. Make sure your hard work is protected, wherever it goes.
What you need to start a small business from home will depend largely on what your work entails. Creating your ideal home office setup will inevitably require some trial and error. If you’ve never worked from home, the transition to remote work will likely take some adjustment. So take it one step at a time, and address problems as they crop up. Figure out what’s working — and what isn’t — and go from there. Once you find your groove, you’re home-free.
After several years of working in insurance while also freelance writing, I've finally found where the two interests intersect. I'm a writer with Simply Business with an insurance processing background and a love of research.
Kristin writes on a number of topics such as small business trends, license reciprocity, and BOP insurance.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
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