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What should you have in your home office?

More and more people are working, at least part of the time, not in a conventional office setting. Telecommuting options are available for increasing numbers of employees, as communication technology allows us to complete tasks and collaborate with our coworkers without having to be physically present in the same space. Many people are choosing to work from home and are converting spaces inside their houses into home offices.

You might have a whole room that can be a dedicated office, or you might have to find a corner in your living room, bedroom or den. It often helps to have some physical barrier that designates the boundaries of your "office," such as a screen, a plant or the arrangement of furniture. Organize your area to make the best use of the available space: Stack equipment when possible, use filing cabinets or drawers, and utilize wall space.

There are three or four basic items that you probably need in your home office that will allow you to work comfortably, safely and efficiently. A good chair, preferably ergonomically designed, is an office essential. It should be comfortable, sturdy and supportive -- remember that you're likely to be more productive when you can sit comfortably. Your computer is your main tool for writing, designing, researching and much more. In addition, more and more communication is done via computer, whether via email, chat or live video. A printer is necessary in most offices, despite all attempts to limit paper consumption. It may be more efficient for you to have an all-in-one printer that also functions as a scanner, fax and copier. You can choose between ink-jet and laser printers in a variety of price ranges to suit your needs. If any of the documentation you deal with is proprietary or sensitive, you may well need a paper shredder to ensure information security. Be sure to choose one that can deal with the quantity of paper you need to shred.

Now your home office is well supplied with what you need; all that remains is to get that cup of coffee and get busy.