5 Must-haves for a Home Office

The dog is optional, but there are five things you really should have in your home office. See more pictures of home office decor.
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So you get up on Monday morning, shower and head out to the garage for the ubiquitous morning commute, right? Well, maybe not. According to a 2007 benefits survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management, 56 percent of U.S. companies offer some type of telecommuting program. That means that you may be headed down the hall to start your workday, instead of down the interstate [source: Reuters].

The widespread availability of computers and high-speed Internet access may have contributed to your change in work venue, or it could be the result, in part, to fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, which started a national dialogue about the strategic advantages of a less centralized workforce. If the work you do allows you to dial in, e-mail, teleconference or instant message your efforts to your employer, you may be sitting in your fuzzy slippers right now, eating a toaster pastry and wondering how long it's going to take to slog through your inbox.

While you're waiting for your latest file attachment to load, think about your workspace for a second. Do you have everything you need? If you don't, what would you run out and pick up if you could? Your work area may be a dedicated home office or a TV tray in a corner of the dining room, but wherever your virtual cubby happens to be, there are some must-haves that will make it more functional, efficient and comfortable.

On the next few pages, we'll look at five essentials for working from your home. First up, space.