In the process, what is often overlooked is the computer hardware within the business. Given the reliance on these devices for staff in their daily work, the possibility for increased productivity with regular upgrades should be a top consideration.
The addition of extra monitors is one of the simplest and least expensive hardware upgrades a business can make to deliver real productivity and ergonomic benefits.
Thanks to the increasing affordability and decreasing bulkiness of high-resolution displays, two, three or more screens have been taking over the desks of people, both at work and at home.
Combined with the increased power of the latest generation of PCs, people are reimagining how to maximize their computer experience to be more effective and more efficient at whatever they do.
Connecting and expanding
Most PC hardware can support more than one monitor. Monitor technology has improved over the years with various hardware connectivity formats, but most modern displays support at least one HDMI or Display Port input. Adaptors are available for older devices, so getting hooked up is usually not a problem.
There is no extra software required to run a second monitor given that your operating system will usually be able to support them.
Once connected, multiple displays enable the extension of your visual workspace. Moving the cursor or windows from one to the other is like spreading the work across one big desktop. Detailed tasks become much easier.
The Benefits of Adding Another Screen
So why exactly is all this extra space better? Let’s look at these in more detail:
Studies* have demonstrated some of these productivity boosts as an increase of around 9% and up to 50%, especially when focussed on specific tasks such as copying and pasting.
In one study, participants were instructed to use PC monitors of varying sizes to complete basic editing and spreadsheet tasks with one, two and three screens. The results showed that using more than one screen can save people about 10 seconds for every five minutes on basic editing tasks alone. Not only did participants complete work more quickly, they made fewer errors than when doing the same work on a single monitor.
Ten seconds for every five minutes may seem insignificant, but when you add those seconds up to 40 minutes a week and 35 hours a year, then factor in the number of employees in any given company, it adds up.
The research results generally demonstrate that dual monitor configurations save time and increase accuracy among workers. They also indicate, based on comments from participants, that workers prefer dual-monitor setups over single screens.
One of the most obvious benefits of having more screen space is the ability to cross reference information between documents efficiently. Instead of opening and closing documents, or squeezing split windows into one screen for side-by-side comparisons, multiple documents can be displayed in workable and visually comfortable sizes for comparison.
Most desktop based worker roles require some level of document or data comparison, so this is a benefit of dual monitor systems across all industries.
Most people work with multiple applications concurrently as part of their daily work. With additional monitors, each application can be in full view rather than minimised or hidden. Examples include:
- Cutting and pasting information – no need to switch between tabs or programs, you can cut and paste between documents much more quickly and easily.
- Video editing and 3D Design – two monitors are almost essential for these tasks. For example, you can have two video clips or manipulate components and see the editor software side by side in each window.
- Programming – Dual screens allow you to view, reference and work with extremely long code much more easily.
- Collaboration and communication – Multiple screens allow you to keep your video conferencing application open in one monitor as you keep work files open in the other. A second screen could be used for screen-sharing with colleagues working together.
Notebooks, tablets and other mobile devices play a critical role in many businesses. Adding a monitor can complement these devices well, simply with the addition of a docking station or plugging in the notebook with the right connector. This allows staff versatility to transition between on-the-road or client-site work to their desk in the office.
Not only does this allow staff to take full advantage of having a complete, full size workstation and a mobile device in one – the business saves by reducing hardware costs required for each employee.
Research has shown that peripherals such as a full size second screen can be beneficial for ergonomics at work. The improvement in posture, reduction in eye strain, and enhanced general comfort levels for staff members translates to better productivity and satisfaction.
It’s important when setting up an additional monitor to take the time to ensure you or your employees are adjusting their monitors to the right height and placement, to keep Occupational Health and Safety guidelines.
Qbit can quote and supply a wide range of hardware to complement your business’ workstation environments. Contact us on (08) 6364 0600 or visit our website to take advantage of current specials.
“Dell Multi-Screen Productivity Study,” conducted by the Software Usability Research Laboratory of Wichita State University (2011, commissioned by Dell)
“Lightweight Task/Application Performance using Single versus Multiple Monitors: A Comparative Study,” conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology (2008)
“Monitor Size and Aspect Ratio Productivity Research,” conducted by the University of Utah (2008, commissioned by NEC)