As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. The same goes with computer monitors. It’s surprising how often we walk into an office space and only see single monitors at people’s desks. Dual monitors are the most inexpensive way you can immediately increase you and your employees’ productivity.
Tech savvy people have been taking advantage of dual monitors for years. Once you add second monitor it will be difficult to imagine how you ever worked with just one. It’s a fairly easy change as well. Most computers, including laptops, have the capacity to utilize dual monitors. No extra software is required. The settings are handled by the same controls as you would find on your single monitor.
There are a number of multi-tasking benefits for the average user:
- Research a topic on the web with one screen while writing about it on the other.
- Two spreadsheets! Enough said, if you have ever tried to do this with one monitor.
- Email running on one monitor and your ERP or CRM on the other.
- Business Intelligence dashboard on the left and your current task on the right.
I could give you more examples but I think you can see the potential.
What you may not realize is how much time is wasted using only one monitor.
Just stand behind a busy administrative assistant and watch them struggle with one monitor. Want to make their day? Give them another monitor.
Start with two monitors – especially if real estate is at a premium. Test drive having two first, but three is optimum. If you opt for three monitors, place the larger one in the center and the other two on each side. Beyond three you have a diminishing return.
Here is why three is the most optimal: visualize your physical desk/work area. The center monitor, that’s like your work surface. Below your center monitor, you have your keyboard. To your right or left there are probably some papers that you have for reference. We have been trained this way ever since we were in school, and it’s a natural way for us to work: left is reference and right is reference. But in the digital world real estate is used up by programs, leaving no space for reference materials. Every time you have to touch your mouse and move things around you are wasting time. Keeping important documents up on a monitor in front of you at all times (i.e. secondary and tertiary monitors) improves efficiency.
These days every minute you spend at your desk matters. All those mouse clicks, and drags, and resizing add up to a lot of seconds every day. If you can get back an hour a week because you are more efficient, what’s that worth to you?