You’ve probably been in an office where nearly every employee has multiple monitors. And you may be wondering why they need so many monitors. Is it worth it for your company to get additional monitors?
Benefits of Multiple Monitors:
- Increased Productivity – Whether switching between programs, copying & pasting items, or comparing two elements, it is more efficient with more than one monitor and you can do the task without losing focus. Also, having an additional monitor can give you a dedicated communication screen for things like email, Slack, Twitter, or dashboards.
- Improved Ergonomics - Phyllis King, associate director of the Center for Ergonomics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Health Sciences, said in a recent interview, “Studies have shown increased productivity from using dual monitors. A byproduct of that is more comfort, a better workload and a higher level of satisfaction and feeling of support in the workplace.” While laptops and tablets are used on the go, many workers use them as replacements for a traditional desk station, which isn’t necessarily good for workers. “If you are working on a laptop for any length of time, I highly suggest a more dedicated workstation,” Dr. King says. “You should get an external keyboard, an external mouse and put the laptop on a stand so it raises the monitor to eye level.” In addition, a large dual-screen setup can provide the optimum level of ergonomics. (Source: https://insights.samsung.com/2015/08/20/second-screens-the-benefits-of-multiple-monitors-case-study/)
Disadvantages of Multiple Monitors
- Additional Distractions Having Multiple Monitors - True, but studies (see below) have proved the efficiency outweighs the negative aspects of the distractions. Additionally, some studies find these micro distractions make people more productive (e.g. iWatch) because you can quickly see something that is not urgent and ignore it, compared to removing phone from your pocket or purse.
- Unable to Add Second Monitor to Computer – That may be true for some older laptops. However, a good IT firm can ensure this is always an option and should suggest multiple monitors, even to laptops. Some laptops can display 3 monitors (or 2 monitors and the display itself).
- Additional Cost of Additional Monitors – This cost needs to be factored in when deciding if you should invest in additional hardware, but this is a minimal argument since a good 22” monitor cost less than $200.
Research of Utilizing Multiple Monitors
The productivity of employees using multiple monitors has been studied multiple times with all positive results.
- A research paper from Microsoft estimates organizations see a minimal 9% improvement on productivity related to general computer tasks when going from a small, single monitor display to a larger, multiple monitor display.
- ATI Technologies estimates an average productivity gain as much as 20-30% when working with multiple monitors.
- Jon Peddie Research found an employee’s productivity increases an average of 42% when using multiple displays.
- A study conducted by the University of Utah and NEC found 10% increases in productivity and 20% reduction in errors (plus reduced stress) when test workers used multiple monitors.
Note that our article and the research cites workers using multiple monitors, not just dual monitors. Many of our team members use 3-4 monitors as seen in the picture on the right.
To calculate your company’s potential savings using multiple monitors, try out this simple formula:
$40,000 (average annual salary) X 10% (improved productivity) = $4,000 - $300 for a second monitor = $3,700
Multiply that number by your employee count to get your annual savings.
For 20 employees, that is a $74,000 savings annually!
That number is the lowest savings based on the research and does not include the reduction of errors and reduced stress of employees using multiple monitors.
A good IT firm should bring ideas to you to improve efficiency and productivity at your company, like using multiple monitors. Also, your IT support team can ensure your computers can manage two or more monitors.