Productivity Boost Using Three Screens Per Worker

I’m mulling about my monitor.  I was reading an article at online.wsj.com/articles/talking_tech about a research study done by Microsoft’s Center for Information Work, which looks at the way office workers use computers.  They found that with three monitors per worker, productivity jumped NINE PERCENT.  That’s unreal.  Nine percent might not seem like a lot to you, but it’s getting to the point where it’s really hard to squeeze a few extra productivity points out of workers, so that’s a very large amount.  When you look at the stock market trading floor, you see multiple monitors everywhere—that group has already realized it’s required to see all that information.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have three monitors, but I’m seriously considering adding a second.  It seems like I need one computer for communications and one for work.  I usually have at least five applications/documents going at once, and I’m having to constantly switch between them.  I could use one to monitor my calendar/email/IM/blogs and one for my customer database, Word, PowerPoint, etc.  Hmmm…as long as I had the ability to turn off one monitor…it would prevent "multi-tasking" when I’m trying to concentrate on a document.  Windows XP supports using multiple monitors and has the Dualview feature built in. Dualview lets you add a separate monitor to your laptop and view different programs on each display, so I know it could be done.

I’m curious to hear from any of you who have two monitors.  What’s been your experience?

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Comments

  1. Dual monitors are hands down the best tech investment I’ve ever made in my agency. For approximately $400 per computer, I was able to get a second flat screen monitor and video card.

    When I was making the decision to add them, I read statistics that show a 30% improvement on productivity with dual monitors.

    I added a third monitor about a year ago & absolutely could not live without it. Having my email on one window, my customer information in the center window, and my third party softwares (Word, Excel, etc) on the third window is wonderful. No more toggling back and forth between windows. It’s great!

  2. I have just changed positions, and in moving into the new office specifically asked for two monitors. I love it! I sat down to put together a PowerPoint presentation consisting of screen shots from a particular website. I have the website up on one monitor and the PowerPoint presentation on the other. I was basically simply moving the mouse back and forth across the screens to copy from one screen and print to the other screen. For those of us that like to get as much info digital as we can, the second monitor is wonderful! I talk about this point and several others aspects of the office move on my blog.
    Frank
    frankbuck.blogspot.com

  3. When I remodeled my home office in December I upgraded my computer and got two monitors for it. Wow! What a difference it makes in productivity! Using a computer with a single monitor is like working on a small 18″ square desk. I can do it, but I notice more now how awkward it is and how much more time I spend ALT-TABing between windows and looking for the window that has what I need.

    I also use a Tablet PC and when I dock it I have another monitor right beside it in extended mode. On days I get to telecommute I dock it beside my other desktop so I actually have 2 dual-monitor computers side-by-side.

    At my day job, I also have a testing desktop with a single monitor. That monitor is right beside my Tablet PCs extended monitor. I use the free Synergy software KVM switch so that I can just move my mouse over to that monitor. Even though it’s a totally separate computer I can copy/paste between them and seemlessly move my mouse between them like it was just one computer with three monitors. If you already have 2 computers, Synergy is a great way to test how having 2 monitors will increase your productivity without making any more financial investment.

  4. I work with two pcs and can switch between them……It is a must and time saving if you have to document a procedure/application or support two different versions of an application. With one you can go thru the steps and the other you can document without having to switch back and forth. This allow you to see both screens at the same time. Less confusing, lessens the opportunity of closing a document without saving it.

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