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More Screens, More Productivity

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Looking to increase workplace productivity but don’t have the ability to invest in new equipment or expensive training programs? Perhaps adding an additional display to your desktop will help.

Here at AccelaWork, we pride ourselves on investing in our productivity. But, like so many small businesses, our goal is to maximize our resources rather than extend our budget. So, why not try to develop productive workflow through alternative solutions before taking the leap toward expenses that may prove unnecessary? Robby Slaughter, a principal of AccelaWork, writes about this very topic in a guest post on the Entrepreneurship Advancement Center blog. In his post (republished on Inside Indiana Business), More Screens, More Productivity, Slaughter encourages readers to consider that adding a second display screen to their workstation could increase productivity by twenty percent.

Much of what we do when we’re creating, editing, reviewing, or composing on the computer requires looking at source material for inspiration or facts. In a one-screen environment, you must constantly switch between the two applications. Although it only takes a few seconds to do so, the mental fatigue from constant swapping builds up over time. Adding a display allows you to glance in the right direction to retrieve the needed information.

An additional screen also gives you more real estate for complex work. A spreadsheet can be made twice as wide. A graphic design can be spread across multiple viewports to highlight additional detail. Technical users—whether creating websites, software applications, or audiovisual media—can see the source on one screen and the results on another. Two screens are better than one.

display screen

© Flickr user neofob

While two screens may sound overwhelming, they’re truly the fashion nowadays. Slaughter writes, “from programmers to accountants to stock traders, multiple monitors are everywhere.” And despite the potential worry that multiple screens will encroach upon an already crowded desk, relinquishing a bit more of that real estate is certainly worth a try. In fact, Slaughter references several studies that conclude two screens are better than one.

The studies highlight some findings that appear rather obvious on the surface. Nevertheless, it’s always helpful to have solid research to support our suppositions, particularly when it comes to how to allocate resources to improve productivity. The studies noted:

  • Users are working in multiple windows all the time. That’s just a natural occurrence in the digital workplace. That isolates the issue to finding out how to most efficiently present and toggle between those open windows.
  • Because of limited screen real estate, users working from a single monitor spent more time (as measured by mouse clicks and keystrokes) arranging the windows, whether that was toggling between multiple tabs or overlapping or minimizing multiple windows.
  • Bigger and more are indeed better. Given four configurations of 22″ and 17″ monitors (single and double), users predictably preferred using dual 22″ monitors the most. Also not surprisingly, the users least preferred using the single 17″ monitor. The message is clear: the more real screen real estate available, the better the user experience and greater sense of satisfaction.

It’s that last point that is perhaps the key takeaway. As we at AccelaWork have pointed out many times, employee satisfaction is a major key to increasing productivity. If that can be achieved through the relatively inexpensive option of purchasing additional computer monitors, businesses could go a long way on one dime toward increasing their overall efficiency. So, before you go investing in expensive solutions for increased productivity, take a chance by adding a second display. You’ll be happy you did.

For more productivity tips and ways to improve workflow in your office, consider reaching out to us for more information.

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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