Sometimes as my brain switches back and forth repeatedly between my two monitors and focus becomes more difficult, I wonder if I’m really more productive with the second monitor.
Common sense says we would be with a second screen to avoid time lost to switching back and forth between applications using the Task Bar or minimizing and maximizing screens.
But with so many windows open in so many applications, does a second screen actually improve productivity or does it just provide a second place for open files and windows to hide from us?
This Issue Has Been Studied …
As you might expect, someone has studied this phenomenon to determine if and how much a second monitor improves the typical employee’s productivity.
Jon Peddie Research looked at using two screens on a desktop computer or laptop for several years. It found that overall, employees in all types of jobs improved productivity by an average of 42%.
Perhaps intuitively understanding that, companies increased their use of second monitors by an annual compound growth rate of 10 percent from 2002-2017, the study found.
The company’s namesake put it simply, saying “The more you can see, the more you can do.”
What Can Using 2 Screens Do For You?
- A second monitor allows you to do more in less time because you can keep programs that need to be open all of the time, like email, always open on one screen while you work in other programs on the second screen.
- Side by Side comparisons of data or files or images is also easier. Trying to get two windows up on a single screen side-by-side can be frustrating with time spent resizing the windows to get them to fit side-by-side on a single screen. With two monitors, you can fully open both windows in plain view
- During online meetings or video calls, a second screen allows you to continue the meeting as you check email or review notes without minimizing the meeting window. With dual screens, you can choose which screen you want to share during meetings and still have apps open on the other screen that no one can see.
- Laptops are great for portability but not so much for screen space. Connecting your laptop to a monitor can make it like working on a normal desktop PC. You can mirror your screen or make use of the laptop screen for some activities while using the larger screen for others.
- A second monitor is a relatively low-cost productivity booster with a sweet ROI. A monitor can typically be purchased from $125 to $250 and for that your employees get a 42% average productivity increase with no significant learning curve.