Do Two Monitors Really Increase Productivity?

Written By: Anthony Reyes

Updated: July 05, 2022

When you see individuals with two monitors, you may assume they perform specialized work like data analytics or programming that necessitates all that screen real estate; However, having the additional display space that a second screen offers can benefit anyone, regardless of whether you’re doing accounting or document work all day. We often become accustomed to being limited by the screen size we have, leading to difficulties when trying to fit two windows side-by-side or constantly switching between layers of windows on the desktop. Many of us have experienced the frustration of clicking through multiple windows to find the one we need in a sea of different applications- Just yesterday I myself was in a meeting with a client and couldn’t find a specific spreadsheet buried somewhere under all my windows! Think how much time is wasted during the day: using more than one screen can eliminate this dead time. A study by software developer Mavenlink found that 73% of surveyed businesses reported spending over an hour per day on average just switching between different apps. That may sound ludicrous but stop to think how many word docs, spreadsheets, browser tabs, etc. you have open at any given time.

Some time can be saved using pro techie tricks like ALT+TAB to rapidly switch windows, or using snap to put multiple windows on a single monitor- but then you sacrifice the full viewable area of the program you’re looking at. Not all users are comfortable with this (or know how to use these features properly). A multi monitor solution is a very low tech way to resolve this:

PRODUCTIVITY RESEARCH ON DUAL-SCREENS

Just how much can using a second monitor improve productivity? The answer is probably more than you think. Jon Peddie Research has studied the benefits of using two screens connected to a desktop computer or laptop for several years. They found that overall, employees in all types of jobs can improve productivity by an average of 42%. From three studies conducted over 15 years, they also found that between 2002 and 2017, there has been a significant increase in the use of two monitors, with a compound annual growth rate of 10%. The company’s founder simply stated, “The more you can see, the more you can do.”

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF ADDING A 2ND SCREEN?

DO MORE IN LESS TIME

The most significant advantage to using a second monitor is that you can accomplish more in less time because you’re not struggling to access the windows you need when you need them. With an additional monitor, you can keep programs like email always open on one screen while working in other programs on the second screen. This allows you to work more smoothly, easily accessing all your apps when necessary, and avoid your boss stopping at your desk on the way for coffee saying “Did you see that email I sent an hour ago”.

EXPANDS SCREEN SPACE FOR LAPTOPS

Laptops are great for portability, particularly when traveling or moving between home and work (as many employees do these days). However, the more portable the laptop, the smaller the screen space. We love using laptops- the entire team at Ikigai One is mobile, but that problem I was having yesterday was because I was using a laptop. If you’re using laptops it can often be difficult to position them comfortably on a desk. When using them on a desk, people will often prop them up, but the person is still staring down at the screen in most cases. Connecting your laptop to a monitor can significantly improve the experience and make it like working on a normal desktop PC. You can either choose to mirror your entire screen or still make use of the laptop screen for some activities while using the larger screen for others.

SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISONS ARE EASIER

There are many tasks that require looking at data in two windows. For example, editing and comparing a finished design with the original instructions or pulling details from notes to include in a PowerPoint presentation. Trying to view two windows on a single screen side-by-side can be frustrating. You may try to resize the windows just so, only to have your configuration lost when you have to maximize a screen to click a menu item or scroll. With two monitors, you have the screen real estate you need to fully open both windows and have them right next to each other for easy comparison.

MORE FREEDOM DURING VIDEO CALLS

During video calls, using dual screens can give you more freedom. Have you ever been screen sharing and needed to check an email or review notes? It can be difficult to do that when others can see your screen. Often, we “sanitize” our screens (like turning off notifications, hiding sensitive data, etc.) before going into a meeting to ensure nothing is going to distract someone. We had a client- a doctors office in New Jersey who needed to be HIPPA compliant but couldn’t close out of all patient information and software during a meeting as they needed to refer to other information within the documents and programs; you may also need to hide sensitive information white still referring to other information in the same program or file; 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. This is a big advantage if you need to check for important information during a call, without anyone else being aware of it.

AN AFFORDABLE WAY TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY

Adding an additional display is a relatively low-cost investment when it comes to technology. Monitors can typically be purchased for anywhere between $125 to $250 on average. And with an average productivity increase of 42%, it can provide a substantial return on investment. There is also no steep learning curve with this upgrade. Once the monitor is connected and the computer is set to recognize the additional screen, it’s ready to go. Users can simply move apps and documents from one screen to another as if they had one large screen.

NEED HELP IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY?

There are numerous ways to improve your team’s efficiency and get massive ROIs out of your technology. Whether it’s increased productivity or the need to adhere to compliance regulations Ikigai One can help your business achieve its goals. We have teams of experts (with dual monitors) based in New Jersey, Maryland, and Texas available 24×7 366 days a year to help your business!