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How multiple monitors can boost productivity

How multiple monitors an boost productivity
(Image credit: Future)

Maintaining a healthy work environment where you live has become a priority for many of us this year. For those who are not tech-savvy, deciding on the products that will best fit your needs and create the most productive space can be overwhelming.

According to a 2020 Forrester report on ‘How to Optimize Your Hybrid Workforce’, 80% of users believe that a larger display monitor would positively affect their work performance. It’s no surprise that the desktop monitor for the home office has been such a trend this year, so I want to explore how using a desktop monitor can positively impact your workday.

Productivity powerhouse

For corridor workers or on-the-go-pros (we’re talking pre-2020, of course), the portability of a laptop is essential. But of the considerable proportion of the country that made the switch to a home working environment, many have come to discover the potential downside of that once coveted portability; limited usable screen space. Enter the desktop monitor.

A multi-screen productivity study conducted by Wichita State University and commissioned by Dell Technologies found that participants were able to complete jobs quicker and more accurately when pairing a laptop with a desktop monitor as opposed to using a monitor alone. One simple reason is the reduced need to switch windows: dual monitor users switch windows 15% less frequently than single monitor users. 15% might not sound like much but think of it this way: saving even five minutes per task can give you close to an hour back every day. And in a world where our home and work lives are becoming increasingly blurred, that hour could make the difference between balance and burnout.

The latest range of monitors also features extensive connectivity options like USB-C, enabling a monitor to deliver stable Ethernet 1 and power, effectively operating as a productivity hub. And with the choice of a single cable for audio, video and charging, users can experience a clutter-free desk space at home. The adverse effects of clutter on our cognition, emotion, mental health, behavior, and decision-making skills are well recognized, so installing a monitor could save more than just your time.

Not all screens are created equal

We typically spend a third of our day in front of screens, which can have a tremendous impact on health and productivity. It may seem obvious, but laptops are not ergonomically designed for prolonged use – they are intended to be used on the move, or when a desktop/monitor setup isn’t available. Desktop monitors allow for better ergonomics, so using one could contribute to a reduction in fatigue and instances of back and neck pain. However, like other electronic devices, monitors emit low blue light that can strain your eyes when viewed over extended periods. It is, therefore, essential to choose monitors with low blue light and flicker-free technology for optimal eye comfort.

The need to see more

It’s no surprise that monitors can positively impact the way people game, shop or watch films. But the combination of larger, higher-resolution displays and better support for multitasking has made monitors indispensable for those whose job demands close attention to detail, like programmers, data analysts, and designers.

Some desktop monitors are curved, which allows for reduced eye movement across the screen and a more immersive experience. And with the adoption of immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D visualization, I’m in no doubt that we’ll soon see even more innovative ways for monitors to support these emerging workloads.

On the periphery

While a monitor may be the largest, most prominent piece of hardware in a home office, it’s worth giving a mention to the benefit of using the right computer peripherals. Findings from the Forrester study mentioned earlier suggest that many workers still prefer the ease and comfort of using external peripherals rather than the integrated mouse and keyboard in a laptop. And now that we’ve replaced face-to-face interactions with video and audio-only calls, headsets and speakerphones that offer the same specifications as our office versions have become part of the makeup of a healthy and productive home workspace.

Ergonomics

Now that many of us are working from home, it can feel like a lot has changed. But the reality is that we’ve simply switched one desk for another. Optimizing office spaces may be part of the day-to-day for Facilities Managers, but for the rest of us, dealing with adjustable monitor heights and ergonomic chairs is unfamiliar territory. As we head into the future of flexible or hybrid working, getting the best out of our personal workspace is something we’ll have to get to grips with, and desktop monitors could be the first, easy step towards creating a healthy, productive and creative work-from-home environment.