The benefits of using two screens at work
With modern operating systems, it’s easy to create a PC setup that incorporates two (if not three) screens. While there’s an increasing focus on enabling mobile working within organisations, the benefits of a dual-screen setup for work should not be underestimated, and this is something that all organisations should consider investing in.
Dual screens enhance productivity
Did you know that every time you need to click to a different window on the screen, that momentary distraction actually has a kick-on effect that can really disrupt your internal workflow? Studies have found that it can take as much as 25 minutes to refocus after a distraction, and while the time it takes to click on over to a new window isn’t that extreme of a distraction, there’s still precious seconds involved in re-orientating yourself so you can get back to work.
One of the greatest benefits of having a dual-screen setup is one of its most obvious benefits – you’re able to have more apps running in front of you at one time. On a single screen, splitting the screen into any more than two sections makes each application too small – you can’t work on a Word document or Excel if it’s squeezed into a corner of one screen. However, with that second screen open, you can have Excel, a Web browser, your email and the CRM all open at once. In terms of direct benefits, research has shown that productivity increases by between 20 and 30 per cent for workers with multiple monitors. That makes it one of the most effective ways to increase your business’ output, and for the relatively mild cost of a second screen for each worker.
Dual screens make applications more useful
Many applications are now designed to be natively compatible with one another. For example, you’re able to drag images directly into Photoshop from another application. Or, if you’re running a video conference, you can ‘screen share’ so that everyone can work on a document at the same time. Having multiple applications open at the same time is increasingly the preferred way to work, and with a second screen, you’re able to do that in a much more efficient, effective manner. Here are just some of the kinds of applications that benefit from dual screens:
- Cutting and pasting – It becomes much more efficient to cut and paste when you no longer need to resize, open and close windows.
- Video editing – You’re able to fine-tune the editing process by having multiple views and scenes open at once.
- Communication – You can dedicate one screen to a conference, without having to potentially close sensitive information for another project that you’re working on by putting it ‘out of sight’ on the second screen.
- Programming – As any developer will tell you, being able to spread code across two screens is an efficiency God-send when it comes to working on very long pieces of code.
- 3D design – Being able to look at an object designed in CAD from multiple angles simultaneously, by placing them side-by-side on dual screens, is hugely beneficial.
- Animation – Being able to work on an animation in one screen, while seeing it play out on the other, allows for a seamless flow to the creative process.
Dual screens are also better for your health
Another, less immediately obvious benefit to having multiple monitors is the ergonomic benefits. Research has found that a dual monitor setup provides employees with “more comfort, a better workload, and a higher level of satisfaction and feeling of support in the workplace.” Compared with relying on laptops or tablet devices, the screen quality of monitors is also better, with improved readability and colour profiles, which again has an ergonomic benefit to the worker, via reduced eye strain and lower potential for back pain.
Combine the dual monitor set-up with the ability to have a standing desk, and the ergonomic benefits increase further. Allowing employees to stand and/or sit depending on their mood and comfort level at that point of the day is proven to help employees with everything from improved mood to lower weight gain and blood sugar levels.
One final benefit of a dual-screen setup is that it seems to help people identify and prevent errors. Research shows that multiple screens resulted in 33 per cent fewer errors, and a 16 per cent improvement in the time taken to edit materials.
Utilising the benefits of dual screens for your employees
Clearly it’s important that your employees have access to laptops and other mobile tools for work while on the go. The benefits of mobile work are many and well-documented. However, the office is not going away any time soon, so rather than having your employees work from their laptops while in the office, for the sake of productivity and their health and happiness, you may want to consider investing in dual screen PCs.
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