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Are Two Monitors Really More Productive Than One?

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Productivity is highly important in an uber-competitive marketplace. With the number of professionals doing work from home or in a hybrid work model, utilizing the proper hardware becomes more crucial than ever.

One of the most popular productivity hacks is using a dual-monitor or multi-monitor work scheme. However, the question is: are two monitors really more productive than one? The answer to that question hinges on five key points.


1.   Productivity Boost

On the whole, using a multi-monitor approach boosts productivity across the board. In particular, workers do not waste time switching back and forth through applications.

The facts back up this assertion.

A study conducted by Jon Peddie Research over a 15-year period found that utilizing a multi-monitor or dual-monitor system boosted productivity by 42%. This conclusion rests on two separate studies done in 2002 and 2012.

Additionally, the use of a multi-monitor system grows exponentially over time. From 2002 to 2017, the study found that productivity rose from 20% to 90%. The following graph illustrates the study’s findings over its 15-year duration.

mm chart

Source: Jon Peddie Research, 2017.

The data reveals how significant the boost in productivity becomes under a dual-monitor or multi-monitor system. These findings bode well for professionals working from home and those under a hybrid work model.


2.   Improved Efficiency

Utilizing a multi-monitor strategy helps increase time efficiency. Specifically, a multi-monitor approach helps cut down on time needed to switch between apps and programs. A 2019 survey revealed that 68% of respondents indicated a savings of about 30 minutes per day due to a multi-monitor approach.

Respondents also indicated that switching back and forth among apps and programs hinders their overall productivity. 56% of respondents preferred using a dual or multi-monitor approach to help them save time and boost efficiency.

A study by Dell also supports these conclusions. The study reports that users complete routine tasks 2.5 seconds faster and save about 5% of their time by implementing a multi-monitor approach. These time savings may not seem substantial at first, but they quickly add up. In the long run, small time savings add up to hours per week and days per year.

3.   Streamlined meeting hosting and presentation delivery

Having a dual or multi-monitor approach is highly useful when conducting online meetings and presentations. Utilizing a single screen means minimizing the video window to take notes, find documents, or open any other app.

Additionally, screen sharing becomes much easier when using a multi-screen system. In doing so, presenters can quickly access files without losing their video window from the site. As a result, professionals can streamline video meetings and smoothly deliver presentations.

Professionals that often engage in video conferencing can appreciate the value of having two screens. In particular, switching from one app to another causes individuals to lose focus. This situation is detrimental to quality meetings and calls. Research has found that it takes about 23 minutes to recover from distractions. Having a multi-monitor approach minimizes distractions, boosting concentration. As a result, business professionals can streamline meetings and presentations, leading to time efficiency and enhanced productivity.

4.   A significant cost-benefit proposition

Setting up a dual or multi-monitor system is not a costly endeavor. In fact, setting up a multi-screen system is relatively cost-effective. Modern computers allow for multiple monitor connections. Thus, users do not need to purchase a new computer to set up a dual-screen or multi-monitor system. Setting up a dual-screen system often requires purchasing an additional monitor or regular television.

For companies with professionals working from home, the cost of furnishing an additional screen may be less than $100. However, the increase in productivity far exceeds the investment in hardware. Moreover, paying for an additional screen out of pocket does not require breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the investment in a dual-screen or multi-monitor hardware setup boils down to a cost-benefit analysis.

Consider this situation:

Assuming a 30% productivity jump, a typical worker can save about 10 to 12 hours during a 40-hour workweek. These savings allow workers to get more done while reducing the effort needed to get their job done.

Here is another example:

A professional writer that earns $25 per article can see a jump in their income.

How so?

It usually takes the writer about two hours to produce an article. If one assumes a 30% boost in productivity, that slashes overall writing time to roughly 90 minutes. Now, the writer can produce two articles in three hours as opposed to one in two hours.

Ultimately, using a multi-monitor approach represents a significant cost-benefit proposition.

5.   Ease of use

Implementing a dual-screen or multi-monitor hardware setup does not require proficient computer skills. Regular computer users can easily set up a multi-monitor system since most hardware is plug-and-play nowadays.

Furthermore, using a multi-monitor work does not demand special training. While getting used to a multi-monitor work scheme does take some time, it is often less than a full day of work. For newcomers to a multi-monitor hardware setup, finding the sweet spot depends on determining how various screens can help facilitate tasks. For instance, working with side-by-side apps can greatly reduce the time needed to switch between tasks.

Arguably, the biggest consideration is physical space. Newcomers to a multi-monitor system must avoid cluttering their workspace. As such, planning the placement of an additional monitor might imply clearing out some space for it.

Final Thoughts

There is no question that a multi-monitor system works well for virtually all professionals. Professionals working from home can expect to see immediate results. Individuals with a hybrid work arrangement will see their productivity increase significantly. Therefore, setting up this highly productive system boils down to investing in the right hardware.

Ultimately, investing in a multi-monitor setup is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Given the relatively low cost of setting up multiple screens, users can expect a boost in their overall productivity without breaking the bank. Since there is no need for proficient computer skills, average users can quickly reap the benefits of using multiple screens at work.

Using a multi-monitor hardware setup is certainly worth a try. There is very little to lose and a significant amount of time and productivity to gain.