Monday, 23 September 2013

Increase Productivity: Low-Hanging Fruit, Part Two

In my last post I identified probably the best way you can improve productivity in an office.  But wait, there is an even easier way to improve basic computer productivity - add a second monitor. 

Recently I had a project in which I needed some staff to test a new application based on a conversion from an old system.  To help them with the testing, I arranged second monitors for this group of four office workers with the proviso that at the end of the project they may have to give the extra monitor back.  Yes, you guessed it, none of the staff would return their second monitor.  Give anyone a second monitor, let them use it for while, and then try to take it away - it just won't happen.

Think about it, you can have a primary application on one monitor and run email or a browser or whatever else you need on the second monitor.  You can even have two browser pages on separate windows.  With a normal 17" monitor, you can display approximately one page (i.e. 8½" x 11") of information.  On our physical desk we have multiple documents and generally need space to work effectively.  So why limit ourselves to such a small screen space on our computer?  We can add large and/or multiple monitors to increase this space allowing us to work more efficiently.  It really is all about increased screen space.

Formal studies show that a second monitor can increase productivity by 10%-50%.   Many studies have been conducted over the years that you can easily Google but here are two from Dell and Microsoft:
I started promoting dual monitors five years ago, but the original multiple-monitor pundits have been promoting this for over a decade. So why don't many offices take advantage of this quick and easy productivity boost?  Original monitors were big, bulky, expensive and took up lots of desk space, but we don't have that excuse today - LED monitors are thin, light and inexpensive ($150).  Sometimes you need to buy a second inexpensive ($50) graphics card for your computer as well.  Still, the financial ROI on this $200 investment could be days or weeks, not to mention the increased satisfaction of your staff.

Try it!   

This is an instant boost to office productivity.


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