Are Two Monitors Are Better Than One?

Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2020

A two monitor set up is not uncommon in many business settings. It’s particularly common in industries like web design, CAD, or multimedia production.

Are two monitors better than one? What are the pros and cons? We’ll look at all the factors such as costs, health benefits, productivity, and more.

The benefits of dual monitors

The main business benefit of a dual monitor setup is productivity.  Research backs up this assumption and shows impressive increases in productivity and a reduction in the time it takes to complete tasks. A study by Jon Peddie Research found a 42% increase in productivity when using multiple displays.

One simple explanation for this is the time it takes to move from one window to another on a single screen laptop or desktop. Not only do you need to take time to find the right tab or window to open, but you need more time to access the information, losing your flow and allowing the chance for concentration to be interrupted.

Moving between tabs can be discombobulating. While working with two screens allows a more natural flow and concentration levels to remain high.

Over the long term, this can add up to a significant amount of time. Consider how many times you use the process of switching between windows every day and add up that cost to productivity over a year. Mustard IT have been an IT support company in London for years and we can confirm that dual-monitor setups have been very useful for our own workflow.

A working example of productivity

Let’s look at some real-world examples of how this works.

Imagine keeping your Slack space, emails or Skype open on one screen and working on a document on another. Breaks in concentration are kept to a minimum and you can instantly reply to any urgent messages that come up and go straight back to work.

The dual-monitor allows team collaboration on one screen, whilst working on the other.

Another example could be writing a report. You have your spreadsheet and research documents open on one monitor and can easily copy and paste the research into your working document without the need to switch views and break concentration flows.

Health benefits of dual monitors

One of the most worthwhile benefits of a dual monitor setup is that it has been found to make working with a computer for longer periods more enjoyable, this boosts satisfaction and happiness at work for the employee further enhancing productivity.

It’s not just productivity that increases either. A study has shown that the quality of the output is also improved.

Research by the University of Utah found a 20% reduction in errors for workers using multiple monitors, providing greater job satisfaction for the worker.

The same study showed that stress was also reduced in employees using a dual monitor workspace.

Other health and productivity benefits offered by today’s technology means that the flexible working method can be used with dual monitors. For example, designers working from laptops and moving around to different desks, find it very easy to set up and plug in their laptop to a second monitor with an HDMI cable in a matter of seconds.

What are some of the cons of dual monitors?

Restricted Desk Space

Setting up dual monitors in the most effective way can be hindered by a lack of available desk space. However, with the right tech, this is less of an issue than it was in the past. Modern LCD monitors are of flat panel design and only require a small amount of additional space.

It should be possible to rearrange the workspace to accommodate this type of additional screen, or if possible you may be able to take a larger desk.

Cost implications

Purchasing and setting up dual monitors for every employee might be expensive if you are in a larger business with lots of staff. However, this can be offset by the increase in productivity, accuracy, and the improved mood of the staff.

To upgrade a single employee using a traditional single monitor set up you need to factor in the cost of an additional monitor and any cabling required. The cost of electricity to run the additional monitor should be minimal thanks to modern technology and production.

While the cost for monitors has reduced in recent years, it can still be a barrier for some businesses. It’s worth considering the option of allowing certain users who would get the most benefit and add the most value from dual monitors to upgrade to this set up instead of the entire workforce.

Usually, a shift to dual-monitor setups happens after a business moves into a different workspace. Mustard IT can help with IT relocation to avoid unnecessary costs and stress.

What you will need for Dual Monitors

If you’re buying everything from scratch and buying a laptop to use with dual monitors, make sure you buy one with a good graphics card that is powerful enough to manage two screens.

If you’re adding a monitor to an existing PC or laptop, you might be fine. However, if you find the graphics card is not powerful enough for two screens you can upgrade the existing graphics card at a relatively low cost.

Extending your computer to a second screen is actually very easy, with simple configuration available through your computer’s settings and screen options control panels.

If you’ve been wanting to try a dual-screen setup but have been putting it off, there’s really no reason not to give it a shot it’s simple and the best way to know if it is for you is to give it a try.

How to set up dual monitors

Setting up a second monitor is simple if you want to extend beyond this to 3 monitors it is a bit more complex.

Sometimes finding the best setup for you is just a case of working with an experienced IT support provider.

Like any change, there will be an initial adjustment period of a week or so as you get used to the new workflow and the possibilities the setup now affords you.

After this period of time, you will likely wonder how you could ever live without a second screen again! Why not speak to one of our experienced IT experts and get started with dual monitors today?


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