How to Use Multiple Monitors to Be More Productive

Ronald Monte | October 3, 2018

Productivity is key to running a competitive business in today’s economy. And among the most productive businesses has been a trend towards using more than just one monitor for employees and staff to work efficiently. Multiple monitors are no longer just the norm for traders on Wall Street and with Silicon Valley companies.  Instead, the new norm is two or more monitors to maximize both a worker’s potential output—and ultimately the bottom line of your company.

In this article, we will look at why multiple monitors increase productivity, including the benefits supported by numerous studies, and how three monitors may be the sweet spot for maximum efficiency.

Why Multiple Monitors Increase Productivity

The main problem of using one monitor is that they’re not suited for modern multitasking. Everyday tasks that require users to handle two or more concurrent tasks at once are ill-suited for the limited space of one monitor. This includes tasks such as:

  • repeatedly switching between programs
  • copying & pasting items from one source to another
  • comparing two elements side-by-side
  • drafting an email using source material
  • financial reports
  • comparing an original image to the finished one (for graphic designers)
  • manage inventory levels
  • reviewing large spreadsheets across monitors to view a report in its entirety
  • prepare summary information and proposals for executives
  • data entry from different active sources
  • comparing products side-by-side
  • reviewing multiple time sheets
  • leaving a chat box open while working

For most of these tasks, displays have to be subdivided or overlapping one another. Switching attention between different tasks is where the bulk of time is lost at work.  The more that people switch their attention, the less there is a focus on a complicated, multitasked effort. This leads to more errors, as information has to be remembered (or reverified) for varying periods of time. An easy way to think about this concept is that human memory is analogous to a computer’s memory: the more that’s going on and is obscured, the more mental energy must be expended to maintain an appropriate amount of focus.

By using multiple monitors, there’s simply more visual space to work digitally. Switching between tasks just requires looking a few inches to the side, which helps employees focus. Similarly, having additional monitors can provide a dedicated communication screen for email, online collaboration platforms, social media, or dashboards.

Wellness Benefits of Multiple Monitors

There’s also the question of health and ergonomics, which has been cited in multiple academic studies. Phyllis King, the associate director of the Center for Ergonomics (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Health Sciences), said in a recent interview, “Studies have shown increased productivity from using dual monitors.” Dr. King further emphasized this point by saying the multiple monitors allow “…more comfort, a better workload and a higher level of satisfaction and feeling of support in the workplace.

While tablets and laptops are preferred for on-to-go work, many companies have erroneously used them as replacements for a traditional desk station, a solution that doesn’t provide the optimum level of ergonomics. When multiple monitors are used in comparison to mobile devices, it translates into overall higher employee satisfaction.

Research on Utilizing Multiple Monitors for Productivity

If you’re skeptical that such an obvious fix could lead to drastic benefits, you should know that there have been multiple studies that prove the benefits, all with positive results across the board:

If you’re skeptical that such an obvious fix could lead to drastic benefits, you should know that there have been multiple studies that prove the benefits, all with positive results across the board:

Three Monitor Setups are Optimal for Productivity

It is the last study that’s most important, as it pointed out that jobs where digital information has to be processed very frequently (programmers, scientists, editors, engineers or insurance company employees), employees preferred a three-monitor setup as optimal. When comparing similar tasks with a two-monitor setup vs. three-monitor, it was discovered that, using similar tasks, three-monitors was the clear winner.

There may be some resistance to the idea, possibly overcomplicating the process, but consider that many high-profile individuals rely on three monitors to accomplish their mission-critical tasks, like Bill Gates, Larry Page, Al Gore and countless web developers.

The reason why three monitors is the perfect number is because the center monitor functions as where the primary work takes place. The other monitors are supplemental, but can be compared in real-time with one another for efficiency. This can include web developers using the center monitor as the development IDE, with reference documentation on one side and various browsers to test across. Similarly, those who are working on data entry can have spreadsheets on either side, with a live chat program to interact with employees and an email program to finalize the process via email.

In fact, the combinations are endless and is only limited to the creativity of the particular user.

With the numerous benefits of a multiple monitor setup for achieving the most efficient workflow, especially to your company’s bottom line, it’s a no-brainer to adopt a multiple monitor setup for employees and staff members.

There are many products on the market that can help you set up three monitors as well as DIY projects, but you may want to consider using the Cemtrex SmartDesk instead. The SmartDesk has a three monitor setup allowing for more space to get the job done, as well as numerous features and an ergonomic design that empowers workers to be as productive as possible.

Cemtrex SmartDesk