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Video collaboration, online training, and productivity are some big gains to be had with two monitors, while disadvantages include the cost, additional resources required and the potential for distractions.  Here’s how to determine if dual monitors will be effective for your business needs.  

Dual Monitors

Business leaders are always looking for ways for their staff to be more productive, but at what cost?  The technology time required to install and operate dual monitors, plus the cost of the monitors themselves and the hardware required to run them, may not add up to the productivity savings that businesses expect.  However, there may be some benefits that are more difficult to measure, such as employee satisfaction, reduced error rates, and significantly improved overall process efficiency. If you’re on the fence, here’s a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing more than one monitor in a business setting.

ADVANTAGES

Smoother Data Sharing

Switching back and forth between windows on your computer can be a big pain, as well as a pretty massive productivity drain.  This is especially true if you’re working on a complex financial analysis or taking a deep dive into some code — or even simply attempting to correlate customer data and provide a quick answer to a question while you’re on the phone.  Having multiple monitors allows you to open several projects or aspects of a single project essentially side-by-side for comparison, making it much easier to keep an eagle eye on emails on one screen while updating your financial reports on another, for instance.  The ability to use programs simultaneously allows for much smoother data sharing when you’re adding images from a separate window or viewing the live updates to a website you’re updating.

Superior Online Training

Online training has become increasingly popular in recent years. Having a second screen allows you to view training videos or tutorials on one side of your workspace, while the other side is available for completing training exercises or testing out your new skills.  Flipping between instructions and project from a single screen would lead to increases in error rate and a much longer timeline for completing the course.

Un-Dock and Go

Laptops are utilized in a wide variety of business settings.  While they are fantastic for portability between meetings, home, and the office, laptops have notoriously small monitors.  When you add a dock with two monitors to your laptop setup, you truly get the best of both worlds:  the portability of a laptop when you need it and the value-add of additional workspace when you need to hunker down and crunch some numbers or code.  The quick one-button docking and un-docking procedure makes this setup convenient for users and easy for technology teams to maintain.

Video Collaboration

Similar to online training, video collaboration has continued to grow in importance and usage throughout the business world.  Many organizations are looking for ways to cut costs by scheduling video meetings instead of traveling for face-to-face conversations, but Skype and other video programs provide a high level of interaction without time-consuming and expensive travel.  Having a second monitor available allows you to share one of your screens while continuing to work in the other screen — an invaluable option for anyone who is invited to a large number of meetings.

DISADVANTAGES

The Time Sink

We all know that person who seems to spend more time on social media than on their daily tasks.  How can dual monitors improve this problem?  Honestly, it will probably make the issue worse.  Having a second monitor may provide some individuals with the digital space that they need to keep social media accounts or email open at all times instead of having to flip back and forth between personal accounts and a business focus.  While many organizations have blocked instant messaging, this is another potential time sink to keep in mind as you’re considering going with more than one monitor for your staff.

Empty Pixels

There are some advocates who believe that a single widescreen monitor is more effective than dual screens, simply because the “dead air” between the monitors’ visible zones can be distracting to the eye.  If the monitors are not implemented correctly, there’s a potential mismatch in resolution and colors that can be troubling to view, especially if you need to stretch a particular program across both displays, such as a large and complex spreadsheet.  Some individuals prefer a primary and secondary screen of different sizes, as a distinct mismatch may be less distracting than a subtle one.

Too Much Space

Believe it or not, too much space can be every bit as much of a problem as not enough space! With two monitors, especially if you have two widescreen monitors, you may find that you’re spending a lot of time resizing the viewing windows to optimize your display.  Oddly enough, users with a smaller screen may find that everything fits well within the windows in a much more natural and usable way.

Making the decision to move your business from single monitor configurations to a dual-monitor environment can be daunting — especially due to the financial implications involved with the shift.  Keep in mind the potential productivity gains and whether or not your teams are likely to take full advantage of the additional space when you’re making your final decision. Ready to learn more about the possibilities for docked laptops, additional monitors or other technology questions?  Contact XSTRA Group today at 1300 555 920 or via email to info@xstragroup.com.  We will work with your Brisbane organization to determine the right fit for your office.

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