Multiple monitor setups - an underutilized time-saving solution
30% of the industry uses this solution, and experts advise you should be, but are you?
I don't know how people work off just one monitor. I currently use four monitors, and I can't imagine how it would be to work with just one. Studies show that having multiple monitors will result in a 5% to 20% productivity gain. A good 20 inch monitor is about $300, so depending on the billing rate, it could pay for itself in a couple of days. In my classes I ask how many people are using multiple monitors, and it's only about a third of the class. 70% to 90% of people should be using more than one monitor. I think that people don't do it because they don't understand or don't believe that having multiple monitors will boost productivity." -Randy Johnston, industry expert consistently named as one of the 100 Most Influential People by Accounting Today.
In most office settings, desktop multitasking is no longer a workstyle choice—it's a way of life. Finance and accounting professionals typically run several desktop applications simultaneously, in addition to an email client and perhaps instant messaging software. On top of that, a desktop will have one or more browser windows open, providing market watch and research capabilities at your fingertips.
You can jump from one application to another using your mouse or the tab function, but such efforts can be clumsy and inefficient. Multitasking with a single monitor is akin to flipping through a stack of clutter to find what you need at that moment. But imagine if you could have such paperwork spread out across your desk and always visible.
The increased popularity of multi-display systems has as much to do with advances in technology as it does with economics. Though Windows 98 first allowed for dual display configurations, bulky CRTs sat on most desks back then and many workspaces simply could not have accommodated more than one such monitor. Flat-panel displays solved the space problem, but with prices often exceeding $1000, they were long considered a luxury.
Today's monitors, by contrast, are just a fraction of that cost, making the addition of a second or third monitor a negligible expense. And with numerous studies estimating productivity increases of anywhere from 10 to 45 percent, the payback is almost immediate.
With multiple monitors, for example, one could refresh quotes or take feeds on one screen, pull up research on a second screen, and pull up client information or process transactions on a third, without any opening/closing or maximizing/minimizing of applications. In considering the increased efficiency, many professionals who have switched to a dual or multi-monitor display have regarded the switch as transformational.