Byte Me #41 Improve productivity with two screens better than one

26 February, 2011

We are asking more and more of modern computers – especially in an office environment.  Computer users are wanting access to the Internet, access to emails, access to a calendar and access to company files as well as possibly an accounting package and / or point of sale package at the same time.  In an office environment a simple phone call can interrupt you while in the middle of finalising the week’s payroll or adding a new customer to the database while you then need to check some job sheets or a booking package to answer the incoming phone call.  So we simply minimise what we were doing and bring up another ‘window’.  This can get tricky with heaps of windows open in the background and worse if we need to compare or cut and paste between two documents.  What is going to help here?  Before computers – if one person was even close to being capable of doing so many tasks at once they would have had a huge desk with clipboards, sales journals, a large calendar and even a desk blotter – the key here being ‘a large desk’.  In the modern PC world what is also needed is plenty of ‘desktop space’.  Dual computer screens become a huge advantage in these circumstances.  All of the PC’s in our office have dual screens – one to run our main point of sale / job scheduling / stock control package and one for everything else.  This may be thought of as a luxury at first until you consider that this setup will normally also increase productivity.  Yes it has been proven and the research articles are on the Internet – that a normal office worker with two screens can be 25% to 50% more productive than with only one.  At the current cost of wages these productivity increases soon diminish the $200 to $500 cost of a second screen!  What else is needed?  As long as you have enough physical room, nearly every PC sold in the last 3 years already has the connectors for dual screens.  So simply plugging in a second screen will get you some further options in your operating system which then allows you to configure how these screens interact and what software will open on which one.  As an example you can even open Microsoft Excel twice to directly compare and cut and paste between two spread sheets (having one open on each screen).  It is normally best to keep these screens the same size – even the same brand, so in a large office you could theoretically shift every second screen to pair with existing screens and then buy two new screens for every other user.  Also when buying screens keep an eye on profile or screen ratio – usually expressed as 16:9 or 16:10 as the latest screen craze is to produce 16:9 screens (extra wide format) which caters to the movie buffs (or home users) out there.  These screens are less ideal than the traditional 16:10 screens for office use but are selling fast as they are still rated at the same diagonal size but have considerably less screen area and as such can be advertised at a cheaper price.  Again a marketing ploy to grab your money but with less performance or value offered to the end user – a 22” 16:9 looks tiny beside a 22” 16:10 screen.  Kerr Solutions is at 128 Musgrave Street & is contactable on 49 222 400.

2011-02-26 Byte Me Article 41 - Double the Vision

  • February 19, 2014