Working with Multiple Monitors Increases Productivity

Many knowledge workers today are constrained by the size limits of their device screens.

When we are working in a task (coding, writing a document, analyzing data) and we need to switch over to another application (web browser, pdf document) to look something up, as soon as we did so, all traces of our work disappear from the current screen.

Over the last few years, several researchers have conducted studies to determine the efficacy of dual-monitor configurations in boosting productivity and increasing user


Microsoft’s Research Center’s findings indicate that users can improve productivity by 9 to 50% by adding another monitor to their computing environment (depending on the type of task). Other studies cited in the New York Times suggest 20% to 30% productivity boosts.

The research results prove, overwhelmingly, that dual monitor configurations save time and increase accuracy among workers. Not to mention that working with a larger display area just makes working on the computer more comfortable and increases workers satisfaction, and is well documented that higher satisfaction often is related to higher productivity.

Another study shows that, after multiple monitors were introduced in a development team, productivity as lines of code per day increased by 10% and defect levels decreased by 26%.

The New York Times said this about multiple monitors: “Adding a second monitor turned out to be the easiest, most cost-effective and significant improvement in my work since I replaced my modem with high-speed cable”.


Researchers in the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment group (VIBE), found that increasing a computer user’s display space made it easier for them to complete their tasks.

With a second (or third or more) monitor we can:

  • Switch between applications more quickly — instead of using keyboard shortcuts like ALT + TAB to multitask, just point the mouse to the other screen and save a lot of time.
  • Segment our working tasks, with one screen collecting the stream of incoming information, another focused on what we have to do at the moment, and possibly another for additional task needs.
  • View documents side-by-side for comparison, research, or cutting-and-pasting.

Summing-up: Give someone a second monitor, let them use it for while, and then try to take it away. It just isn’t going to happen. They’ll never go back to a mono display. People want to do their job the best it can be done, and multiple monitors help them to be more productive.

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  1. Pingback: Office Environment Affects Productivity | The Future of News

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