Would you spend $189 to improve productivity by 15%?

Would you spend $189 to improve productivity by 15%?

Okay, I’m a little bit of a technology geek. I have a pretty fast laptop, tablet and smartphone, all from the same manufacturer, whose shares are well above US$500 each. And while I can’t fully keep pace with all of the twenty-somethings in my office, I’m reasonably good at most programs and Internet-related activities. Yet, even a codger like me can learn a trick or two.

Our production studio is a terrific team, all using shiny, new computers coupled with great software. But what had differentiated this group from our sales/account staff was that each operating station had a second computer monitor. At first, the “Doubting Thomas” in me said that this was merely for them to stay connected to their friends, with one monitor showing their Facebook and the other showing the task at hand. I was soon proven wrong.

We conducted productivity tests on the modification of several databases, as well as clerical functions involving reservations-style activities, such as viewing an Internet page and copying data into a form. The results showed a significant time savings of anywhere from 15% to 40%, depending upon the task.

Again, not trusting the data, I took an LED TV in my office and moved it over to my desktop, plugging it into the external monitor spot on my laptop. Instantly, I too had joined the dual monitor crowd. While the ergonomics of the layout are probably not perfect, I use my main monitor for work such as emails, documents and spreadsheets, with the second monitor showing a related web site or simply a summary of file listings for easy access. You can configure the monitors in any way you want, so spend some time getting the setup best for you.

Like any step forward in technology, once you move to a two-monitor set up, you’ll be hooked. I went on Best Buy’s website and found many monitors for less than US$200. Costco has a great selection as well. My suggestion is to look for a monitor that is wider rather than square. Do you need your IT folks to do this for you? Unless you are all thumbs, this is a plug-and-play affair, so the answer is no. Do you need to get this approved as a capital expense and review it as part of your ongoing capital program? Well, for yourself, I doubt it. However, if you really want to see some improvement in productivity, plan one for EVERY workstation in your organization. Start with your sales department, where you can easily rationalize the cost. No— on second thought, go cold turkey and convert the entire team. You’ll be glad you did.