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We all know the scenario where a worker will have multiple browser tabs open; an Excel spreadsheet, Outlook or email client all running in the background and one notification can take their attention away from the original task. The action of switching between multiple windows removes all traces of the task at hand, moving focus away from critical work.

For this article, we will be looking at productivity research and the efficacy of dual-monitor configurations largely from the Dell Multi-Screen Productivity Study.

Task time

The research results show that dual-monitor configurations save time and increase accuracy. A study conducted by the University of Utah compared the time it took participants to complete a set of tasks; one group with a single screen and the other using multi-monitors. Those who had dual or multi-screens completed the set of tasks in nearly two-and-a-half minutes faster in 16 minutes 52 seconds. While two minutes doesn’t sound like a very long time, when you view it as part of a working day, this could save a business up to 40 minutes per employee.

The New York Tie’s report of a Jon Peddie Research survey stated that dual monitors have been found to increase productivity by 20-30 percent.


The types of tasks that have been identified as faster with two or more monitors are:

  • Data entry
  • Administration
  • Drafting emails using research materials
  • Complex spreadsheets that can be viewed on both monitors so all the information is easier to view
  • Comparing products/services side-by-side.

Finding information

The Dell study looked at how easy it was for participants to find information and on a dual 17” monitor, with those taking part rating it twice as easy to source information. Comments from participants using a two-monitor set up, included: “The two-screen layout made finding information easy and quick. I felt that I had enough space to have all the windows I needed open.”

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