Randy Dean's Timely Tips

You may have read Timely Tips on Randy Dean's web site, but now you can interact with it here on Blogspot.com. Please feel free to add comments and tips of your own, and thank you for your continued interest.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Timely Tips August 2007: Multiple Monitors for Multiple Reasons

Why adding an extra monitor to your workstation could bump up your productivity

in this issue
The Benefits of Multiple Monitors
The ROI Case for Multiple Monitors
Laptop Users: Not Quite as Easy
Repeat of Special "Sneak Preview" Offer

Dear Timely Tips Reader,

Wow, it is hard to believe that the better part of summer is almost over, and that Labor Day is nearly here. I can already smell the dogs and burgers cooking at the upcoming football tailgates, and we had our first "crisp" morning in a couple of months today. Before we get into the holiday, I wanted to get out a Timely Tip that you might be able to take advantage of if you find yourself in the computer/electronics store over the holiday weekend. Here it is:

The Benefits of Multiple Monitors

For several months now, a few attendees at my programs have been telling me I should do a Timely Tips issue on using multiple monitors at your workstation. Those that are using this configuration praise that it is an excellent and easy way to increase productivity and save time. After testing it for a month or two, I believe I too am sold on the benefits of using this workstation configuration.

The simple rationale is this: by going from one monitor to two (or more), you can save time when sharing data between multiple programs/documents/spreadsheets, as you can have multiple active documents/programs open at the same time -- in full-screen view mode -- so you can share data back and forth. You won't need to minimize and resize documents to share/refer to data and you wont need to "Alt-TAB" between programs -- you can simply have your two or more programs open and in view across the multiple screens.

Additionally, if you ever have to load a new program or update a program, rather than having the status bar taking up valuable "screen space" on your single monitor, you can move it over to the second monitor and keep plugging along on something else on your primary monitor. And, finally, if you love your Internet radio, your MSNBC updates, or your stock ticker, you can move those pieces of info onto your second monitor so you can keep your focus on actual work on your primary monitor. (I'm not really sure how these last items help your overall productivity, but at least the radio, MSNBC, or stock tickers won't be taking away as much productivity!) And yes, some of you could even put your e-mail on the extra monitor so you can see what is going on in there (but remember my tip from a couple months ago -- don't allow this new set up to turn you into a "blinger", constantly checking your e-mail. That KILLS your productivity and focus.)

The Productivity/ROI Case for Multiple Monitors

I did a little research on the costs/benefits of multiple monitor set-ups. The case for moving to this arrangement is pretty compelling. Many IT/productivity experts are finding workstation productivity increases of 10-30%. One IT expert did a study over several weeks, and found that his programming team increased their daily output by 10% after getting multiple monitor configurations installed, and also found a 25% decrease in error rates (apparently, people are also more accurate when they can keep the data right on the screen versus minimizing the data).

Using a little extrapolation, let's assume a worker making $40,000 per year (with a 35% loading rate, total compensation would be $54,000 annually) spends 50% of their time doing workstation activities (thus, approximately 1,000 hours out of a 2,000 hour work year). If they can just get the low end of this productivity increase -- 10% -- that would mean they are getting an extra 100 hours per year of productivity, with additional value generated of $2,700 by that worker ($54,000 / 2,000 hours = $27 per hour * 100 extra hours = $2,700.) Considering that LCD monitors now typically cost around $200 or less, that means there is a ROI (Return on Investment) of more than 1,000% PER YEAR for every multiple monitor configuration installed. Of course, this is a pretty simplistic extrapolation, but it shows how a very inexpensive use of technology/hardware can have dramatic bottom-line benefits. (Feel free to use this if you want to advocate for an additional monitor at your work!)

And with most newer Windows-based operating systems now set up for "plug and play" multiple monitor configurations, it is actually quite easy to add an additional monitor to your workstation without too much time or effort by you or your IT staff.
Laptop Users: Not Quite as Easy!

Of course, if you are regularly using a laptop at your workstation, plugging it into the extra monitor every time will cause you to lose a bit of time. And, you probably will have to change your system settings every time you plan to "go mobile" and go back to the single monitor setting with your laptop. (Otherwise, you'll end up having data sent to your "phantom" monitor that you won't be able to see!) This also takes away a bit of time, but my research shows that even many regular laptop users find that the productivity bonus makes it worth investing in the second monitor.

So, if you are out at the computer/electronics store this weekend, and see a great deal on an LCD monitor, consider picking another one up for your home PC. And print this out to share with your supervisor or IT leader when you get back to work next week. You can then experience the time-saving/productivity benefits of your new multiple monitor configuration.
Until Next Time ...

Here's wishing to all of you here in the States a wonderful Labor Day Holiday weekend. And if you are outside the States but in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy this beautiful late-summer time of the year. In the next issue, we'll give you another update on the progress on the new e-mail book (21 chapters back from the copy editor this weekend!), but I'd rather see all of you take the time to just "waste some time" with your family and friends this weekend. (That is my plan!)

Until next time, Stay Timely!
Repeat of the Special "Taming the E-mail Beast" Pre-Production Offer For Timely Tips Subscribers

If you have an interest in seeing some of the tips and strategies from the new "Taming the E-mail Beast" book early, I'm inviting all interested Timely Tips subscribers to send me a personal e-mail (randy@randalldean.com), and I'll be happy to send you three draft chapters of the book right now, plus a detailed content outline. This way, you can get a taste of the book's content and tone, and why I'm pretty excited about this project's potential moving forward. To do this, simply send me an e-mail at Randy@randalldean.com and let me know that you would like to receive the free sample preview chapters. I'll also give you access to a special pre-production offer. Send me that e-mail request today!
Presented by:

Randall Dean Consulting & Training, LLC
phone: 517-336-8906 * e-mail: info@randalldean.com * www.randalldean.com


Post a Comment

<< Home