Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two Screens or Bigger Screens - for productivity

Some companies are technology friendly and some are not. Last month I had the opportunity of visiting one of those very friendly and rare early adopters. They are wholesalers-make no mistake about it. Their building says distributor. Observing the first two or three folks walking in the door in the early morning hours, it seemed like any other wholesaler in America. But once in the door - things were different. Very noticably, every person had two monitors on their desk.

I've seen this set-up in software developer's offices and in the system administrator's cube at another client's office. But here everyone uses two screens. I asked why and they told me, information is their competitive edge. And, adding a second monitor was the best productivity investment on the market.

I immediately purchased a second monitor and put it to the test myself. After a couple of days "getting the hang of it", I found myself effortlessly moving back and forth from web to word document or from spreadsheet to spreadsheet. It's almost like magic.

Earlier this week, new research was released covering the whole issue.

"The University of Utah tested how people performed tasks like working on a document and moving numbers around spreadsheets while using different computer configurations: a single 18-inch monitor, a single 24-inch monitor and dual 20-inch monitors.
They discovered: those using the single 24-inch monitor completed the tasks 52% faster than people who used a single 18-inch monitor; people who used dual 20-inch monitors were 44% faster than those with the 18-inch ones. "

Let's do a quick calculation. 52% increase in productivity. Assuming a good distributor customer service person makes (conservatively) $20 per hour and a good monitor costs $250 dollars. This looks like a 3 day payback.

How do you spell ROI?

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