Why you should care
Because dang, your desk is cluttered!
Your home is your castle, but what about your office? If the coffee-stained mugs, candy wrappers and dried up Post-it notes are anything to go by, not so much. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were both known for their messy workspaces. But for the rest of us who aren’t technical geniuses, that clutter is probably making us unproductive.
One way to get more productive? A dual monitor setup. Side-by-side screens can almost double your viewing real estate, making you more efficient. But to get this arrangement, you have to deal with two clunky frames taking up space on your desk, assorted cables and an installation that involves the IT dude on all fours. That’s so 2013.
Two 19-inch screens create a 32-inch panorama.
Philips has introduced a 2-in-1 LCD monitor ($457), which simplifies — and snazzifies — the dual monitor setup. The unfortunately named “19DP6QJNS” model, which has won several awards for innovation, features two 19-inch screens that create a 32-inch panorama. A thin border separates the IPS (in-plane switching) panels, which can tilt 22.5 degrees to allow for an immersive viewing field. Which is a lot for the eyes to take in. To help, the system is integrated with “Flicker Free” technology to alleviate eyestrain from LCD usage. And the SmartTxt feature enhances reading PDFs or documents, adjusting the contrast on the display — something that can also tire eyes.
“[Philips] found a percentage of users mounting their displays to achieve two side-by-side monitors,” Philips account executive Jen Mangham tells OZY via email. This 2-in-1 system — “suitable” for office workers, designers and gamers alike, according to the marketing — offers the benefits of two monitors on one stand, and takes up less space. It will also appeal to businesses looking to save on IT installation costs, and it can be cheaper than buying two monitors. And having a 2-in-1 monitor might also make you calmer. According to a study from the Software Usability Research Laboratory, using two monitors eases the mental workload that a solo setup creates.
But can all those extra pixels improve your mental focus? Professor Gloria Mark, who studies workplace distractions at the University of California at Irvine, is conflicted. The brain, after all, is not a parallel processor. With a second monitor, “potentially distracting information is always in the peripheral view,” she explains. Many people use a second monitor to keep their email open. But Mark’s research has shown that emails and Facebook are the bane of productivity — just as much as getting distracted by your work BFF.
“More monitors equals more social media access,” warns productivity expert Cathy Sexton. But she says that two screens can help visual learners, especially with multitasking. She suggests having a master list of tasks, and placing new items on that list instead of your daily to-dos, which should help you prioritize; you return to other tasks when you’ve ticked them off.
Check that. But we’ll take the shiny screen as well.