How to efficiently work with multiple screens

How to efficiently work with multiple screen

Whether you’re in the office or working from home, there are many strategies to staying productive. Australian companies swear by project management tools, productivity software like Microsoft 365, and taking regular breaks. While these have proven to be effective in increasing output, installing multiple screens may also produce astonishing results for you and your company’s workflow. 

Can having multiple screens boost productivity? 

When you only have a single screen, you’ll have to switch browser tabs and programs frequently to do your work. This is not only tedious, but this can also cause you to lose your focus and disrupt your workflow every time you change windows. In fact, people are more likely to get distracted when they click on the wrong window and take several minutes just to refocus on their original task

On the other hand, a multiple monitor setup displays several windows simultaneously, enabling smoother workflows in the process. For instance, if you’re in a video conference, you can use your secondary screen to bring up relevant information and take notes. This beats the alternative where you’re frantically switching between several programs during an important meeting. 

Multiple screens also allow you to drag and copy files across monitors. This is especially useful for creative professionals who often have to pull assets from different folders into their editing software. Plus, with more monitors, users will have more screen real estate to work with, making virtual workspaces feel less cramped and generally more pleasant to use. 

How many screens are too many? 

While having multiple monitors makes multitasking a breeze, adding too many screens may have diminishing returns on productivity. With two or three monitors, you can run your core productivity applications on the primary screen and use the second and third for monitoring important information in the background. However, installing even more screens may increase the temptation to visit productivity-killing websites and applications like social media and video games. 

What’s more, you’ll need a computer that can support several screens and dozens of programs running simultaneously. This may involve purchasing a system with extra graphics cards, open PCIe slots, video output ports (e.g., HDMI), power supply units, and RAM for smoother multitasking.  

Is an ultrawide monitor better? 

Ultrawide monitors over 34 inches (86 centimetres) are another option for those who want to extend their workspace. These are monitors with 21:9 aspect ratio that usually boast higher pixel densities. The benefit of going ultrawide is that you can run multiple applications side by side on a single screen. There’s no bezel gap created between monitors in an ultrawide, providing a more consistent and seamless experience. You also only have to worry about powering one screen instead of two or three.  

The downside of ultrawide monitors is the cost. Depending on the type of display and size, ultrawide screens can cost well over $2,500. They even take up quite a lot of desk space, so make sure you have enough room before installing one in your business or home office.  

Getting the most out of multiple screens

If your business prefers a multi-monitor setup over an ultrawide, there are a few things you can do to optimise your experience. 

Match your displays

Using matching monitors will help keep everything consistent, but this isn’t always the case for most users. Oftentimes, multi-monitor setups consist of a laptop connected to a secondary monitor or a 1080p monitor linked to a bigger 4K screen. In these cases, you’ll need to configure your displays to make them work well together. 

For starters, access Display settings on Windows and go to Select and rearrange displays. From there, you can customise your monitor’s layout and orientation on your desktop so that moving from one screen to another is seamless. You’ll also want to play around with display resolutions, app and text sizes, brightness, and colour levels. Having consistent settings across your screens is particularly important if you’re in a design-oriented field. 

Consider ergonomics

Multiple screens should be positioned in a way that increases productivity and reduces discomfort. To do this, make sure your screens are an arm’s length away and are standing at the same height — slightly below eye level. If you use a primary monitor, position it directly in front of you and place your other monitors on either side at a 30-degree angle. Installing your monitors on VESA mounts attached to your desk is a great way to save space. Additionally, it will make it easy to reposition your monitors and turn them on their side to enable a portrait layout.  

Navigate your setup with Windows shortcuts

Knowing a few Windows shortcuts will help you work more efficiently with a multiple screen setup. Here are a few you should learn: 

  • Windows key + Up/Down – Maximise or minimise the active window
  • Windows key + Left/Right – Snap active windows to the left or right of the monitor 
  • Windows key + Shift + Up – Stretch the desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen
  • Windows key  + Shift + Left/Right – Move active windows to the next monitor
  • Windows key + Home – Minimise all windows except the one you’re on. Pressing it again brings all minimised windows back. 

Setting up ultrawide or multiple monitors can boost your productivity, and it’s incredibly easy to implement, too. If you need advice regarding what monitors to purchase or how to manage your multi-monitor setup, just ask Empower IT Solutions. As Australia’s leading managed IT services provider, we can help with a wide array of IT issues. Call us today.