by Al Sacco

Study: Widescreen Displays Boost Employee Productivity

Mar 10, 2008 2 mins
Computers and Peripherals IT Leadership Laptops

New study claims companies can realize significant productivity gains by adopting larger, widescreen displays.

Can you see your way to wasting less time? One new study says yes: Organizations that upgrade their employees’ standard-format monitors to widescreen displays can realize productivity gains equivalent to 76 extra work days a year per worker, as well as annual cost savings of more than $8,600 per staff member, according to a recent survey. (That math assumes a staffer who makes $32,500 annually.)

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The “Productivity, Screens and Aspect Ratio,” study, released Monday, was conducted by the University of Utah and was sponsored by NEC, a maker of computer monitors.

Ninety-six university staffers, faculty and students broken in three different computer aptitude sets–novice, intermediate and advanced–participated in the study, which took into account the time it took to complete set spreadsheet and editing tasks, editing performance and monitor preference, among other factors.

All three groups were significantly more productive using 24-inch-or-larger widescreen monitors (1920×1200 resolution, or larger) compared to 18-inch displays (1280×1024 resolution), according to the research.

NEC Widescreen Display
NEC Widescreen Display

More specifically the study found that upgrading workers’ 18-inch, standard format monitors to a 24-inch widescreen displays cut the average time it took them to complete such tasks by more than 30 percent.

Additional findings include:

  • Large widescreen or dual-monitor configurations are better suited for work that involves multiple documents or applications.

  • 24-inch widescreen displays are better suited for text editing than both single standard format (17-inch and 19-inch) and dual standard format (17-inch and 19-inch) monitor configurations.

  • Dual-widescreen configurations in 22-inches or larger are better for spreadsheet editing than single widescreen or standard format displays.

  • Net annual cost savings of using 24-inch widescreen monitors in place of standard format, 18-inch monitors, including electricity and monitor costs, is roughly $2.1 million a year for 250-employee companies and about $4.3 million for firms with 500 staffers.