It’s not just for gamers, coders, and engineers. More and more remote workers these days have adopted the dual monitor set up for their home offices.
Using two monitors on your desk can help improve your productivity and efficiency while working, along with several other benefits (discussed below).
But, if you’re not careful, adding another screen can also contribute to poor ergonomic habits that may increase the likelihood of pain and injury.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, let’s take a look at some ergonomic tips for working with dual monitors.
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Benefits of Using Multiple Monitors
As mentioned, the two monitor setup has become more popular lately. If you’re still on the fence though, here are some of the reasons you might want to consider using an additional screen in your workspace:
- Increased Productivity. The first benefit of using more than one screen when working is that it will increase your productivity. In fact, one survey reported that use of dual monitors increased employee productivity by as much as 20 – 30%.
- Improved Focus. Using two monitors can help you maintain focus. For instance, you can keep a single document open on one screen, while all those distracting emails and popups can take place on the other screen.
- Better Multitasking. On the flip side, having two screens to work on makes it easier to multitask while working. You simply have more space to work with and can keep several tasks going simultaneously.
- Helps with Video Conferencing. When using Zoom or other video conferencing tools, with your reference docs, emails, calendar etc. on a separate screen, having two monitors can help you contribute effectively.
- Better Image or Video Editing. If you do a lot of image or video editing, you might find that using two monitors makes for a much cleaner and more efficient editing environment.
For example, with your image or video is on one screen while the editing tools and selection options are on the other, you can quickly move around tools without distracting from the main image.
- Perfect for Customer Service. If you handle customer service or sales, you can keep your CRM or customer chat on one screen and quickly dig into files and other documents on the other for better faster response and reporting.
Of course, there are a few downsides to adding another screen to your setup. An obvious one is the cost of an additional piece of equipment.
Also, you need to figure out how to set it up and configure the two monitors.
And if you’re using two monitors on a standing desk or smaller surface, you may need to be a little more creative.
But once you’ve made the decision to add another monitor, it helps to review the following ergonomic tips to make sure you’re working comfortably and reducing any risk of injury.
Ergonomic Tips for Dual Monitor Setups
Tip #1: Try to use the same size monitors to keep things level and even. This way your gaze will be steady and head/neck posture won’t change when looking between the two screens.
Tip #2: If you are using different size monitors (i.e. a desktop monitor and laptop), keep the center of each screen at the same height. This will accomplish the same goal as tip #1.
Tip #3: Position your monitors at about an arm’s length distance. This will give you a comfortable viewing distance that’s not too far so you don’t have to lean forward or strain your eyes.
Tip #4: Do not leave a big gap between the two monitors. Ideally, you’ll set up the screens without any gap. This keeps things closer so you can remain centered in front of both screens without much side-to-side movement.
Tip #5: Tilt each screen up at a 15° angle for better viewing posture.
Tip #6: Make it easier on your eyes by using similar or same levels of brightness, contrast, and font size between the two screens.
Tip #7: If you are using one of the two monitors for a longer period of time, make sure you position the primary monitor directly in front of you to avoid straining your neck.
Tip #8: If you normally use one of the monitors more than the other, keep the primary screen positioned directly in font of you, and place your secondary monitor to the left or right behind the primary monitor at a 30° angle.
Tip #9: If you use both monitors an equal amount of time – make sure you place them at an open V angle. This will allow you to stay centered in front of both screens.
Tip #10: Always remember to keep good ergonomic practices in mind no matter how many monitors you decide to use, including:
- Ears in line with shoulder and hips for correct posture
- Feet resting flat on the floor or on a footrest
- Back is properly supported with an S-curve backrest and additional lumbar support if necessary
- Use a chair with plenty of adjustability options (visit our complete Buyer’s Guide to learn more)
- Keep your mouse, keyboard and any other frequently used work devices or pads at elbow height and on the same level
- Make sure you get up to move around and stretch a bit at least every hour. Although we prefer more often than that (i.e. every 20 minutes or so).
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of using two monitors, following these tips should help you stay comfortable and pain free while maximizing your productivity during the workday.