While only 9% of UK working-age adults in 1998 used computers at home daily, in 2006 that figure increased to 57% and again to 83% in 2013.
The ‘age of information’ requires business leaders, managers and other staff alike to improve on information processing power, versatility and multi-tasking ability to keep up with the demands of modern-day working life. Computers and the technology at large are getting faster, and ‘smarter’ meaning higher-resolution screens and faster processors are available at our convenience at lower and more affordable prices.
Many considerations need to be addressed with regards to the efficiency with which these devices are being used, such as their health and economic effects on the workforce and direct links to business objectives of the company.
Most frequent long-term illnesses affecting individuals in the workplace have been associated with lack of ergonomic office planning resulting in poorly designed office facilities. Examples of that include Musculoskeletal Disorders (MDS) such as neck, shoulders, back or arm pain, as well as fatigue and eyestrain. In fact, back pain in 2012 alone was so prevalent amongst the UK workforce that it was estimated to cost the economy £37 million per day.
Those costs build up over time and affect the company’s economic standing. An average London firm of 250 employees is estimated to lose around £4,800 per week (or around £250,000 a year) due to sickness absence. Also, let us not forget the indirect costs that can be up to twenty times the direct cost of an injury. Indirect costs resulting from worker absenteeism such as the cost of replacement workers, training the replacement workers, associated recruitments costs, loss and delay in productivity and any other expenses for health care and compensation claims.
Other potential employer ramifications include high staff turnover, low morale and low employee satisfaction that all affect the productivity of individuals and company as a whole.
Published studies by the University of Utah and ATI Technologies of 108 university and non-university personnel indicate that having multiple monitors in a workplace setting can increase productivity by 20 to 50%. Results suggested that production of work was of a better quality, it was performed at a faster speed and with fewer errors. Task focus of the user along with their speed and ease of learning were also increased.
An article entitled ‘Two Screens Are Better than One’ claims that a study commissioned by Microsoft Research team involving a series of mundane office tasks found an increase of productivity by 9 to 50%.
Another study undertaken for Fujitsu Siemens Computers found that workspaces equipped with three displays increase employees’ productivity by 35.5%. Employees can perform their work more efficiently particularly in jobs where digital information has to be processed very frequently, as is the case for traders, analysts, scientists, engineers or programmers.
Having all of those direct and indirect costs combined gives an incentive of planning an ergonomic space for employees to prevent Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs). Poor choice of a setting for Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and lack of ergonomic planning often result in long-term illnesses that bring many years of long-term financial repercussions for employers. Academic research supports the claim of financial return on investment ratio on ergonomic facilities ranges 3:1 to 15:1 for any prospective employer.
7 proven benefits of using multiple monitor solutionsin the workplace
1. Improved productivity
Having access to several screens running different applications simultaneously saves time and allows undertaking multiple operations at the same time. An employee can import data from one program into another or analyse a wider context using multiple sources. That set up is very productive in many industries and occupations.
2. Higher flexibility
Increased desktop space from raising screens by monitor support comes in handy and allows for more a flexible and organised workstation.
Moreover, multiple-screen monitor support can be combined with a laptop and tablet that is very convenient for employees that need to do presentations in meetings and for remote workers or employees travelling on business.
3. Reduced cost
Reducing risk factors incurring MSDs and other DSE-related illnesses reduces significantly the risks and presents an opportunity for cost-saving.
4. Employee satisfaction
Higher employee satisfaction increases significantly as their physical and psychological well-being are taken care of. Working in a hunched position negatively affects both their physical health but also increases stress levels and promotes poor morale.
5. Company reputation
A great workplace is built on trust and trust drives business performance. In fact, the majority of FTSE 100 and Fortune ‘best companies to work for’ adhere to ergonomic planning ideas to make their offices more accessible and welcoming to the staff. Just look at Google: they have turned designing an office space into a magnet that attracts more talent. You do not have to spend a fortune to design offices like Google, but the principle is the same. Using ergonomic furniture for office workers makes your company look like it cares more about the employees’ well-being.
6. Talent retention
Employees notice and appreciate when their employer puts the effort to ensure their health and comfort while working. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce staff turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.
7. Commitment to safety and quality
Are quality and safety important to your company? What about your company’s clients? Commitment to safety standards and quality procedures reinforces the message that your company follows all the safety guidelines that takes care of their products and services just as much as their employees.
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