How Many Monitors Should You Have? 3 Tips for an Ergonomic Monitor Setup


Woman in the office working from a poorly designed ergonomic monitor setup.

The right ergonomic monitor setup can make all the difference to your workday. A good monitor arrangement can improve your productivity, reduce your frustration and number of mistakes. Many office workers will tell you that once you find the right monitor arrangement, you can never go back.

Is One Monitor Enough? 

For some workers, one monitor is all they need. They only use one program during their workday and complete one task at a time, so they spend little time flicking between windows.

When is it Handy to Have Multiple Monitors at Work?

If you spend your work day toggling between multiple software programs, email, team chat, a CRM, social media accounts and a dozen websites, you’re a good candidate for working on multiple monitors.

Productivity Gains

Switching between all these windows on one screen takes precious time out of your day. Having one monitor dedicated to one activity and another monitor (or two) for other activities, you can spend less time opening and closing windows and more time doing productive work. If you are working with a dual monitor setup and begin noticing that you are not as productive as usual, you can look at making small changes to your workstation while keeping the same number of monitors.

If you are using a single monitor, there’s good reason to try adding a second one to your setup. This is because a second monitor can increase productivity by 20-30%, particularly if you’re working a job where you may undertake any of the following tasks:

  • Data entry

  • Writing an email or document using source material

  • Using a graphic design program and comparing two images against each other

  • Spanning a large spreadsheet across two monitors 

  • Leaving chat or email inbox open on one screen while you work on the other

How to Know if Your Multi-Monitor Setup isn’t Working

More is not always better when it comes to monitors. There are a number of questions you can ask yourself when it comes to having multiple monitors as part of your setup in order to know if it’s working for you.

Are You Struggling to Concentrate?

For some workers, the more monitors and windows they have open, the more distracted they are. Some people feel they can concentrate better if there is just one screen and one program to look at. Multiple monitors can lead to multi-tasking and that’s often a recipe for poor productivity.

Is Your Desk Suitable?

Not everyone has the luxury of a large enough desk that can cope with multiple monitors. If you don’t have an arm's distance between you and the edge of your desk, multiple monitors might make you feel surrounded by screens if you don’t have a desk that is suited to this type of setup. A sturdy desk is also required to hold the weight of multiple monitors and possibly a monitor arm to hold them in place.

Does Your Standing Desk Converter Accommodate Multiple Screens?

Some standing desk converters can’t accommodate multiple screens. Before you buy new monitors, check that you have the space and know how you will stand or secure the monitors to your desk, otherwise you may need to buy a new desk or desk converter that can accommodate your new monitors.

3 Tips for an Ergonomic Monitor Setup

It’s important to ensure your monitor setup is ergonomic so that you don’t increase your risk of an injury.

#1 Sit in the Right Spot

If you use one monitor for the majority of your workday and a second monitor for smaller tasks like checking your email, set up the workstation so that you sit in front of the main monitor and have the secondary monitor to the side.

If you will use two or more monitors fairly equally because you need to reference one or more screens, it’s best to sit in the middle of the screens so you aren’t turning your head in one direction all day.

#2 Consider the Height of Your Monitors

Ideally, your monitors should be the same size and height so that your eyes are level with the top ⅓ of your screen. Using a monitor arm will allow you to easily adjust the height of your monitors and keep them secured to the desk. There are monitor arms available that are equipped to handle one, two, three and even four monitors.

Your head and neck should be comfortably balanced over your spine while working, as this helps to reduce the risk of a neck or shoulder injury. However, if your laptop is one of the screens, use a laptop stand or monitor riser to lift it well off the desk surface so that you can limit your up-and-down head movement due to the monitor being positioned higher than the laptop.

#3 Keep Distance Between You and the Monitor

The distance between your face and the monitors should be comfortable. If your monitor is too far away, you’ll find yourself craning your head forward to see the screen, or perhaps even slouching. Arm length is around the recommended distance. 

If you’re using multiple computer monitors it’s important to give your eyes a break from the screen. Stand up and walk around the office at least hourly if possible to look long distance rather than short distance all day.

For more information about monitor arms, visit our Perth showroom, call 08 9240 7066 to speak to our experienced team at Ergolink or contact us online.