Much of the professional world has switched over to a two-monitor setup. I can’t even begin to imagine how I ever did with just one since I am now so used to having a help or a search open just outside of my main viewing area. Having reference material in my peripheral vision but accessible just by turning my head is much faster and less disruptive than having the fumble around the task bar and switch the focus of my attention.

It is said that switching tasks takes time - some users report productivity reductions of up to 15 minutes each time they have to change their focus of attention. If a programmer has to look at the documentation only once per day, their employer is looking at 1.25 hours of lost productivity every week, which may not seem like much but when extrapolated to that person’s yearly wage (averaging at $78k) the cost of the lost productivity is worth approximately $2400; much cheaper to buy that $500 monitor. For the general programmer, you can get by with less - a 17-inch LCD retails for less than $200. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

The same logic can be applied to the purchase of an entire system. What is the productivity cost of having to wait for downloads and load times over the cost of a new system? Even if no new revenue is generated by the company directly as a result of the software or hardware purchase it can be worthwhile to invest in new equipment. Why hire someone and not provide them with the best tools possible to do their job? It’s kind of like putting a Mazda engine inside a Ford (wait a minute…)

  • improved satisifaction

  • reduced ‘switching’ time

  • employees more knowledgable with ‘current/cutting edge’ software

There was a time in the early industrial revolution when buying equipment and machinery was prohibitively expensive, and people could be trained to keep old hardware running for many years in order to maximize that equipment’s value to the company.

Today the reverse is true - computer hardware can be acquired at a fraction of a cost of the person needed to run it - and the training involved in having someone fill the shoes of a departed worker can be crippling to the bottom line of a business. Instead of trying to make machines last as long as possible it should be the priority of any manager to make the people last as long as possible. In a world where individual jobs are replaceable and just a stepping stone to “something better”, volumes are said by the simple act of someone staying in their role for a prolonged amount of time - both about the worker and about the quality of the employer they give their time for.