Millions of people have been forced to work from home since March of this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This move has not been painful for mobile workers as they have learned to use laptops on the road and at home to work for decades.
But for many who only worked from the office, this transition to working from home has been a two-edged sword. It is excellent that they no longer have to commute to an office and can work in the comfort of their own home. But it has also proved to be a challenge when only using either a laptop or desktop for their work, especially when they need to be doing many tasks simultaneously.
Many workers with school-aged children also have to manage their work-at-home time and also help their kids with their classes, now being done virtually at home.
During this time, I have had many friends and family ask about how best to work from home, knowing that I have to test all types of laptops, monitors, and peripherals.
I always tell them that since I have been a road warrior since 1985, the laptop computer has been my PC of choice. Before we were all forced to eschew travel since March of this year, I was often on the road and traveled anywhere between 50,000-100,000 miles per year. That meant that I had to carry a mobile computer and work from anywhere I happen to be.
However, when I am working at home, I tell them my secret weapon to boost productivity is to connect my laptop to a large monitor. In that sense, I have been doing that for decades using monitors up to 29 inches.
These larger screens make it easier to read even small text, now displayed on the large monitor, and reduce eye strain immensely.
About five years ago, multiple PC companies started releasing what is known as widescreen monitors, ranging from 34 inches to 49 inches. And some of them had curved screens, making them even easier to read and use.
Since I was accustomed to using a large monitor, I was intrigued by these new widescreen curved monitors, so I bought Dells’ early model of their 34-inch version.
With this monitor, my work at home productivity increased exponentially. What changed? With a widescreen monitor, one can work with up to four apps or websites side by side and makes multitasking a breeze.
Since so much of my time is taken up by email, writing, and research, I split my screen into three sections on the curved monitor at home. On a 34” screen, all apps get equal space. I also have a 49” curved monitor in my office, where I can simultaneously fit four apps or functions.
On the far left of the screen is the email program that I can monitor at will. The middle is Microsoft’s Word app or one of the writing programs that I use to compose reports and my articles. And on the right is a web browser that has multiple tabs open for me to quickly scan programs like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and at least 7 or 8 other web sites that offer tech and world news.
When I am writing, I can easily use my web browser to search for any content I might need for any report or story I am working on at any given time. In many cases, I can just cut and paste stats or quotes or take an image and drag it from a web article right into the Word document I am using for my article or report.
When working on a spreadsheet, I might have three different spreadsheets open side by side for comparison purposes. Having three live working apps available on a widescreen monitor makes multitasking a breeze.
I realize that for some people having a large widescreen monitor is not an option. Perhaps there is not have space for it, or it is too expensive, although prices have come down quite a bit since I bought my 34” curved monitor five years ago.
And for some, a large widescreen monitor might be considered a luxury, and they do fine with only a laptop or desktop.
I understand that point of view and respect it.
However, after five years of experience using a large widescreen monitor, I can say that for me, and others who have used these types of monitors, they are worth it if you have space and can afford it.
The increased productivity you can get that allows this level of multitasking changes the workflow and, at least in my case, makes my working from home so much better and lets me get more done in a shorter time.