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Double monitors for lawyers as a two-edged sword

I have been meaning to write another post about a law department where the lawyers have double monitors (See my post of Jan. 18, 2008: multiple monitors.). As I spent time in a second law department so handsomely outfitted, I envied the double, large, flat screens everyone has. No more switching between email and the document you are working on! No more calling up the calculator in a cramped area or sizing windows to meet your needs!

But having just written a blog post on energy-saving suggestions (See my post of Nov. 9, 2008: three more pro-environment ideas.), I realized that the monitors consume twice as much energy. Hmmm, where are our priorities? Second, I recalled that people cannot efficiently multi-task, so perhaps the productivity gains from two screens are illusory.

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One response to “Double monitors for lawyers as a two-edged sword”

  1. I’ve been using 2 monitors for years – the one on my laptop simultaneously with an external. Huge productivity gains, when, for example, I am writing one one screen and can keep my notes, source material etc. open on the other one. It probably increases my productivity 25-40% overall.
    In terms of environmental impact, I can say that I print a lot less. So much of my printing used to be so I could refer to it while working. I’ve never actually done the cost-benefit of less printing vs. energy used by the external monitor, but there is at least some counterbalance.