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Workplaces with three displays increase productivity by 35.5 percent


In a Fraunhofer IAO laboratory survey, participants who used a three-display workplace completed tasks faster and more accurately than in a conventional one-display scenario

Employees can perform a typical knowledge-sector job much more efficiently at a three-display workplace than at a conventional one, according to a laboratory survey by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO). This is particularly relevant for jobs where digital information has to be processed very frequently, as is the case, for example, with scientists, editors, engineers or insurance company employees. Overall, the study showed that larger screen areas increase productivity – and with the 3-display workplace all interconnected to form one desktop, Fraunhofer IAO scientists recorded increased productivity of 35.5 percent. The study, performed as part of the OFFICE 21® research project, was supported by Fujitsu Siemens Computers who provided the test displays and PCs.

The Fraunhofer experts began the study with a test in which all 67 people completed the same task at a conventional workplace with a 19-inch display. The experts calculated a productivity benchmark to use as a reference, based on the time required and the points achieved for correctly solved partial tasks. They then divided the participants into three groups: group 1 completed the next task using a 19-inch display; group 2 was allowed to use a 22-inch widescreen display and group 3 was given a three-display workplace consisting of three 19-inch displays interconnected to form one workplace – as designed by the OFFICE 21® Information Worker’s Workplace. An example of this multi-display workplace will be on display at Intel’s stand at CeBIT in pavilion 33. Intel is also a partner in the OFFICE21® project alliance.

The results of the experiment were amazing. While group 1 increased productivity on the task by only 1.9 percent (based on the learning effect), group 2 increased efficiency by 8.4 percent. Group 3 was extremely productive, as participants in this group were 35.5 percent more efficient in completing the task. The users’ reaction was also very positive; a survey of participants revealed that the test participants in groups 2 and 3 were on average considerably more satisfied with their display system and the associated convenience of such a workplace.

“Our laboratory survey clearly documents that a large display can result in an enormous growth in productivity, particularly with regard to a knowledge-sector job”, says Udo-Ernst Haner, Head of the Competence Team ‘Information Work Innovation’ at Fraunhofer IAO. “It is also remarkable that this effect was achieved at the very first time. Further optimization potential is possible with the appropriate staff training courses and an improved layout of the information on the display.”

Thomas Karg, Senior Director Marketing Fujitsu Siemens Computers added, “As the leading European IT infrastructure provider with a fast growing display business, it was extremely important for us to support this trend-setting Fraunhofer IAO laboratory survey using our displays and PCs. Our developers are looking daily at how a future workplace will look as well as how productivity, employee satisfaction and ecological challenges can be amalgamated in highly innovative products. Findings such as those of Fraunhofer IAO are specifically incorporated in our innovation processes and help us launch trend-setting products.”

Pictures of a three display scenario will be available for download at:

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