One of my pet peeves is not having enough screen real estate to do my job. While it is common to buy new computers every 3 years, or less in some cases, it is also common to see those new PC's connected to old monitors, often 5 years old or older, and almost always small.
This is a problem, and really a big mistake. First of all, the entire computing experience is through the monitor. The less space you have on that screen, the more you have to jump back and forth between applications. All day long. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?
Frankly, you should think about your monitor like your desk. It would be hard to be efficient and effective on a 2′ desk, now wouldn't it? All of your important stuff could not even sit on the desk at the same time, and reading any papers would take the whole space. I can't imaging anyone with a 2′ desk. Well, that is what you have if you have a single 19″ or smaller monitor.
For the average PC user, you are using several applications at once throughout the day. Email is always open, Excel is open, Word is open, and perhaps even some line of business application is open. We work on these periodically while always jumping back to email. A large monitor, or FAR better, two large monitors, would allow you to work on these applications without jumping back and forth. It saves productivity and frustration. It also simply speeds up the completion of many tasks.
In my case, two large screens allow me to have spreadsheets displayed in a way so I am not scrolling all the time to see everything I need to see at once and keep email live on the screen. It seems like such a simple thing: Don't put those new PC's on ancient monitors! Really, anything under 21″ is absolutely in need of an upgrade! You productivity will increase, and morale will increase. Everyone loves getting a new monitor!
The best news is that monitors are not that expensive! Here are a few great choices –
The Viewsonic VX2450wm – LED which is a 24″ screen for $180
The Dell S2230MX which is a 22″ screen for $170
The HP 2311x which is a 23″ screen for $160
Personally, I'd go with the 23″ minimum or the 24″ for another twenty bucks if you can swing it. You will be amazed by the increased functionality you will have with that expensive PC! Next time you set your IT budget, seriously look at your monitor inventory and start upgrading to newer larger screens, and where possible to two per user (for those who will benefit). It will be a smart investment in your employees productivity.
Happy (and productive) computing!