Multiple monitors always implied that you were getting work done. It became the stack of folders, the row of file cabinets for the digital age. And it did make sense, at least in theory.
More screen real estate meant you could have multiple programs on each monitor and save time switching between things like email and writing programs.
But that easy access to work brings with it the easy access to play.
With no truly objective studies done on the subject, the only research we have has been sponsored by those with a vested interest in multiple monitors: the manufacturers.
According to the New York Times, the drawbacks may not be worth the added benefit. In the words of Gloria Mark, a professor who studies workplace distractions at the University of California, Irvine, “Two monitors are a double-edged sword.”
The Times cites studies that show how often workers are interrupted by external distractions like phone calls and random workplace conversations: every four to 11 minutes.
And as it may take up to 25 minutes to get refocused, the lack of productivity due to distractions will certainly add up.