Monday 24 March 2014

Digital Desk Ratio

For a long time I've thought there's a disconnect in business regarding the most efficient amout of 'digital' real estate on a knowledge worker's desk.  I.e. office staff tend to have big desks and small computer monitors.

I have worked in the Investment Banking industry for many years so maybe I'm more used than most to seeing desks that look like this:
I could understand some people looking at the image above would think that it's an unusual requirement for an unusual business with no relevance elsewhere, but below is an image of how computer gamers would be happy to have their desktop setup:
 In a nutshell, I believe there is significant cultural baggage associated with the 'normal' size of office digital real estate which acts against a reasonable expectation that users would have more screen real estate because:

  1. Our business lives have become more digital
  2. The cost of LCD displays has become so low as to be irrelevant for most office workers

There must be good reasons why most office workers have a lot of desk and not a lot of digital display space. Perhaps those reasons include:

  1. The 'cultural norm' I alluded to earlier (a single 20" screen looks 'normal')
  2. Maybe connecting multiple displays appears technically complicated to some
  3. There is still an expectation of a business case to justify the investment even though the screens are now $150.
  4. No-one is asking the IT department to improve the digital desk ratio (the ratio of digital screen area to desk area)
For the record, my office Digital Desk Ratio is 22.1%.

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