EIZO monitors are an attractive option for hybrid workers thanks to their ergonomic features and a competitive total cost of ownership
Are your hybrid workers as productive at home as they are in the office or are their efforts being hampered by inadequate, uncomfortable technology? Equally, are they making the most of their time in the office or do they waste valuable minutes getting to grips with unfamiliar settings and work tools whenever they return to the corporate workplace?
You may have given your staff laptops to provide a seamless transition between working at home and in the office, but what about monitors? Have you equipped your hybrid and remote workers with a high quality, ergonomic monitor or do you expect them to use their laptop screen or make do with any old monitor they have lying around the house?
Dave Hadden, Head of Solutions at EIZO, argues that too many businesses fall into the trap of assuming that ‘a monitor is just a monitor’, which he says is like saying ‘a car is just a car’ and completely ignores the first rule of monitor buying, which is to choose a model based on the job you want it to do and where it is going to be used.
With 70 models in its line-up, EIZO has a solution for pretty much Spend more, save more any requirement, from specialist monitors for film editing, medical, video surveillance and air traffic control to high quality, ergonomic monitors for general office work and colour-critical graphics applications.
Its office offering, suitable for office based, remote and hybrid workers, includes two core ranges: FlexScan general purpose desktop monitors with pre-calibrated colour; and ColorEdge colour accurate monitors for the small percentage of office workers who need to know that the colour they see onscreen is exactly how it will be printed or projected.
With AI-driven uniform colour correction across the entire screen area, the ColorEdge range includes models with built-in colour calibration and hoods to prevent distractions and on-screen reflections. The latest models (and high-end FlexScan monitors) also have a built-in RJ45 network connection so that users working with, say, very large video files have the option to plug in a wired network cable and enjoy fast, stable data transfer rates as well as access to other network resources. This can also be used to connect virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) endpoints.
Traditionally, EIZO FlexScan and ColorEdge monitors have been deployed in offices, but with the rise of hybrid working over the last two years they are increasingly being used in employees’ home offices for use with a laptop, often with a matching model in the corporate workplace to provide a consistent experience across all work locations.
Hadden points out that EIZO is well placed to help business customers make the transition to a hybrid working model thanks to features it originally introduced to support hot desking initiatives.
“A lot of the products that came out during the pandemic we had started developing 18 to 24 months earlier for flexible working, for docking, for home working, before we had any idea a pandemic was coming. Many of our larger corporate customers were wanting to reduce their owned office footprint and instead of having a seat for 100% of their employees were providing seats for 80% and encouraging people to work from home some of the time and to hot desk when they came into the office. We were designing products to support that, so when the pandemic hit we had the features people needed.”
As examples, Hadden highlights a single USB-C connection between monitor and laptop, the ability to use the monitor as a docking unit and the easy daisy-chaining of up to four monitors with a single cable connection between each one.
“We designed our single USB for hot desking, not really thinking about home working because it was less of a thing at the time, but as it happens it works beautifully for home working too. The single USB-C gives you a video connection but also a 70W power supply back into the laptop, while multiple USB ports on the monitor itself give you the ability to plug in a keyboard, mouse and other items.”
Using an EIZO monitor as a docking station gives laptop users the benefits of a bigger screen and separate webcam, keyboard and mouse, while making it quick and easy to connect/disconnect a laptop when moving between home and office.
In this context, Hadden draws attention to a piece of software that lets laptop users take their preferred monitor settings with them from location to location.
“One of the features on our FlexScan range is a piece of software called Screen InStyle, which contains a Colour Briefcase that you load on your laptop. This stores how you like to set up your monitor and when you take that laptop and plug it into another FlexScan monitor in a different location, it automatically applies your preferred settings.
“If you like to run everything in sRGB mode but like to view Word and Excel in our Paper Mode, which has a soft, sepia like tone that’s easier on the eyes, the software will change the settings on the monitor being used as soon as you open Word. If you then open Chrome, it will go back to sRGB mode because that’s the colour of the internet.”
Ergonomics and wellbeing
In addition to its productivity benefits, the single USB-C cable on FlexScan and ColorEdge monitors reduces desktop clutter, for example by removing the need for a separate (often less efficient) power supply for a laptop and by enabling the daisy-chaining of multiple monitors with a single cable between each one.
This may sound trivial, but it has real benefits for users with limited desk space at home and is one of several ways in which EIZO monitors can contribute to the wellbeing of remote and hybrid workers.
Others include the industry’s largest vertical movement to ensure a monitor can be set at the right height for any user, plus tilt and swivel adjustability; options to reduce blue-light levels; and Auto-EcoView sensors on EIZO FlexScan monitors which measure ambient light levels and adjust screen brightness accordingly to reduce eye strain.
Features such as these are becoming more important for business buyers who are increasingly aligning procurement decisions with ESG and employee wellbeing goals, for example by giving hybrid workers the same ergonomic features and high-quality flicker-free images in their home offices that they enjoy in corporate environments.
As well as being good for monitor users, this focus can have a positive impact on total cost of ownership (TCO). For example, the Auto-EcoView feature on FlexScan monitors doesn’t just reduce eyestrain and provide a comfortable working environment but can also reduce energy consumption by as much as 50%. Similarly, EIZO’s EcoView Optimizer feature saves energy by automatically reducing backlight levels according to the content being viewed.
Spend more, save more
Hadden points out that EIZO has traditionally been successful in selling to large organisations that prioritise total cost of ownership (TCO) in procurement decisions and are prepared to spend a little more on high quality, energy efficient Japanese-made monitors that in the long run will save a lot more on energy costs and maintenance.
“Many of our customers are large organisations that pay a lot of attention to the TCO of products. They look at things like power consumption, things like the length of warranty. They look at the cost of a failure. What does it cost the IT department to swap out a failed unit? They look at power consumption, recognising that if they can save a few watts on the monitor, they will be able to save even more on the aircon needed to cool offices.”
In this context, a big attraction of EIZO monitors is that they come with a five-year warranty, rather than the industry standard 3-year term. In the case of ColorEdge monitors, this is an on-site warranty.
“If your ColorEdge monitor fails, we will troubleshoot it and if there is a problem with the monitor, we will send an engineer out with a replacement monitor because for someone doing this quality of work it is probably their livelihood. We will take the unit away, repair it and then bring it back. It is phenomenally expensive to do and the only reason we can do it, with tens of thousands of units in the field, is because our monitors are so reliable.”
Other attractions for corporate buyers, says Hadden, are the low levels of churn in EIZO’s product portfolio – “If you buy a 27in monitor today and you want to buy the same one two years later, you will be fine as we tend to turn our models over every 5 or 6 years” – and management software that lets administrators monitor settings and usage across an entire estate.
Japanese build quality does cost a little more. However, Hadden is confident that as businesses consider the costs and benefits of supporting large numbers of hybrid workers they will see the value in taking a more considered approach to IT procurement and breaking the established technology cycle of ‘buying cheap and replacing often’.
“Compared to the cost of the person on the seat in front of it, the cost of the monitor is negligible. Just making someone 1% more efficient and encouraging them to spend 1% more time at their desk is worth at least £1,000 in salary over the 5-year warranty period. And most monitors don’t cost anywhere near that,” he says.