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What to Look for in an Office Chair

Office workers spend the vast majority of their day sitting in a chair in front of a computer, and this can wreak havoc on the body’s natural posture, causing strain in the shoulders, back, arms, upper legs and more. Luckily, with the right office chair, your employees can rediscover correct posture that helps keep those issues at bay. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know where to start when you’re looking for the best chair for you. Something that works for one person may not work for another and if you’re someone who doesn’t do a lot of shopping, you might not even know what to look for. Let’s see if we can pick out a type of chair that will keep your employees comfortable all day long so that they can focus on moving your business forward.

Where to Start?

Aeron Chair by Herman Miller

Start with Ergonomics: We often think of the term “ergonomic” to mean “comfortable,” but it’s much more nuanced than that. The word actually refers to an applied science that uses design and arrangement of a variety of tools and objects to ensure people are interacting with them in an efficient, safe manner. When it comes to office chairs, ergonomic design simply means that people can use it in a manner that best suits their specific physicality.

An unsupportive office chair, on the other hand … well, that can lead to far less productivity, as well as a variety of health issues such as a strained back, discomfort of the legs and carpal tunnel syndrome.

You may be thinking, “But office workers — and people in general — come in a variety of body types. How can one type of chair do the same job for everyone?” The answer comes in the form of adjustability.

Many studies have shown that an ergonomic office chair does more than just give its user a comfy place to sit — it actually can increase an office worker’s productivity while maximizing their efficiency.

An unsupportive office chair, on the other hand … well, that can lead to far less productivity, as well as a variety of health issues such as a strained back, discomfort of the legs and carpal tunnel syndrome.

You may be thinking, “But office workers — and people in general — come in a variety of body types. How can one type of chair do the same job for everyone?” The answer comes in the form of adjustability.

Trea by Humanscale

The Importance of Adjustable Features: In order for a 5’6” employee and a 6’3” employee to get the same benefits from the same chair, it has to be adjustable, and without the help of tools — a worker should be able to quickly and conveniently adjust the chair to meet their needs. There are a large number of office chairs that are adjustable in a variety of ways, all of which are highly beneficial to your employees.

One of the first things to look for is the ability to adjust the height of the seat. The ideal height for every employee should be one where their thighs are parallel to the floor, with their feet flat on the ground. Dangling legs cause one to lean forward more than necessary pulling your back out of alignment. And if your knees are above the seat, you’re putting yourself into a hunched position — again, not great for the back.

You’ll also want to be able to adjust the backrest, of which there are two kinds. If the backrest is attached to the chair’s seat, you’ll want to make sure you can move it back and forth so that your employee can position it in a manner that best suits their task. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be height adjustable to hit the user in the right place, and it should be able to change its angle to increase comfort.

Patterson Office Chair by Bernhardt

Basic Comfort Necessities: There are also some standard comfort amenities you should look for in your office chair purchase. One of these is support for the back’s lumbar region — the lower back. This can be achieved with a contoured backrest, and it’s not uncommon to find an adjustable bar that provides extra support right where the user needs it most.

The optimal lower back position should be slightly arched at all times, which helps minimize pressure and strain on the spine’s lumbar discs.

You’ll also want to make sure the seat is wide and deep for comfortable sitting. When an office worker is sitting with their back against the backrest, there should be two to four inches of space between the seat and the backs of their knees. You don’t want a seat that’s too long, as it can strain the legs and back. Likewise, you don’t want a seat that’s too narrow, as it can’t fully conform to every worker’s backside.

Gravity by i5 Industries

Optional-but-Smart-Amenities: Look for breathable seat material, as well as a healthy amount of padding. This allows the entire body to better maintain its temperature, while also adding comfort. A swivel can make it easier to adjust your position around your desk, as well as make turning to stand a more natural motion. And with casters, employees can easily push their chair back without having to make awkward motions.

About the Author...

The Systems Team

The Systems Team

Our marketing team works together to produce blogs that are informative, insightful, and inspiring. We consult experts in the office furniture industry to make sure that our information is not only useful, but as accurate as possible.

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