You spend a lot of time sitting behind your desk. It’s where the magic happens. But at the end of the day, your back hurts and your legs are a little numb — all thanks to your chair. This isn’t healthy for you or your team.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re ready to find better seating options. And an ergonomic office chair is exactly what you need. In order to find the one best suited for your office, however, there are a few things you should know. So let’s start with the basics.
What are ergonomic office chairs?
An ergonomic chair is one is suited for your body, your work area and the job you’re there to do. Many office furniture manufacturers tout their chairs and other products as “ergonomic,” so be careful of the hype. The proof is in the putting, well sitting in this case.
How to choose an ergonomic office chair
And that’s the only way to find the most comfortable office chair for you — sit in a few. Your ergonomic chair should be both comfortable and supportive, while also encouraging better posture. The seat height should be adjustable so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and wide enough so you can sit comfortably. The seat should also be deep enough for you to sit with your back against the backrest and still have a few inches between your knees and the edge of the seat.
A truly ergonomic chair will have lumbar support (adjustable, of course) to keep you from slouching and prevent lower back pain. The chair’s backrest should be wide enough to support your back and adjustable based on your height. And don’t forget composition! The chair’s material should be comfortable and breathable with plenty of padding to keep you from getting a numb bum.
How to adjust an ergonomic office chair
Once you’re seated in the chair, you’ll find several levers to help you achieve maximum comfort. Start by adjusting the seat’s base until it’s just below your kneecap. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground and feet flat on the floor. Make sure there’s a clearance of two to four inches between the backs of your knees and the edge of the seat.
Benefit: This position keeps the circulation flowing in your legs, preventing the “pins and needles” you get when you sit for a long time.
Then, adjust the lumbar support to ensure it connects with your lower back. Adjust the seat angle so that it tilts comfortably without any pressure to the backs of your thighs.
Benefit: This adjustment helps you to sit up straighter, promotes good posture and reduces lower back pain — a danger for anyone with a desk job.
Types of ergonomic office chairs
Who knew there were so many types of ergonomic office chairs available? Here are the essential differences:
- Traditional ergonomic chairs will have “normal” chair elements, including a back, seat, armrests and likely wheels. They come in a variety of materials and shapes, from posh, executive chairs made from leather to chairs reminiscent of “Starship Troopers” crafted with mesh backs, mesh seats, and antennae-like adjustment levers. And of course, there are many options that fall somewhere between executive and “space bug.”
- Kneeling chairs might look a little unconventional, but they can be great for short periods of time. Kneeling chairs keep your hips in an open, forward position, forcing your back to align into a straight posture. Kneeling chair enthusiasts claim the chairs cut down on neck and low back pain.
Saddle chairs have some of the same benefits of a kneeling chair in that they promote an open hip position that helps with proper posture and circulation. An added benefit to saddle chairs is that they cause you to balance, promoting a healthier core. These space-saving chairs come in one-piece and two-piece designs.
Which is the best ergonomic office chair?
It’s best to match the chair to the task. Some chair options are best for a single task, and others can support you with all your office tasks.
- Reclining chairs are good for people with degenerative discs or spinal stenosis.
- Forward posture chairs, like saddle chairs and kneeling chairs, are good for activities that require you to lean forward.
- Upright chairs, like the traditional ones, are multi-functional.
What are the benefits of ergonomic office chairs
There are lots of benefits to ergonomic office chairs, which is why so many companies are investing in better office furniture. Employees with happier backs make for happier companies. Some of the benefits include:
- Higher productivity
- Fewer worker’s compensation claims
- Reduced health risks
- Employees with less neck, hip, and back pain
- Employees without compromised blood circulation
How do you know when it’s time to replace an office chair?
There is nothing to gain by keeping an office chair for too long. Once this important piece of office furniture has reached the end of its useful life it’s time to replace it. But how do you know when it’s time? Here is a helpful checklist:
- Is your chair comfortable?
- Are you experiencing aches and pains after sitting a long time?
- Is the chair frayed or cracked?
- Is it broken in any way?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for a new chair.
Who should pick out the chair?
Who should pick out your office chair? The short answer is, well, you. Whoever is using the chair the most should try it out. If an office is ordering chairs for employees, it’s best if several sample chairs are presented so that the right person gets the right type of chair.
Need help choosing the best ergonomic chairs for your team? We’re here to help. Give us a ring at 877.779.3409, or use this contact form to get in touch.