As an employee you will spend a large percentage of your day seated and if your chair of choice isn’t carefully selected then this can have a major impact on your working life. Think of it like this – the average office based employee works for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week resulting in a total of 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month and 1,920 hours a year. If you then multiply this figure by the average amount of years worked by an employee in a lifetime then you have…well, an awful lot of time spent in your office chair (don’t worry the calculation part is now done). So, do you now agree that choosing the correct office chair is important? I hope so.
When selecting an office chair, ergonomics is important, however for many employers this isn’t always the first consideration. Often an office chair is considered an extension of the office décor so for this reason only the aesthetics get considered – employers ask themselves whether the chair fits their office space and whether it looks good. However, the design and ergonomic benefits should always be a key consideration. One of the reasons why ergonomics shouldn’t be ignored by management is because many studies show that using an ergonomic office chair in the workplace can help reduce repetitive work injuries, resulting in a reduction in sick time.
Exactly What Should I Look For?
Adjustable Backrest/Lumbar Support – Adjustable backrests are a crucial feature for ergonomic office chairs. They allow the user to take the pressure off of their upper back by adjusting to your posture and movement – in turn reducing the stress on the muscles and disks. Adjustability will allow the lumbar support to change according to the user’s size (height and weight). As well as adjustability an office chair requires fitted lumbar support, which means that the backrest fits with the curve of the back maintaining the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine resulting in improved comfort.
Adjustable Armrests – Armrests may be considered an additional luxury when investing in office chairs, however they are recommended and should be adjustable with added padding for comfort. If your chair has adjustable armrests they must be fitted correctly at an optimum level for your comfort. Having your armrests either too high or too low could cause problems with posture and shoulder positioning whilst seated. If your armrests are not adjustable remove them immediately as this shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach as they be tailored to your height, posture and body shape.
Adjustable Height – When selecting an ergonomic office chair ensure that it has a height adjustable seat. As not everybody is the same size so the chair should allow full adjustment through the use of levers. For an optimal level your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor whilst seated.
The best way of achieving the above is to shop with a retailer that allows you to design your ideal chair, possibly through the use of an online selector or designer tool.
Try Before You Buy
Before making the commitment it is a good idea to try the chair for size, comfort and support to ensure that it’s right for you. If you are using an online office chair retailer ask whether they have a mobile showroom or ask whether you can visit their warehouse to try your chair – although this isn’t ideal it will still give you the opportunity to get the feel for your chair.
If all of the above points have been ticked you should have the perfect ergonomic office chair and you’re ready to purchase!
This helpful sponsored advice was provided by Jamie Leatherby, a writer with a keen interest in ergonomics in the workplace and a contributor for Office Chairs UK – offering the UK’s most comprehensive chair selection.