10 Things to Consider When Choosing Office Chairs
By Space Coast Daily // October 21, 2021
If there is one item that you should never compromise on it’s your office chair. Sitting incorrectly can lead to a number of shoulder, back, and muscle tension issues so it’s important to have a chair that will help you sit in the best position.
A good office chair follows the movements of your body, reduces the risk of strain injuries and helps you sit properly, no matter how long you spend sitting each day. A good office chair is crucial both for your well-being and your productivity. However, no one size fits all and what works for one person may not work for another.
Working in an office typically involves spending a great deal of time sitting in an office chair seat – a position that adds stress to the structures in the spine. Therefore, to avoid developing or compounding back problems, it’s important to have an ergonomic office chair and that supports the lower back and promotes good posture.
Here are 10 things to consider when choosing an office chair
1. How many hours do you sit down?
The most important question to ask yourself is how many hours a day you will be sitting in your chair. The more hours you sit down, the better chair you will need.
In order to make it easy for you to find a chair that suits your needs, we divide the range into four recommended sitting times: 4, 8, 12 and 24 hours. Obviously the longer you are sitting the more support you will need.
■ 4 hours: If you are on the go most of the time and only sit down at your desk for short periods, you can do well with a relatively simple and inexpensive chair.
■ 8 hours: The most common type of office chair. If you work an average length working day and spend most of it sitting down, you need an ergonomic chair with good adjustment possibilities.
■ 12 hours: Do you work long shifts sitting down? Then you should choose a chair suitable for 12 or more hours of use that offers optimum support and the ability to adjust the seat to your body.
■ 24 hours: If someone occupies the chair around the clock, such as in control rooms or call centres, then it needs to meet extremely high standards for adjustment and comfort.
A good ergonomic office chair should be adjustable in several key areas. You should be able to slide the backrest up or down to allow the lumbar curve on the chair’s backrest to fit correctly against the curve of your lower back. Occasionally chairs will offer adjustable lumbar support instead of a moveable backrest.
You should also be able to recline your chair to allow you to shift positions for comfort occasionally. This also better supports your upper body and relieves the pressure on your lower back. Ideally, the chair should have a supported recline angle of 110 to 130 degrees, as this decreases the stress on your discs.
For your new chair to give your body the support it needs, it must be able to adapt to your height, weight and body shape. Since we are all different, you should look for a chair with several different adjustment possibilities for maximum comfort.
■ Adjustable seat height: The right seat height allows you to put your feet flat on the floor with your back pressed against the backrest.
■ Adjustable backrest height: The backrest should be set at a height that fits the natural curvature of your spine.
■ Adjustable seat depth/seat slide: The seat can slide forwards or backwards to suit your height. This means that with your feet flat on the floor and your back fully supported, you should be able to fit your fist between the front of the seat and the back of your knees for better blood circulation to your lower legs and feet.
■ Adjustable seat angle: For improved circulation, the seat should be tilted slightly forward so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees with your feet resting on the floor.
3. More choices and accessories
Your choice of a chair may also be influenced by specific accessories or features. The best office chairs come with features such as mesh seat material and arm rests. Arm rests and head rests are available as an option for more basic models while they are included as standard with more premium chairs.
Breathable materials are really important as you don’t want to sweat in your chair all day. A head rest is also a good option to have so you can sit back and rest your neck and shoulders when you need to. Arm rests are good when you are seated for extended periods.
4. Colour, design and material
When you have narrowed down some chairs that suit your needs, the fun part starts: choosing the design of your chair. Traditional or modern look chairs are both available. Many of our models come in several different colours. As far as materials are concerned, you have a choice of fabric, artificial leather or genuine leather, depending on your preferences and budget.
The rest is up to you. Our wide assortment guarantees that you will find a chair that is right for you, no matter who you are. If you’re having trouble choosing, you are always welcome to contact us – we will be happy to help you!
The height of an ergonomic office chair is also critical to its usefulness in preventing discomfort and injury. When you are sitting in the chair, your feet should be flat to the floor or on a footrest, and your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
A chair that is too low, meaning that your knees are higher than your hips when you sit on it, can result in your weight shifting back and on to the bones where you sit. A chair that is too high puts pressure on the knees and can affect blood circulation.
6. Seat Pan
The seat pan should be slightly wider than the user and deep enough to support most of the upper leg. It should not be so long that it touches the back of the knees or prevents you from reaching the lumbar support. Many well-made ergonomic chairs allow you to adjust both the seat pan depth and height to suit you.
7. Lumbar Support
We have a natural tendency to want to slouch or lean in office chairs which can contribute to back problems. Lumbar supports help prevent this and the damage it can do to our spines. They fill in the gap between our lumbar spine and the seat and keep the ears, shoulders and hips in alignment.
The best kind of lumbar support is fully adjustable as it allows chairs to be fit to individual users. However, if you find a chair that fits the curve of your lower back correctly, and you are the only one likely to use the chair, then fixed lumbar support is fine.
Lumbar rolls or cushions can also provide some support for chairs that lack any fixed or moveable accommodation for the lumbar spine.
8. Seat Back
Ideally, the back of the seat should fit you perfectly, ending just above the shoulders. Some chairs offer the option of an adjustable seat back height. However, this option is still relatively rare. Instead, many seats have an oversized chair back that will accommodate the majority of people. To ensure it will work for you, test it out to confirm that it provides the right support in the places where you need support.
Armrests serve an essential role in reducing the load on our backs when we sit by supporting our arms. On an ergonomic desk chair, armrests should be height adjustable to between 7” and just over 10”. This allows you to move your elbows freely, but also support your forearms when you are working. Some armrests can pivot when not in use so you can move them out of the way.
Armrests should also be the proper width and allow you to rest your forearms easily on them without bending your shoulders inward or your arms outward to reach them.
Ideally, your seat should allow you to easily swivel to different positions at your workstation without having to get up or change position. It should also have casters, wheels or slides that allow you to glide to different areas in your workstation easily. Look for chairs that have a five-spoke base, as the standard four-spoke bases tend to tip over more easily.
At the end of the day finding the right office chair is a priority as it can prevent back and health issues further down the line and it will make sure that you are working in comfort. Working long periods of time in an uncomfortable chair is just not worth it, invest in a good ergonomic office chair, and the payoff can be enormous in terms of your health and productivity.