To start, the best advice anyone can give you about your next office chair is “don’t cheap out”. It might be tempting, but when measuring your productivity and well-being, even over the course of just one year, you’ll see you lose out more in the long run, compared to a chair that can meet your ergonomic needs.
If you work 40 hours a week, you’re spending over 2000 hours a year in that chair. That’s almost the same amount of time you spend in your bed. In fact, back pain from improper office furniture is one of the leading causes as to why an employee needs chiropractor services included in their health benefits. That’s why in this article, we’re exploring the features you should consider in your next office chair.
ERGONOMICS ARE YOUR PRIORITY
A chair that looks nice doesn’t mean much if it’s not ergonomic. You need a chair that can offer you that perfect combination of being relaxed and energized. An authentic ergonomic chair supports your body and aids in good posture.
Some argue that the most important feature of a chair is lower back support, as these muscles incur a significant amount of strain while sitting. The chair should be equipped with adequate lumbar support, mimicking the natural curvature of your spine. Ideally, you’ll be able to adjust the chair’s lumbar position and curve to ensure a proper fit to your back.
The height of your seat is another very important feature to have in your chair, which is why you want one that can adjust up and down. When adjusted properly your feet should be flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90° angle. While sitting, your eyes should be at the same level as the top of your monitor. Your eyes naturally look slightly downwards, so in doing this your line of sight will line up to first few lines of text on your monitor (usually 1-2 inches below the top frame). If your feet do not reach the floor, or your eyes do not line up to your monitor properly, consider a footrest and an ergonomic monitor arm to work in conjunction with your office chair.
DON’T FORGET YOUR ARMS
When you’re typing all day, your arms need to be supported. Choosing a chair with adjustable armrests will not only help your wrists last longer throughout the day but take a lot of strain away from your shoulders (and neck!) too. We mentioned your knees being at a 90° angle, with feet flat on the floor. The same is with your armrests; you should be able to sit in your chair, with relaxed shoulders, elbows bent to 90°, with forearms extending parallel to the floor as you’re typing.
SWIVELS AND WHEELS
Most office chairs now feature a base on wheels. It not only makes the act of sitting and standing much easier but accessing a pen or file in your drawer is much smoother too. The same goes with a swivel base, this feature is pretty standard among office chairs now because being able to swivel reduces arm fatigue and back pain.
The pandemic didn’t just create a growth in home offices, it also created a design trend, demanding cleanable materials. Being able to wipe down the armrest is just as important as choosing a durable fabric for the back, to ensure your chair can stand the test of time after hours of sitting.
Finally, we can’t forget to choose a chair with an aesthetically pleasing design. We learned that looks aren’t everything but once you’ve established your needs, including ergonomic benefits… the way it looks does matter. Designing your office to meet your personal style has also been shown to increase productivity and your overall daily mood. So don’t just pick your chair based on how much you like to sit in it, consider how much you like to look at it as well.