An ergonomic chair should provide the best possible support for the human body. Its design is underpinned by ergonomics, i. H. the use of psychological and physiological concepts to maximize human well-being and productivity.
Therefore, an ergonomic chair has numerous adjustable components such as seat height, backrest, seat depth, armrests, seat inclination and headrest. This level of adjustability allows you to change your position to work best for your body.
Another key difference between an ergonomic chair and an office chair is that the former offers lumbar support that supports your lower spine. Without them, your lower spine would take most of the stress from long periods of sitting, leading to discomfort.
An ergonomic chair that combines adjustability and lumbar support offers the following benefits:
Promotes an optimal sitting position
and helps with concentration and productivity.
Prevents unnecessary pain-related stress.
It helps to avoid injury-related absences.
Choosing an ergonomic chair
You should determine if the chair meets at least the following requirements:
Is the seat shell comfortable and does it fit your body shape?
If the seat pan is too long for your legs, you will either get caught behind your knees or prevent you from resting fully in the lumbar support. There should be at least a 0.5 inch gap between the front edge of the seat pan and the back of your knees. The seat shell should be long enough to support you for at least three quarters of the length of your thigh. Several ergonomic chairs have a seat shell that can be adjusted to accommodate different body sizes. Most ergonomic chairs have a seat pan with a waterfall front (a slope) to prevent the seat from catching you behind the knees. The seat shell should be curved to ensure good weight distribution and allow for comfortable sitting. The edge of the seat shell should be soft and curved so that it does not pinch the thighs and buttocks. The back of the seat shell should provide enough support. You should also look for a chair that swivels effortlessly.
Is the seat height of the chair adjustable?
For example, the chair should be pneumatically adjustable so that you can change the height of the seat while sitting. Some chairs include a mechanical height adjustment mechanism (pivoting mechanism) that is less convenient to use but is acceptable in certain circumstances. Preferably the height of the chair should be changed to fit from a smaller to a taller person.
Is the height adjustment range of the chair sufficient to meet the needs of all users?
The height of the seat shell should be adjustable so that the fronts of your knees are at or just below this level and your feet are firmly planted on the floor. In most cases you should not need to use a footrest. When sitting, the seat height adjustment mechanism should be easily accessible and easy to operate.
Does the chair have a backrest for the lumbar spine (lower back)?
To better fit your lower back shape, many chairs come with padded lumbar supports that can be adjusted up and down, flexed, and occasionally adjusted forward and backward. If the chair is used by many people, such a change may be necessary. If the chair has a fixed height lumbar support and you lean comfortably against it and you are the primary user of the chair, then it may be fine.
Is the back of the chair large enough to provide adequate back support?
In addition to adequate lumbar support, many chairs offer back supports large enough to support the mid and upper back to shoulder blade level. The back of the chair should not interfere with your ability to move your elbows behind your body.
Do you have enough space for your hips when leaning on the lumbar support?
Inadequate hip room can cause you to sit too far forward on the seat pan, resulting in insufficient thigh support. When you sit in the chair, the seat shell should be at least an inch wider than your hips and thighs on each side.
Do you still find the seat shell comfortable after sitting for at least 60-120 minutes?
Continued use of a low-density foam seat pan may cause it to become permanently deformed and no longer be able to provide cushioning. Inadequate padding and improper contouring can lead to pain, imbalance, and hip and back strain. Ideally, you will sit in a chair at work for several days to see how comfortable you will be.
Does the chair recline and support your back in different positions?
Moving your back while sitting helps keep your spine healthy. Look for chairs that recline easily, provide adequate back support in various reclined positions, and have a backrest that monitors where your back is. Locking the back of the chair in one position is typically not advisable or beneficial to users because it limits the back support provided. Research shows the benefits of using chairs that encourage dynamic sitting rather than a static posture.
Is the base of the chair a five-leg base?
If chair mobility is critical to your work, the chair should have at least a five-legged base with casters that glide effortlessly across the floor surface. Chairs with four wheels are more likely to tip over than those with five or more.
Do you need armrests on your chair?
The armrests of most ergonomic seats should be adjustable. The armrests should be wide, curved, padded and comfortable. You should be able to quickly change the height of the armrests while seated, and in certain cases you should seek armrests with adjustable widths that allow you to move the armrests closer together or further apart to accommodate different body widths to adjust. If you need to get your arms out of the way, e.g. B. typing or moving the mouse, you should be able to do this easily.
Need a footrest?
In the vast majority of cases, you shouldn't need a footrest to sit properly in your chair; However, if you do want a footrest, choose a free-standing, floor-mounted one that allows you to rest your feet comfortably in front of you. Do not put your feet on the base of the chair for a long time, because the knee angle is less than 90 degrees, causing blood circulation restrictions.
Which chair cover is the best?
Chairs can be upholstered with different materials, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Vinyl and vinyl-like covers are easy to clean and splash-proof, but they don't breathe, and if the chair starts to heat up under your thighs, uncomfortable levels of moisture can collect. The most common cover is cloth pads, but they are less resistant to spills and more difficult to clean. Fabric-covered seat pans can also get warm and humid, and fabric-covered foam seat pans can be a major source of dust mite allergens. When choosing a chair cover, consider cleaning and maintenance issues and plan accordingly.
Why are ergonomic chairs important in the workplace?
Now comes the big question: "Is it worth investing in an ergonomic chair?" If you've spent your entire life sitting in a typical and (probably) fairly uncomfortable chair, the answer may not be obvious.
We'll go over five key reasons why buying an ergonomic chair is worth every penny, even if it's a more expensive purchase.
1. Increased productivity
Individuals want to feel comfortable at work; So if you are unhappy, chances are you won't enjoy your task. It's just that more comfort correlates with more productivity.
An ergonomic task chair can increase overall satisfaction and productivity. According to a study published in the Journal of Safety Research, using ergonomic office chairs can result in a 17% increase in productivity compared to standard seats. Because an ergonomic chair promotes better posture, less effort, fewer movements, and greater reach, it contributes to a more efficient workplace, which improves the quality of your work and job performance.
2. Pain and pain relief
Ergonomic chairs are designed to be comfortable for all users. Lower back and neck discomfort are the most common physical problems faced by ordinary office workers. When you are in pain, it is difficult to concentrate, which reduces the quality of your work.
Back pain affects up to 80% of people at some point in their lives, with 50% of working adults experiencing symptoms each year, making it one of the most common medical problems worldwide. Luckily, with the advent of ergonomic office chairs, the number of people who suffer from back pain has decreased and possibly decreased as key pain areas are adequately supported.
The higher quality seat and backrest of ergonomic chairs are shaped to conform to the curve of your body, increasing comfort. An adjustable lumbar support is designed to take less stress off your spine, allowing you to improve your posture and relieve back discomfort.
3. Better posture
Your posture can be your first concern after hours of sitting and an ignored eye shape. Because of the incorrect back height, you're likely to lean forward when using a standard office chair that lacks basic ergonomic features.
Sitting in an incorrect posture has several negative health consequences. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, prolonged sitting in poor posture can lead to cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic diseases.
An ergonomic chair can help correct your posture by supporting your spine and providing a more natural position for your joints. With full-length design to prevent unhealthy positions, you can rest assured that these chairs will help you maintain proper posture while preventing back pain.
One thing about ergonomics is recognizing that office furniture is never a one-size-fits-all. Because people come in all shapes, sizes and work styles, ergonomic chairs are tailored to each individual's body and encourage attention through the flexible work environment they provide.
Seat height, armrests, backrest and seat depth are all crucial considerations when purchasing the best office chair for you. These desirable qualities allow you to contribute to the success of your work without being distracted by discomfort. The absence of any of the many chair criteria can result in weaker sitting postures, such as: B. slouched or leaning forward at work. Each of the above features provide essential lumbar support, enhancing your seating experience and allowing you to effortlessly power through your standard 9am to 5pm shift.
5. Intended for all users
The abundance of commercially available office chairs for different sizes and body types is sometimes daunting. A decent chair is adaptable, so you don't have to waste time looking for the "perfect" chair for you.
Ergonomic chairs come with a variety of adjustable features, such as: B. Height adjustment, arm width change and an adjustable headrest to suit your specific body type and work preferences. While some more specialized chairs focus on supporting a specific body part, ergonomic chairs are customized to your workspace and intended for different activities that you do at your desk.
Why are office chairs so expensive?
Normal office chairs are still cheaper than ergonomic office chairs. An office chair can be bought for as little as $50, in some cases for much less. But depending on the quality, flexibility, and other attributes of your ergonomic desk chair, expect to spend anywhere from $350 to $1,500.
For most people, $350 for a chair is a lot of money, $1,500 all by itself. So what accounts for the high cost of a modern ergonomic chair? Let's investigate.
Ergonomics provide more comfort and support
Expensive office chairs don't have such a price for nothing. These ergonomic desk chairs are designed to provide the best possible support for the human body; They are designed for efficiency and comfort in the usual office environment where people spend most of their time sitting.
Ergonomic chairs, for example, have multiple adjustment options ranging from seat height to backward and forward recline. Adjustability is essential for promoting good posture, which in turn helps prevent body aches caused by prolonged sitting. Many ergonomic chairs also have lumbar support, which supports the lower spine and helps reduce lower body stress.
In other words, these office chairs are expensive because they are specifically designed to promote proper posture. This, in turn, helps prevent various types of ailments (eg, back pain, knee pain, neck pain, hip pain, etc.), which improves alertness, stress levels, and productivity. So if you want to increase your productivity while avoiding the negative effects of long periods of sitting, you should invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair.
They use higher quality materials than ever before.
If you look at expensive office chairs, you will see that they are made from better materials than traditional office chairs. Whether an office chair is made of leather or mesh, you can almost always expect it to last a long time. As a result, ergonomic seats cost significantly more than your regular office chair.
In addition to durability, high-quality materials contribute to the comfort that an expensive office chair can offer. The higher the quality, the more comfortable it is to sit in your chair for a longer period of time. Also, high-quality materials are easy to clean, which is a big plus if you don't want to spend hours cleaning your office chair.
In the spirit of cleaning, here is a guide to cleaning an ergonomic chair.
Extended warranties protect your investment.
You need a guarantee for everything that should last a long time. This is particularly important for office chairs that are subject to heavy use on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, not all office chairs come with a guarantee, but higher quality models do. The majority of high-end office chairs now come with extended warranties. Some guarantees are even 12 years long! With this time you can be sure that your money is safe. And when an ergonomic task chair has a 12-year guarantee, you can know how confident the manufacturer is of the chairs' longevity.
Inflation makes everything more expensive!
Of course, we must not overlook inflation. Everything is more expensive these days, so you can't expect office chairs to be the same price as they used to be.
"But inflation shouldn't cause prices to go up that big!"
Imagine: the value of the dollar has increased by almost 50%. That means identical items from 2000 will cost 1.5x in 2022.
This, along with the reasons above, explains why ergonomic chairs are more expensive than you might think.
Avoid cheap, low quality desk chairs, you get what you pay for.
There are ergonomic seats that are cheaper if you are on a budget. Some can be bought for as little as $200, but don't expect high quality. Cheaper office chairs may be sufficient, but in our experience they are not suitable for long-term use.
You get what you pay for, as the old saying goes. And that hardly applies to office chairs that you use regularly. If you sacrifice quality to save money, you may come across:
Ergonomic office chairs should promote optimal posture when sitting. For example, a typical ergonomic chair has adjustable armrests that allow you to place your arms according to the height of your desk. This allows you to adopt a proper sitting position when working at the computer, which can help you avoid wrist, shoulder, and even carpal tunnel syndrome.
An inferior desk chair will rarely, if ever, be adjustable. This makes it difficult to maintain excellent posture at the computer all day. Of course, we already know that this can lead to neck discomfort, hip pain, back pain and, in the long run, possibly an accident.
If you're still not convinced, consider how an ergonomic chair could improve your posture!
Productivity has dropped.
When you're in pain, it's difficult to focus on your task. As a result, there is a greater likelihood of making mistakes and succumbing to distractions. It's also harder to work efficiently because you're distracted by the pain - and when all those poor results add up, you end up with a lot of unnecessary stress. Besides the stress of work, who wants to cope with the stress of pain?
However, investing in a decent ergonomic office chair is not only conducive to your physical well-being, it is also necessary to reduce stress, maintain efficiency and increase productivity at work. For this reason, many workplaces want to replace their standard desk chairs with ergonomic ones; They need to invest in quality office ergonomics to make their employees happier and more productive.
Durability is reduced.
An inferior office chair will only last so long. For one thing, most cheap office chairs have built-in plastic casters that wear out faster than higher-quality wheels. Also, these plastic rollers are known to damage carpets.
The adjustable parts of a poor quality ergonomic office chair also wear out faster. For example, if you frequently adjust the backward tilt of your chair, the mechanical parts of the chair will wear out more quickly. As a result, you may not be able to adjust your chair as smoothly as before, or worse, the adjustable parts of your chair may not function fully.
Against this background, it is obvious why a high-quality office chair is a much more sensible investment in the long term. An inferior office chair is much more likely to break than a good office chair. As a result, you may end up paying the same as you would for a quality office chair that will last at least twice as long.