Are you looking for an ergonomic chair for your team?
Most office workers, when not on the field, spend most of their time at their desk. While height adjustable and standing desks have introduced more active approaches to the workplace, an ergonomic desk chair remains essential. A supportive chair can help you maintain good posture and remain comfortable throughout the day.
With so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to know which features to look for when making a decision. We endeavor, in this article, to explain what features to look for in an ergonomic chair, and navigate any potentially confusing terminology. It is our priority to help you find the perfect chair that fits your team's needs. So, if you're ready to make a smart investment for your team, let’s begin!
Seat height is exactly what it sounds like: a small lever, generally located on the underside of a chair, helps the user adjust their seat to a desired height. A seat height of 15”-22” (the standard seat adjustment for most chairs) will comfortably seat most people between 5’ and 6’4”. Adjusted seat height options are also available for individuals who are outside the standard height range.
Pro Tip: The proper way to ensure a chair is at the right height is, when sitting with both feet flat on the ground, your knees make a 90-degree angle with the floor. This will ensure proper alignment that will lead to greater long-term comfort.
Upper and Middle Back Support
Ergonomic chairs will also often have adjustable upper and middle back support, generally in the form of a lumbar roll or an adjustable backrest. This support accommodates the natural curvature of the spine, allowing for a comfortable long term seated position. Generally, this adjustment will be modified based on user preference.
Lumbar support is one of the most important features to consider when buying an ergonomic chair. Lumbar support supports the natural curve of the lower back, reducing the possibility of lower back pain and fatigue. Some chairs have a fixed lumbar roll, while others have an adjustable lumbar pad or air lumbar support. The lumbar is placed in the small of the back, to provide maximum comfort for the person seated. When testing out this option in a chair, it is recommended to try it out in person, as each ergonomic chair can have vastly different levels of lumbar support, and some may need more support than others.
Armrests can greatly impact comfort and support. When selecting a chair with a good armrest, be sure to look for armrests that are adjustable in height, width, and angle to fit your body. They should also be long enough to allow your arms to rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle while seated. Armrests can be padded or not padded. Ensure the armrests you choose are wide enough to accommodate your upper arms and shoulders (and this may vary throughout your team).
When selecting an ergonomic chair with a backrest, consider a backrest that can be adjusted in height and angle to provide maximum support and comfort. You might also consider a contoured backrest, or one with high density form or memory foam padding. Just remember that the material should be breathable and moisture-wicking, and the backrest should be large enough to support your entire back and shoulders comfortably.
A seat that is too narrow can cause the sitter to feel cramped and uncomfortable, while a seat that is too wide can cause the sitter to feel unstable. It is important that the seat width of a chair accommodates your size. Most office chairs have a seat width of about 20 inches, which will comfortably accommodate most people. However, for those with larger or smaller body types, there are chairs available with adjustable seat widths.
When trying out chairs, be sure to adjust the seat tilt to ensure that it is comfortable and supportive. A seat tilt adjustment modifies the tilt of the seat to conform to the user. Some chairs also have a synchro-tilt mechanism, which allows the backrest and seat to tilt in unison. A properly adjusted seat tilt will allow the sitter to maintain a neutral position with their feet flat on the ground and their knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
Padding can greatly affect comfort and support, but preference for padding can vary vastly across your team. Ergonomic chairs often come with high-density foam which is firm and could provide good support, or memory foam padding is softer and more responsive, conforming to the shape of the body. Gel padding is designed to disperse weight evenly and tends to provide a cooler sitting experience. The thickness of the padding is also important to consider, as a seat with too little padding may feel hard and uncomfortable, while a seat with too much padding may feel too soft and lack proper support. It is important to weigh the different options when determining the best solution.
Trying out Chairs in Person
Every person's body is different, and what may be comfortable and supportive for one person may not be the same for another. It is important to try out chairs in person to determine which adjustments best support your body, as well as test out features. You can also get a feel for the quality and durability of the chair, just by sitting in it! Remember, you are selecting a chair to sit in for long periods of time, so it is important to choose one that is comfortable and supportive.
Selecting the right ergonomic chair for your office can be an exciting process, as everyone on your team can stand to benefit from a comfortable chair! Proper support and comfort can help to reduce muscle fatigue, lower back pain, and improve posture. If employees feel comfortable and supportive, they are more likely to be productive and feel engaged in the work they are doing. For more information about choosing the right chair, get in touch with our team!