You want to upgrade your office furniture, and are looking at ergonomic office chairs to improve the health and safety of your employees. Simply picking a chair described as “ergonomic” is not necessarily going to improve anything, however.
An office chair only becomes ergonomic when it suits a specific person’s body size, the particular workstation, and the tasks that get done at that workstation. One ergonomic chair will suit one person and their work while being completely inappropriate for another person’s needs. It is crucial to find the right ergonomic chairs for your employees. Don’t just buy a general office chair for the whole office.
What are the fundamentals of an ergonomic office chair?
Comfort is key, but overly comfortable chairs can lead to the sitter becoming too relaxed and not able to put energy into their work. In terms of work chairs, comfort is linked to support; the body needs to be supported so that it is comfortable, but also held in a healthy position to promote their physical well-being.
Ergonomic office chairs are designed to support the body in ways that promote good posture, prevent bad circulation and aches and pains and generally avoid physical pain, discomfort and injury. An additional benefit of an ergonomic chair is the freedom of movement that allows the sitter to perform their tasks more easily and comfortably.
This translates into a number of design specifications that make an ergonomic chair stand out from a regular office chair.
7 Key features of the ergonomic chair
Here are some of the key features of the ergonomic office chair:
- Good back support
Modern ergonomic chairs are designed to provide support to the lower, upper and middle back, including both the spinal column and the back muscles. This is crucial for employees who spend most of the day sitting at a desk in an office. Proper back support will reduce the risk of physical injury, from the daily aches and pains to the long-term hunching, arthritis and other damage that be caused by sitting all day. Ergonomic office chairs usually combine the shape and structure of the chair with firm and comfortable upholstery to aid in back support.
- Armrests and arm support
Armrests can further support the back while sitting, as well as the arms. Cushioned, contoured armrests can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle pains and circulatory problems. Regularly allowing your arms to rest with good armrests is important when sitting and working for long periods of time.
- Cushioned seat
Cushioning and supportive upholstery is very important in any chair. One of the biggest issues with sitting all day is the negative influence on the sitter’s circulation. The legs and feet suffer the most from reduced circulation due to sitting, but it can affect the entire body and lead to a number of secondary health problems. Proper cushioning in the seat of an office chair will help improve circulation, as well as increasing the comfort of sitting all day.
- Adjustable dimensions
As mentioned earlier, no ergonomic office chair is suitable for every person. Each person’s body has different requirements for physical needs, comfort preferences and positioning. To make an ergonomic office chair benefit the most people, it needs to be adjustable. This means that when you want to upgrade your office seating, you can usually choose one brand of ergonomic chair with adjustable settings and every employee in your office can adjust it to suit their own needs.
Having adjustable office chairs is also useful if your employees work at different desks that vary in size or height. If you have a high turnover of new employees, adjustable seating means you can accommodate incoming employees without needing to replace the office furniture for each one’s needs.
The features of an office chair that should be adjustable include the seat height, backrest height and angle, and armrest height and angle.
- Five-point tip base
The flexibility and manoeuvrability of office chairs also makes them less stable than a good old hardback chair. The five point tip base is designed to provide a central anchor and weight distribution in order to prevent the employee tipping over or falling off the chair.
In a modern office, it is usually necessary for an employee to be able to reach multiple features and points at the work station. Being able to rotate while sitting in order to reach these places saves the time and energy lost in standing up. It also prevents injuries and discomfort from straining to reach something.
For the items around the workstation that can’t be reached by swivelling around, a wheeled chair is useful. An employee can quickly roll a few feet in order to reach that filing cabinet or printer without interrupting the flow of their work and productivity.
Do you need help choosing the perfect office chair? The office furniture experts at My Office Furniture are always ready to assist.