Work, work and more work seems to be the modern day mantra. This notion seems to especially resonate with office workers. Employees who work in an office tend to spend more than 35 hours a week sat at their desk monotonously staring and interacting with their computer. Considering you can work up to eight hours a day sitting in a stationary position, you need one to be comfortable. An office chair is the definitive piece of office furniture which can not only directly affect a worker's personal health but also their productivity at work.
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Importance of a Good Office Chair
An office chair should provide quality relief to back muscles without causing any spinel stress. Yet many companies seem to provide their workers with office chairs that provide inadequate back support, thus causing health issues.
Considering the fact that these uncomfortable chairs are being used for long durations, workers agonisingly end up developing backaches as well as reoccurring shoulder and neck pains. Whilst a massage or relaxation product is a temporary solution, a comfortable chair is essential for long term health. From a mental perspective, poorer concentration and productively are direct results from the discomfort. Similarly, workers are more likely to take frequent breaks if they are feeling uncomfortable.
Feature Image Credit: zhu difeng / Shutterstock
Features to Look for in A Good Office Chair
Seat Height – The height of the chair should be fully adjustable. The worker should be able to position their feet flat on the floor. There should also ideally be a space between the front of the seat and the back of their knees. With respect to the chair to table height ratio, the chair should be lowered until the worker's elbows are just above the table.
Seat Depth – Depth with regards to office chairs refers to the front to the back of the seat. There needs to be sufficient depth, so that the worker can sit with their back against the backrest without pressing the back of their knees against the seat. The worker should always aim to fully sit back, utilising the backrest to get the best support.
Arm Support - Since workers will be sitting on their chair for long durations, they will require armrests to support the weight of their arms. Armrests will additionally allow workers to rest their arms and relax their shoulders. By adding office chair accessories, such as an armrest cover, the employee will experience added comfort.
Swivel - Workers find themselves talking to their colleagues nearby, as well as needing to reach other parts of their desk without the need to get up. Frequently doing this without a chair which does not swivel will cause back pain due to the constant twisting. The office chair should allow the worker the ability to easily rotate around different areas without causing any unnecessary strains.
Material - The chair should be well padded to provide a soft and warming cushion feeling. The level of softness should be sufficient enough to ensure that the worker does not feel the hardness of the frame. The fabric should also be permeable to allow the seat to ‘breathe' freely and minimise the build-up of heat.
Backrest Tilt - The longer someone works the more they feel inclined to create some movement. One of the most common ways workers do this is through tilting their chair back. Often allowing them to escape from the hypotonic draw of their computer screen and taking a moment to reflect/relax. Tilting also opens up more of angle between the worker's body and their thighs, consequently allowing more oxygen to reach their muscles.
Lumbar Support – People's backs are in such a way that they are designed to curve through the length of the spine. With this in mind, lumbar support in a chair is essentially an inward curve on the bottom half of the backrest. Without lumbar support, workers tend to end up slouching. Persistent slouching can cause strain to the lower spine structure and in the long run, potentially flatten the natural spinel curve.
Getting quality office chairs for workers is highly important. Getting quality office chairs for workers is highly important. Whilst office chairs don't need to have all the mentioned desired features, it is vital when exploring options to consider those that at least have the majority. Why? If workers are comfortable and getting adequate back support for their spine they are highly unlikely to feel any discomfort. The absence of discomfort is more than likely to correlate with increased productivity, less frequent breaks and improved moral.