50% of Americans work more than 40 hours a week. When you multiply this by the average number of years people work, you will realize that you spend a significant portion of your life on an office chair. After some time, you may begin to develop some back complications if you sit on the wrong seat.
The wrong sitting position strains your spine, neck, and back muscles, which can significantly affect productivity. Therefore, you must invest in a comfortable office chair that offers maximum support and creates a productive workspace. With so many options available today, it can be challenging to make the right choice. Here is a detailed piece to guide you through.
What to Look For in an Office Chair
It’s worth noting that not all chairs labeled ergonomic promote improved posture. While seated on an ergonomic office chair, your thighs should be in a horizontal position with the floor, feet on the ground, and arms leveled on the desk. Some of the standard features to consider when buying an office chair include;
Naturally, humans have a concave-shaped lumbar. When you sit for long hours on a chair that doesn’t offer support, you are more likely to slump, which flattens the natural curve. As a result, it strains the structures on the lower spine.
A good concave-shaped chair offers better support. The chair should also allow lumbar adjustments both in height and width so you can properly fit it on your lower back to support long and comfortable working hours.
Ergonomic office chairs should have enough padding to support long seating hours. It’s a good idea that you choose a material that allows your body to breathe. The breathable mesh provides good airflow within the seat to protect it from being overly warm.
You should also choose a chair that you can adjust to a comfortable height. Everybody is different, so ergonomic office chairs should adapt to unique users’ needs. Look for an office chair with an adjustment lever. A seat with a range of 16 to 21 inches suits most people.
You should sit with your knees at a right angle and parallel to the hips at the correct height. The thighs should also align with the floor as the feet lie comfortably flat on the floor.
Get a chair with an armrest to relieve your neck and shoulders of some stress. An ergonomic chair allows you to adjust the height to a safe position to rest your arm comfortably and relax the shoulders. While seated in the proper position, you should rest the arm lightly on the table and the forearm on the armrest. Ensure that the armrest sets back from the seat’s front or adjusts the chair up close to the work surface. An ideal armrest height is around 7.1 to 10.6 inches.
The Seat Width and Depth
Ergonomic seats should also be deep enough to support most of your upper leg. However, it shouldn’t be soo deep to the extent that the chair touches the back of your knee when you sit. Choose a seat whose width is about an inch wider than your hips. Check that it isn’t overly spread out that you strain to rest your hands on the armrest. The standard width of a comfortable office chair should be around 17 to 20 inches. Consider the seat weight, capacity and match it with your needs.
For the seat pan depth, the distance from the front to the back of the seat should be wide enough so that you can comfortably rest your back against the backrest. You should also leave around two to four inches of space between the chair and the back of the knee.
It’s a good idea that you choose a seat with a back depth adjuster knob to move the chair back in and out when need be. While seated, ¾ of the thighs should rest on the seat to enable proper blood flow.
The right chair should have a backrest of about 12 to 19 inches wide. It relieves pressure from your lower body. If the seat has a separate backrest, it should be adjustable in both angle and height. The backrest should also assume your back shape to provide support to the spine. With the proper backrest, you can recline a little bit or sit in an upright position to reduce stress in the lower back.
While choosing the best office chair for your home, select the one that swivels to allow you to move around. For instance, if you want to use the printer, you won’t have to stand up. Instead, you will rotate the chair for easier access to all your office supplies. If the chair allows 360 degrees rotation, you can maximize efficiency. The chair also promotes blood flow by allowing you to change positions.
Nearly all office chairs come with a wheelbase but it’s vital that you chose the right one based on the floor type. Suppose you have a carpeted floor get the castors designed for carpeted floor. The same applies to hard surfaces or tiled floors. If your chair wheels don’t fit the floor type, you can choose to buy a chair mat. Remember that a seat that rolls are essential to prevent you from fatigue when you want to reach items far away.
Why Is a Good Chair Important?
When you use an ergonomic chair, it enhances your comfort, which translates into higher productivity. Here are the top benefits that come with choosing the best office chair for your home.
Every morning you wake up fresh, determined to make a difference for the day. However, when you sit in your office chair, you will begin to experience discomfort if it’s not ergonomic. Within a short period, you might take breaks to stretch and relax.
Unfortunately, such disruption can lead to reduced productivity and missed deadlines. In fact, 86% of office workers reported discomforts from their office equipment, according to a survey. One in three of these interviewed went ahead to state that they would work better if they had a more comfortable workspace.
Choosing the right chair that accommodates your body well can help minimize such disruptions. You will find yourself spending too much time on your office desk, increasing the volume of activities doable within a short period.
It Enhances Teamwork
Today, new business often emerges, which makes competition very stiff. Companies are now looking for ways to improve the level of output. You can achieve this by improving the working conditions.
With a comfortable chair, employees can quickly meet deadlines reducing quarrels among team members. A god chair also increases employee satisfaction and happiness, and they are thus less likely to miss work.
It Reduces Workplace Injuries
Accidents often happen in the office, primarily due to poor quality furniture. An employee may fall and sustain injury when using the wrong chair. Unfortunately, the employer will need to cover such cases with insurance. You can avoid all this trouble by investing in a comfortable office chair. This way, you will save a considerable amount of money on medical or insurance bills.
The Right Chair Will Help Reduce Pain
When you have a lot of work to do within a fixed deadline, you will often find yourself so focused on your job, and it’s easy to forget your posture. If you sit on a chair that lacks ergonomic features, you can easily bend to stretch your body. It can hurt your back, spine, neck, and other muscles, causing severe pain. That is one problem that an ergonomic office chair can solve. It promotes improved posture to prevent pain.
It Helps Lower Hips Pressure
Your hips bear the weight of holding your entire body. When you sit for too long in the wrong posture, it stretches hip tendons, leading to inflammation. You will begin to experience hip pain while walking, lying down, or sitting. These problems don’t affect people using an ergonomic chair. The seat provides a suitable seat death that supports hips and distributes your body weight evenly to reduce pressure at the hips area.
It Fits Multiple Users
Every person can benefit from an ergonomic seat irrespective of height or body shape. There are so many chairs available that come in varying sizes to accommodate diverse body types. You can adjust the chair to meet your specific needs. Different people can use a single chair. You only need to change it to different heights to keep the user comfortably focused on their work. The seat can thus accommodate many people in a shared workspace.
It Promotes Safety
Sciatica is a common pain problem in the world. The main reason for sciatica is the compression of a nerve in the lower back. If your sitting posture is not good and it put heavy pressure on a slipped disk then you may suffer sciatica pain.
But most of the time if you are conscious and take proper self-care it can be overcome.
If you work on sitting on the chair and work for a long time you need to consider the Sciatica problem may cause. Because sitting long on the chair may create this pain. So before buying a chair make sure it’s the best chair for sciatica.
Since manufacturers produce the chairs with a workspace environment in mind, they ensure maximum safety. A standard chair undergoes various testing in the lab for safety certification.
It Increases Blood Flow
Seating for just an hour can increase the chances of depression, reduced blood flow, and cause back pains. It’s, therefore, a good idea that you shift sitting position after every 30 to 45 minutes. An ergonomic chair allows you to move your body around, which promotes circulation.
Note that any movement that raises the metabolism rate above the resting rate can result in long-term health benefits. The swiveling feature in these chairs allows you to move around, minimizing the sitting time and the risks of chronic health problems.
Ergonomic Chairs Guarantee Long-term Use
A standard chair with the right features can serve you long enough. The manufacturers design them to withstand long days of use. In case it malfunctions, some models come with a warranty, and you can always get it fixed for free or at a discounted price.
What Kind of Ergonomic Office Chair Is Best?
There are various types of ergonomic chairs in the market today designed for improved posture. Hence, the best option will vary from one user to the other. The executive chairs look more impressive and come with extra padding at the back, seating area, and headrest. The seat has superior materials like fine wood and leather. An executive ergonomic chair costs a little bit more, but they have an aesthetic standpoint and combines all the best features that other chairs have.
On the other hand, the recliner chair enables you to work for long hours without back or neck pain. You can modify it to carry out various tasks in a reclined position. The knee chair positions your thighs at about 70 degrees rather than the usual 90 degrees position offered by a standard chair. While seated, you can push the hips forward to align the neck, back, and shoulders. The idea is to distribute weight between the knee and the pelvis to reduce lower back pain.
People who sweat quickly or those working in scorching areas should consider mesh office chairs. They come with an inclined backrest lined with a net-like fabric for improved breathability. Choose a quality seat with a waterfall edge for enhanced blood circulation, cushioned seats, and lumbar support.
The big and tall chairs accommodate heavy and tall individuals. They can hold from 300 to around 1000 pounds. The chair comes with a higher backrest, seat height adjustments, thicker padding, wider seat, reinforced armrest, and wider backrest.
There are also petite ergonomic chairs for small-bodied individuals. They have a smaller base, seat, and lower gas lift so smaller individuals can comfortably rest their feet on the ground. They even have tweaked ergonomic features to meet the needs of small-bodied people.
In offices that operate on a round-the-clock basis, it’s a good idea that you consider the 24-hour chair. It’s well built and tested to withstand long hours of use. The chair has extra strong frames, bases and has standard ergonomic features.
How to Reduce Back Pain?
Owning an ergonomic chair isn’t enough. You need to use and adjust it correctly to maximize comfort. First, determine the desired workstation height to guide you in positioning the chair.
Then, sit as comfortably as you can, close to the desk. Lay your arm on the desk, parallel to the hips. Adjust the chair height so that the elbow lies at a 90 degrees position.
Next, ensure that you can easily slip your fingers under the thighs near the chair’s front edge. If the space appears too shallow, you might need to adjust the footrest to prop the foot up. If there is more than a finger space between the chair and the thigh, raise the desk slightly and adjust the chair accordingly.
Additionally, push your body to the furthest end of the chair. Try to pass your fist between the chair and the calf. If you can’t do this, then the seat might be too deep. You can adjust the backrest forward or insert lumbar support. If it still doesn’t work, you might need to buy a new chair.
While seated, your lower back should always be at the edge of the chair. Ensure that the seat has a well-padded cushion that enables your back to curve a little, so you don’t slouch down the chair when tired.
Now face straight forward, close your eyes and open them. The gaze should directly aim at the computer system on the workspace. Suppose the computer appears to be either in a lower or higher position adjust it. Remember to change the armrest to lift the arm slightly and take some strain off the shoulders and spine. Sit with the neck and back aligned directly above the shoulders.
Again, sitting in a static position for so long can strain your neck, arms, shoulder, and other muscles. While working for an extended period, most people tend to slouch down the chair. This practice can easily hurt your lower spine. Try to stand and go for a walk during lunch break. Even a simple walk to the bathroom or water dispenser in between work can help. Also, change position frequently so your body can stretch.
Conduct some simple exercises. Occasionally, hug your body with your left hand on the right shoulder and the right one on the left. Breathe in and out to stretch your back muscles. For the neck seat in a neutral position, with the chin tucked in, move your head backward slowly as far as you can go. Hold on to that position for about five seconds, then release. Repeat the process often. Remember to keep necessary office items like pens, the telephone, and tapes within reach to avoid overstretching.
How to Make a Cheap Chair Suck Less?
If you don’t wish to buy a new one, you can improve a standard chair’s comfort level too. First, get an adjustable footrest to keep your feet at the right angle. Alternatively, you can opt for a footrest pillow that supports your feet at a comfortable level and leaves room for the knees as well.
You can also make lumbar support from pillows. Place the pillow at the back of your pelvis when seating to increase support. You don’t have to invest in expensive pillows. Instead, you can roll a towel and place it between the chair and the back to serve the same purpose.
Most times, cheap chairs may lack enough padding and proper contours to distribute your body evenly. Add a foam seat cushion on the chair to improve overall posture and boost blood flow. It’s a good idea that you choose a seat cushion with a raised center and a cut-out back to stabilize the pelvis and relieve pressure at the coccyx region.
Additionally, most cheap seats have a plastic armrest that appears too short to support the entire forearm. Note that the arm constitutes 5.70% of the total body mass, and leaving such weight unsupported can increase discomforts. Hence buy armrest pads elongated enough to support the entire forearm in different positions to alleviate stress and reduce muscle cramps. You can also add a low backrest on any standard seat to decrease pressure on the spine and eliminate pain. Change the chair wheels and add new ones if the chair doesn’t have any for easy movement around the room.
How Long do Desk Chairs Last?
On average, an office chair can last between five to ten years. The longevity varies based on various issues. Poor quality chairs can last about six months, while better quality hits the ten-year mark. The goal should be to get a chair that can serve you for as long as possible. Here are various things that affect the lifespan of an office chair.
How you use the chair will determine how long it serves you. For instance, if you constantly swing the seat, you increase wear and tear chances than a person who sits appropriately. Additionally, chairs in high traffic areas or those continuously used are more likely to experience rapid wear than those used occasionally.
The materials used to make an office chair also affects its lifespan. Cheap chairs of low quality can last for around six months, and you need to replace them constantly. Such a seat brings along more expenses in the long run, reduces productivity, and isn’t good for the environment.
If you get your office chair from a reputable manufacturer who uses approved materials tested for strength and durability, then it will serve you longer. A tightly woven mesh chair shouldn’t lose shape soon. However, this greatly depends on the brand. Always remember that you will get what you pay for. Soft mesh can give you a better seating experience at first, but it’s more likely to stretch and sag after a short period.
Additionally, if you buy a chair from a reputable manufacturer, it comes with a warranty. The manufacturer will ensure that they serve the seat after a certain period to maintain it at perfect conditions. Again, if some components break and need replacements, you will rest assured that the manufacturer will deliver the necessary parts.
Using the chair for the wrong purpose can also decrease its lifespan. Heavy usage of a chair for a function rather than the intended can result in quick wear. Some people choose to use the office chair for different gaming at home.
Signs That You Need to Replace Your Office Chair
If you use your chair at least 40 hours per week, it will eventually reach the end of its lifespan irrespective of the quality. If you wonder whether it’s the right time to replace your seat, look out for the following signs.
One leading indicator that you need to get a new office chair is when your current one stops being comfortable as it was. You may start getting minor aches and pains after sitting for a few hours. If you have always experienced such discomfort from the start, you didn’t get an ergonomic chair at first. Check whether the seating area feels hard or if the back and armrests don’t adjust well. Pay attention to the body, and you will know when to change the chair.
If various components like the wheels, knobs, and armrest loosen or stops working, it’s time to get a new chair. Check also for cracks and buy a new chair if it has torn fabric. Holding back broken parts with glue or tape will not only increase discomforts but also raises fall risks.
If you notice that you aren’t as productive as you used to be, consider upgrading your office chair and replace it with an ergonomic one. There could be a possibility that the seat doesn’t fit you. To maintain maximum productivity, it’s a good idea that you change your office chair after every five years. Remember to always refer to the discussed above features to consider when buying an office chair.
Whether at home or a corporate organization, you spend a considerable amount of time seated on an office chair while working. Therefore, you should invest in an ergonomic best office chair to avoid the risk of developing back and joints problems. The right chair should make it easy for you to do your job correctly to promote spine health. Research around to ensure that you get the best seat that suits your unique body needs. It’s a good idea that you try a chair before purchasing to know how it feels and whether it fits you well. Try making the necessary adjustments before purchase. Hopefully, the above guide will help you make an informed decision.