In order to be comfortable and supported during your working day, you need office seating solutions which fit the bill. Not only does this cut down on the number of aches and pains you will experience, but the fact you are comfortable will do a lot for your productivity levels too.
The bottom line is that a sedentary lifestyle is not beneficial for the body, and whilst you need to get up and move around from time to time, to give your body a stretch, much of it also comes down to how supportive your chair is in the first place.
An unsupportive office chair will do you far more harm than good.
With this in mind, there is one word that should be on your lips – ergonomics.
Yes, it sounds confusing, but it’s actually far more simple than you might think!
When it comes to business furniture and designing the general space of your office, you need to think about ergonomics in order to support your staff during their working hours.
In this case we’re going to talk about ergonomic chairs. A recent study showed that a properly supportive chair is one of the best ways to avoid chronic musculoskeletal problems. An ergonomic chair allows the user to adjust the height, tilt, and a few other options, in order to be able to fit their body and their personal requirements. Everyone is different.
Check out this infographic for a visual take on what an ergonomic chair looks like and how it works.
An ergonomic chair is a piece of premium office furniture and a must have for employees who are sitting for long periods of time at their office desk, even if this is in a reception seating situation. The height is adjustable in order for feet to be flat on the floor, and not bent at odd angles, or not even touching the ground. The recline can be adjusted, e.g. how far back the person leans whilst in a sitting position, how far the seating pad tilts can also be adjusted. Some people don’t like this feature because it can make you feel like you’re slipping forward, but again, it’s personal choice and what feels right and supportive to the individual. If the chair has arm rests, these can be removed or adjusted also.
The height of an ergonomic chair is probably one of the most important aspects, and this is something which not that many people know how to alter. This is the best practice to follow to ensure your ergonomic chair fits and supports you is:
- Stand with the chair in front of you and move the seat (the part you’re going to sit on) so that it comes to just below your knee
- Sit down and you should be able to put your feet flat, if not, adjust a little more
- You now need to adjust the width of the chair, e.g. the measurement from where your back touches the back rest, to where the edge of the seat touches your legs. You ideally need around 5cm between the chair ending, and your legs touching; basically the chair shouldn’t directly touch the backs of your calves
- Now adjust the back of the chair so that the lumbar support (most chairs have a raised section which fits into the bottom of your back) sits in the curve of your back. You might be able to pump this up or down to adjust it, but not all chairs have this
- Decide whether you want to remove the armrests (if your chair has them), or adjust them so that your arms sit at right angles
This should give you the most comfortable and most supportive position for your chair.
Whilst ergonomic chairs might be a little more expensive than more basic types of seating, these are an important part of your office set up. Designer office furniture often incorporates ergonomic features, because the huge importance of supporting the back and neck during a long working day. Even boardroom chairs have ergonomic features these days, although perhaps not as many as a regular office chair would have.
An office furniture designer will first look at the space and then consider the types of ergonomic furniture which will effectively and comfortably fit into the space, and this is something you should do when designing your own office environment.
At the end of the day, if your employees are comfortable and supportive, they are going to work harder and have less days off sick – that’s productivity on the rise from the get-go!