Our health plays a crucial role in our productivity, especially in the workplace. Studies prove time and time again that current office environments put so much strain on our backs as we hunch over a computer eight hours a day. This unnatural position forces the spine into a C, which puts stress on the neck muscles, as well as taking a toll on the arms and wrists.
Ergonomic chairs offer specific types of support for the body that have a measurable impact on employee morale. When we design our workspaces for the worker and not just for aesthetics, you find that the workdays are more enjoyable. Adding an ergonomic office chair can drastically improve your posture, reduce back pain, and ultimately improve productivity.
In this post, we share everything you need to know about ergonomic office chairs, how to choose the best one, why it’s worth it, and what features you should look for.
1. What does an ergonomic chair mean?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines ergonomics as: “the science of fitting the job to the worker. Designing workstations and tools to reduce work related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can help workers stay healthy and companies to reduce or eliminate the high costs associated with MSDs.”
Ergonomic chairs are designed, using biotechnology, to ensure that they promote the best posture for work and the body. This means there is not a one-size-fits-all ergonomic chair. Each one features multiple adjustable parts, so it uniquely fits every user.
2. What features should an ergonomic chair have?
Before you invest in an ergonomic chair, you need to make sure it meets your required criteria. Many ergonomic office chairs have a range of features designed to improve your posture. If you consider the following points, you’ll be sure to find the best chair for you:
- Height-adjustable: The ideal office chair should be adjustable to your height. Check for a lever that makes the seat higher or lower as needed. As a reference, your thighs should be horizontal to the floor. A non-essential feature, but perhaps something to look for, is easy-to-reach adjustment controls—just to make life a little bit easier. A general guide for the height of your ergonomic chair is it should be the quarter of your total height.
- Backrest: The backrest should also be adjustable so you can position it that feels the most comfortable for certain tasks. Look for a locking mechanism that holds the backrest in place so that your back isn’t leaning backward.
- Lumbar support: This is essential to minimize compression on the lumbar discs in your spine. An ergonomic chair with a backrest that follows the natural curve of the spine will provide this support. Make sure that your lower back is arched all the time to avoid that midday slump. This is a feature you should definitely test before you buy.
- Armrest: An adjustable armrest allows you to position your arms in a way that is comfortable for you and avoids slouching. This also reduces strain from your shoulders and neck.
- Material: An ergonomic chair with breathable material, like a cloth fabric, is much more comfortable than a seat with a hard surface, especially if you are sitting for a long time. Leather is easy to clean and a mesh backrest keeps you cool by keeping the air flowing through. Check the seat padding isn’t too hard or soft and made of high-quality foam, so you get the optimum support.
- Depth and width: You should choose an ergonomic chair that is wide and deep enough so that you sit comfortably. If you are tall, you’ll want a deeper seat, and if you’re short, a shallower option is the best. The optimum seating position is your back against the backrest, with 2-4 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of the chair. Your weight should also be distributed evenly and no one part of your body should be strained to relieve another—that is the ultimate goal of an ergonomic chair.
- Wheels: Last, but certainly not least, are the wheels. Think about your office floor. You want to look for wheels that are compatible with the floor so you can slide around your workspace easily—but not too fast!
3. What are the benefits of ergonomic chairs?
- Improves your posture: It’s our posture that bears the brunt of our sedentary lifestyle. Normal office chairs offer no back support and encourage us to lean forward and slump over our desks. Ergonomic chairs solve this problem with a design that has your posture at its core. With adjustable height and lumbar support features, your back gets the protection it deserves.
- Reduces pain: One of the main reasons why you should invest in an ergonomic chair are the health benefits. They nurture certain pain points from all-day sitting and can help ease lower back pain, support the spine, keep joints in a neutral position, alleviate pressure on the hips, and reduce neck and shoulder pain.
- Less worker compensation claims: When workers have ergonomic chairs that have features such as a headrest and spine support, they will undoubtedly have an improved health and wellbeing in the office. This means that companies face less claims for issues such as musculoskeletal disorders due to poor office furniture.
- Chairs are designed for everyone: Everyone can reap the benefits from an ergonomic chair as they can be adjusted to each person’s natural form to optimize individual comfort. There is a chair that will fit your workspace and body type.
- Guaranteed safety: Ergonomic chairs have been tested in labs to be certified to guarantee the optimum safety of the users. They are also durable and designed for long-term use so employers don’t need to worry about replacing costs.
4. How to request an ergonomic chair at work?
If your boss hasn’t invested in ergonomic seating, then the time is now. The points covered in this post should be proof enough that all offices should provide ergonomic options, but here’s another reason why.
Research shows the more comfortable you are at work, the more productive you will be. A study of 4,000 workers revealed after moving to ergonomic office furniture workers experienced a 75% reduction in absenteeism, the error rate reduced by 56%, and time on task increased by 40%.
Explain what pain you suffer from in an ordinary office chair and how an ergonomic chair can help, not just you, but everyone in the workplace.
With a more comfortable chair, you will be able to focus for longer and with a better supported posture, you’ll be able to perform your tasks more efficiently. The benefits are endless and will more than offset the cost of a new chair.
5. How to sit in an ergonomic chair?
To gain the benefits of ergonomics, you should make sure you are positioned correctly in your chair. Here are some tips to sitting correctly:
- Keep your computer an arm’s length away. The top of your monitor should be level with your eyes.
- Sit up straight and avoid slouching. The backrest should help you with this. Keep your neck in a relaxed and neutral position.
- Your arms should be parallel to the floor.
- Place both your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs. This allows correct blood circulation in your legs.
6. Is an ergonomic chair worth it?
We understand that some ergonomic chairs can be expensive. However, if you factor in the return on investment based on the many benefits, you’ll see it’s a worthy investment.
It’s also beneficial to equip the rest of your office space with ergonomic furniture in order to maintain proper posture and reduce undue strain and fatigue.
Cubiture doesn’t just sell ergonomic office furniture. We help you design and create an efficient, comfortable, and beautiful space. With creative, attractive, and organized workstations, your office can look as good as your workers feel.
Contact us today to look through our catalog of ergonomic office chairs and furniture.