How to choose the right office chair (with one question)

May 2016

Find selecting office chairs confusing?

There are so many office chairs available today. But what’s the difference between them all?

What makes one chair better or more ergonomic than another?

It’s easy to feel bamboozled by choice.

But choosing the right office chair is easier than you think. When it comes to ergonomics there’s just one question really.

Does the chair support the user when they sit down to work?

Here’s what to look out for…

The right support

A good ergonomic chair will provide support so that stresses on the body are reduced. Look for chairs where each area of the chair – the seat, lumbar support area and upper back area adapt to the sitter’s body. The contours of the seat and back should support the user and also encourage movement.

As well as movement, good support goes hand in hand comfort. So look for chairs with breathable material, and quality cushioning (that doesn’t bottom out after you’ve been sitting a while).

But in order for a chair to provide this support, it first needs to fit the sitter. Here’s what to look for.

The right fit

Walk through any office and you’ll see people of vastly different sizes and proportions. Chairs have adjustable parts so they can be fitted to each user’s shape and size.

But beware – these days some ergonomic chairs come with adjustable everything. Heck – you just about need a licence to drive them! And therein lies the problem.

If adjustments aren’t easy and obvious to use, then people don’t use them. And if people don’t adjust their chair to fit them, they won’t get the benefits of the support. They won’t find the chair comfortable, and they may end up with an injury as a result.

What is the correct fit?

A chair that fits its user well will allow them to:
-comfortably rest feet on the floor
-with the thighs fully supported and approximately parallel to the floor
-the user’s back should be comfortably supported
-and the angle formed by the thighs and the torso should be roughly 90 to 105 degrees
-the chair should permit frequent posture changes

The essential adjustments for the correct fit

In your quest for a good ergonomic chair, look out for chairs where users can easily make the following adjustments:
-Seat height
-Seat depth
-Lumbar height
-Backrest angle
-And it’s also helpful to have adjustable armrest position (if the chair has arms)

Mechanism

As well as these basic adjustments, you also need to consider the chair’s mechanism. The ideal is to choose a mechanism that allows the user to move freely. And as with adjustments, look for a mechanism that is ‘easy to drive’.

Let the sitters decide

The ultimate test for chair ergonomics is the comfort test. Get your clients involved. Select a range of chairs for them to try and let the sitters decide.

When running a trial, keep these tips in mind:
-Select a cross section of person size and job/task type
-Explain how they should be sitting and ask them to set the chair up accordingly
-Get their feedback on comfort as well as ease of use
-Ask for feedback on initial comfort as well as long term comfort. This means trialist should sit in the chairs for at least a day, preferably a few days.

 

That one question

Now back to that one question – Does the chair support the user when they sit down to work?

Keep this one question in mind next time you’re searching for office chairs. When you think about support, think:
-Body support
-Comfort
-Fit
-Movement

Get that combination right and you’ve found the right ergonomic chair – as long as it passes the sit test.

And don’t forget the key to comfortable sitting is regularly standing up!

At Crestline we have a range of ergonomic seating options. Want to find out more or arrange a seating trial? Give us a call on 07 855 9932 or email info@crestline.co.nz

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