Ergonomic office chairs are a necessity if you have a sedentary occupation, spending long hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. An ergonomic chair can prevent and alleviate back pain, and generally make you feel better throughout the workday.
What should you look for in a good ergonomically-designed chair?
As most office chairs are mobile, search for a chair with a minimum 5-pedestal base with casters that glide freely. Chairs with at least 5 pedestals are stable and safe, and allow the chair to swivel effortlessly.
With armrests, choose a chair with adjustable armrests that are broad, cushioned, and of course, comfortable. Sit down on the chair and make sure you can adjust the armrests’ height and move them closer together and further apart. Some chairs even give you the option to move the rests entirely out of the way for times when you don’t need them at all.
It’s also important to take the seat pan (the part of the chair where you sit) into consideration when selecting office seating. The seat pan should allow even weight distribution and support your body comfortably. Also, the width of the seat pan needs to be wide enough to allow for at least 1 inch of space on either side of you and it should have enough depth to give proper support to your thighs without putting added pressure behind your knees, which can cause bad circulation. In addition, the padding should be high quality so that it doesn’t become misshapen over the years.
A good ergonomic chair should let you easily adjust the chair’s height. Find a chair with a pneumatic device that allows you to change the seat pan height as is required, although a spinning, mechanical seat adjustment mechanism is also acceptable. As long as you can easily reach the seat adjustors while sitting, you’ll be fine. When adjusting a seat’s height, make sure the front of your knees are level and your feet firmly touch the ground. If your feet dangle, use a footrest to compensate.
The part of the chair that supports your lower back (lumbar) is very important. Cushioned lumbar support is always a good idea, as is the ability to adjust the support forward/backward and up/down. When setting the chair for yourself, ensure your hips have enough room and that the support doesn’t force you forward so much that you lose thigh support.
Back support is another factor to consider when choosing a chair. A decent chair will allow you to recline at more than 90 degrees. Excellent chairs give your back leeway to move, and shift back and forth as your back moves. A support that’s broad enough for your back, doesn’t put pressure on the side of your back, and is tall enough to keep the middle of the back well-supported is what you should look for.
A headrest is only necessary if you plan to use the chair to read and talk on the phone. In this case, choose a chair with a high back and a good neck rest.
Now that you know what to look for, shopping for an ergonomic chair doesn’t have to be difficult. And if you’re one of the many people who spend up to eight hours a day in a chair, purchasing a comfortable one that will last through the years is definitely worth consideration.