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Sticky Notes Blog

January 11, 2012

Ergonomic office chairs: choosing the right one for you

As thrilling as office chairs might seem, they’re actually one of the most important elements of our daily lives.  Think about it: for those of us who work in an office, we spend 40+ hours a week in our chairs.  That’s probably more time than we spend doing anything else, other than sleeping.  If your chair is too old, worn down, uncomfortable and ill-fitting, and you are trying to tolerate it for 40 hours a week, you probably aren’t being as productive as you could be.  How to tell whether your chair has “had it”?  Let’s look at some telltale signs it’s time to get up out of your seat and, well, sit back down into another one.

First (and most importantly), how comfortable do you feel in your chair? One of the main indicators of chair fatigue is that you don’t feel as comfortable as you once did.  Does the chair seat seem like it’s lost its cushion?  Is it breathable, or hot and sticky?  Is it coming apart, showing foam, a full-blown chair embarrassment?  Hey, it happens.

If discomfort isn’t immediately apparent when you sit in your chair, sit tight and consider this:  If you experience any pain or discomfort that starts to creep up as the day goes along, it means trouble.  Repetitive motion injuries can be caused in part by ill-fitting office chairs.  Whether you have problems with your back, wrists, hands, shoulders, neck, hips, or even your eyes, your office chair could be contributing to your body’s misalignment.  Over time, such stress can inflict permanent and far-reaching bodily harm.

Ok, so your chair is now starting to seem a little scary.  How to evaluate a possible replacement? The key word here is ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging things so that people interact with them efficiently and safely. Your office chair is one of the most important elements of ergonomics, and the right chair will help combat the aches and pains of office jobs. Here are some guidelines for selecting an ergonomic chair:  First, find one that is fairly upright when you sit in it, and one that allows you to rest your feet on the ground with your legs forming a 90 degree angle. Both of these features help with correct posture. You should also make sure your chair has a lumbar adjustment with both height and depth to ensure sufficient support to the inward curve of your lower back. Make sure the chair is breathable, and is adjusted to the proper height for your feet to rest correctly.

These tips will provide a good start in choosing the perfect office chair for you.  If you’d like more help finding the right chair, an EON furniture specialist can provide ergonomic consultation designed specifically for you and your workplace.