Ergonomic Chairs: what are the features you would expect to find in an Ergonomic Office Chair? A buyers guide to ergonomic chairs from Discount Office Furniture Online.
What is an ergonomic chair?
An ergonomic chair allows you to make adjustments to suit your leg length, torso height, body shape, posture and type of work.
You should be able to:
Adjust seat height: the health and safety executive (HSE) has a good diagram which shows the importance of this. You need to have your feet flat on the floor and your upper leg at right angles to your lower leg. Higher or lower than this can cause posture difficulties which could result in backache. Additionally, shorter individuals may need a footrest to allow for this 90 degree angle.
Adjustable armrests: you should be able to have your arms resting comfortably on the armrests with your shoulders relaxed. A 90 degree angle for your upper and lower arm is important to ensure that the shoulders and back stay relaxed and pain-free.
Sit your bottom comfortably on the seat: the length of the seat should be enough to have your spine against the backrest and still have about 5-10 cm between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees. The seat should not push into the backs of your legs / knees whilst your spine is at the back, this can cause pressure on your blood vessels.
The width of the seat should be sufficient to comfortably fit you. If it is pushing into your legs or bottom this could cause circulation difficulties.
The seat should have sufficient padding to keep you comfortable during the time you are resting on it. For some of us that is a significant amount of the day and it is imperative to be comfortable to improve concentration and wellbeing. Some types of ergonomic chair use a metal mesh instead of fabric / leather and padding. The mesh structure has a certain amount of give, plus the ability to maintain airflow and this helps keep the user comfortable.
Adjust your lumbar support: you should sit with your bottom at the back of the chair and the lumbar (lower spine) support should increase in depth and height to fit into this area comfortably
Tilt the backrest and the seat: the backrest in some ergonomic chairs will tilt forwards and backwards to allow for optimum comfort. The seat, also, might need tilting forwards slightly, especially if an individual’s legs are shorter (although see above for footrest note).
Another feature that some ergonomic chairs have is a headrest. Like the other features, above, this needs to be correctly tailored to suit the individual and not be too far forward (forward head posture can cause spine and shoulder problems) or too far backwards (offering no support).
It is important for those individuals who sit for long periods for their work to consider a good quality ergonomic chair to future-proof their spine health. Whilst they may cost a little more initially, they pay back in productivity, comfort and reduced absence.
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