Are You Sitting Comfortably…?

Have you ever considered that your office chair may be a tool of your trade?

Whatever your trade or profession, it is important that you are equipped with the most appropriate tools of your trade. This will ensure you can perform your role to the best of your ability and with the least risk of injury or bad health.

Due to today’s technology, a large number of people are spending most of their working hours behind a desk but how many of these workers regard their office chair as being a tool of their trade?  It is something that is often overlooked and yet, because of this deskbound lifestyle, more and more individuals are becoming overweight, out-of-shape, and are developing other health problems which are often exasperated by an ill-fitting or uncomfortable chair.

Although a sedentary lifestyle causes health problems in itself, an uncomfortable office chair causes a completely new arena of problems.  Sitting for hour upon hour in an uncomfortable chair can result in serious back problems, neck pains, and just overall body aches from bad posture.

Buying an office chair is similar to buying a car.  Would you buy a car without test-driving it?  The same philosophy applies to your office furniture.  You will be spending numerous hours in that chair so always take time to choose wisely.

Here are some guidelines for you to consider that can help you to select the right office chair, therefore reducing body aches, stiffness, and pains.

  • Back support – your new chair should provide adequate back support.  The back support of the chair should also be adjustable to properly fit your back.  The back support of the chair should remain the same as you move and recline in your chair.  A good office chair with proper back support will improve your posture and therefore eliminate or reduce back pain and stiffness.  Selecting an office chair without adequate back support can cause back problems that could stay with you your entire life.
  • Seating – the padding and design of the seat should be considered.  The front of the seat should have a rounded edge.  A straight horizontal front will cut off circulation on the backside of the knees.  A good tip is that you should be able to slide your fingers between the inside of legs and the front edge of the seat.
  • Width of Seat and Armrests – you need to fit into the chair.  If you have to squeeze into the chair then it does not fit, no matter how comfortable it may seem once you are seated.  There should be room between the armrests and your body.  In addition, the armrests need to interact with the desk.  A good office chair will have adjustable armrests.  What good are armrests if they are not useable or if they are uncomfortable to use?  Quality armrests can help with tasks like reading and writing, and taking pressure and tension off the neck and shoulders.
  • Height Adjustments – people are not all the same height; therefore, your office chair must have a height adjustment.  The specifications to adjust your office chair and to promote good posture are as follows:  thighs should be horizontal to the ground while both feet are on the ground and wrists should be straight while typing. If you cannot find an office chair height that allows both of the above, you may want to find a way to alter the height of your keyboard so that you can have straight wrists while typing and so that your body is aligned properly with the chair and the floor.
  • Stability – your chair must be stable.  Your chair tipping over when you are in it is not funny; in fact, serious and permanent injury can occur.  Look for a chair on wheels with a five-point base and that swivels; this design often proves to be the most stable and will not flip you over on your head when you recline.

What are BIG’s tips when it comes to choosing an office chair?

Take time when you are out shopping for your new office furniture and, if you are an employee, refer to your office manager if the existing furniture your employer has provided is uncomfortable and not fit for purpose.  Once you have decided on your new office chair, make sure it possesses all of the above features.  A good office chair will improve posture, eliminate aches and pains and can ultimately, reduce the amount of workplace absence from sickness.