For business owners who are located in an office, it is advisable to purchase chairs that are adjusted to the correct ergonomics to prevent back pain and other health problems for your staff. Doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists all warn that people can develop overstretched ligaments and spinal issues due to sitting in an ill-fitting chair for extended periods of time. Switching your office chairs to something with ergonomics could be what your company desperately needs.
What do I Need to Know When Selecting a Good Ergonomic Chair?
Deciding on an effective, ergonomic chair is an important step to protecting the health and safety of your employees, particularly against health conditions that are associated with extended periods of sitting like spinal injuries. From an ergonomic perspective, sitting is a specialised activity and a person’s environment will greatly affect it. With that in mind, tailoring the environment for the optimal sitting experience is important.
The basic concepts that should be considered when purchasing an ergonomic chair include:
- It is a mistake to think that one chair will fit all sizes. A person’s body type needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on an office chair, to prevent muscle strains.
- The optimal seat height of a chair is based on a person’s height. A good way to determine the best height for an individual is to stand them next to the seat pan of the chair. The height of the seat pan should be adjusted to come just below the person’s kneecap.
- Business owners should be prepared to keep up on the maintenance of their ergonomic chairs. It is advised to check with the manufacturer whether there are parts of the chair that need to be inspected and the frequency that the inspections are conducted.
What to Look for in an Office Chair?
So, you think you’ve found the perfect office chair? Compare it with our features checklist and put it to the test:
- Lumbar Support: Adjustable lumbar support allows the user to fit this to their lower back. No two people are the same and everyone has different needs. The more the chair is able to adjust to these the more users will avoid debilitating conditions like sciatica.
- Adjustability: The adjustments mentioned in the steps above should be the minimum that users should adjust for their comfort and posture. Some chairs come with as many as 14 adjustments, the more the better! As a minimum, chairs should be adjustable in lumbar support, height, width, seat back angle and tension control.
- Wheel Base: Chairs that have wheel bases are advantageous to stop users having to overstretch to reach things. Wheel bases that work on carpets are also available and it is advisable to check whether this is something that you need.
- Swivel Base: All chairs should have the ability to swivel freely so that users do not need to turn or risk arm fatigue by stretching to retrieve things.
- Fabric: Breathable fabric should be considered so that the user does not become uncomfortable in a hot environment. Alongside this there should be enough padding in the chair to ensure that the user cannot feel the frame of the seat through the material.
The Benefits of Ergonomic Chairs
Switching your office furniture to something with ergonomics could be what your company desperately needs. Still need convincing? Here are a few reasons to consider purchasing ergonomic furniture for your office:
- Health – The first and arguably the most important reason for buying ergonomic office furniture is for the health benefits. Sitting at a desk for extended periods can have a number of health impacts including; postural issues, aching joints and even improper digestion. Ergonomic office furniture can be adjusted to suit the user, ease stressed body parts and develop healthy ways of working.
- Increased Productivity – Ergonomic office furniture is linked to increased productivity in the workplace. Not sure of the correlation? Try sitting in an uncomfortable position for several hours, and complete some tasks. From the outset, you acknowledge that you’re not comfortable. The longer you sit this way the more your body will ache, which will affect your concentration and focus. The more distracted you are, the more unlikely it is that you will complete your task. It’s simple, a good working environment will encourage good working.
- Ability to Tailor – Office workers come in all shapes and sizes. Furniture that is unable to be adjusted is not going to cater for the amount of people that need to use them, particularly if you are hot desking. Furnishing your office with fully adjustable office furniture such as chairs and height adjustable desks will enable anyone to adjust their furniture for their comfort.
- Reduced Costs – As mentioned before, fully adjustable office furniture will help prevent health implications such as spinal injuries and other things. The less likely that your staff are suffering with injuries, the less likely that they will be absent from work due to sickness. Staff shortages, sickness pay and compensation costs will all mount up if employee wellbeing is considered. Ergonomic furniture is a small price to pay when considering what other costs might be around the corner.
- Improved Reputation – Equipping your workers with adjustable office furniture is for their benefit first and foremost. Doing this for your workforce demonstrates a company’s commitment to health and safety. Such attributes are recognised as positive factors within business and can put you in a good light with your peers, associates and clients. Would you rather be known for something positive or negative?