Ergonomic Features in Office Chairs: Some Helpful Hints

Most office workers have some vague knowledge of ergonomics, but keeping good posture in mind can be difficult when you’re concentrating on work. How many times do you have to remind yourself to sit straighter, lift your hands when typing, et cetera? Probably too many. It’s easier to make your chair do the work for you. There are several main points of consideration.

Adjustable Seat Height. No human body is exactly the same as another, so why should a chair be? Adjustable-height seating is essential when purchasing an office chair, especially in mass quantities for a variety of users. A chair that’s too low isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s wearying on the body. A chair that’s too high is equally wearying, contributes to a stooping posture, and may not even fit properly beneath your desk. Armchairs are especially notorious for this, which is why it is also a good idea to look for adjustable arm height as well.

Adjustable Backrests. A good backrest is comfortable and sturdy, fitting neatly against your lower back. Poorly designed chairs have backrests that are merely afterthoughts, often hitting your shoulders and forcing your back to curve unnaturally. Sitting in any given chair for five minutes will tell you everything you need to know. As with office chair seats, the best kinds of backrests are adjustable to your body, both vertically and horizontally. A chair with a bad backrest is worse for your posture than a chair with no backrest at all, so be careful.

Stability. All the ergonomic design in the world won’t help you if you keep falling out of your chair. This seems like an unlikely problem, but it’s rather common in some designs, especially four-point (x-shaped) bases. A five-point base is best for chair stability, whether your chair has casters or flat pads. A five-point chair with casters is virtually impossible to tip over without running it into an obstacle.

As with all tools, a user should learn how to use his or her ergonomic chair to get the best results. The finest chair ever designed won’t be very useful if the person sitting in it doesn’t even know how to sit up straight in it. For this, some training might be required, as well as possibly switching up other elements of the user’s workspace (such as a desk) to make proper posture come more easily. A well-designed chair is not a cure for all ergonomic troubles, but it’s a vital tool nonetheless; an ergonomic chair will help you sit straight so you can walk tall.

For more information and a great variety of office chairs, check out More Office Chairs.Com, a proud part of the Cymax Stores Inc. network of online furniture retailers.


Ron Jordan is a marketing associate for Cymax Stores Inc., a premiere online furniture distribution company.

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