How to Select Ergonomic Office Chairs for Work or your Home Office

Office chairs are the most critical purchases for the workplace as well as for your home office. And, it can also be the most confusing purchase because of the vast number of choices. Let’s start with the most important aspects. Office task chairs must be comfortable, they must provide adequate body support, adjustment should be easy, and they must fit into your budget.

If you take all the available models into consideration and all the options for each model there are literally thousands of choices. There are high-quality chairs made by dozens of manufacturers on the market today.

Then there are the ergonomic requirements. That term is thrown around so much lately that I looked up the definition in Webster’s dictionary and here it is: “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely — called also human engineering.”

Some of the adjustments available on task chairs for your office are seat height, seat depth, arm height, arm/armrest angle, lumbar depth, lumbar height, forward tilt, tilt tension, tilt lock, back stop, back height, high/low cylinder height, back recline, headrest, foot ring, and lumbar support. There are also models that come in more than one size; such as low back, mid-back, and high back. Then there fabric, leather, mesh, or molded. A benefit of mesh and molded chairs is that they are easily cleaned. You also need to make a choice of hard or soft casters; hard casters are for chairs on carpeted floors and soft casters are for hard floors.

If you are purchasing one or several new chairs, the process shouldn’t be too difficult as you can involve the users in the decision. However, if you are developing standardized office task chairs to be used throughout your facility, then you need to take this purchase very seriously. If you live in a major city where manufacturer’s have showrooms I suggest that you and a couple “logical thinking” people at your company make showroom visits and test the chairs. This process works best if you contact the furniture dealer first as they will show you chairs by more than one manufacturer.

If you live in a more remote area, the sales executive from the furniture dealership should have several chairs available for you to try out in your office environment. When you sit in each chair take your time. The sales representative will demonstrate each task chair for you, but you should sit in each chair and try all of the adjustments. Does the chair roll smoothly? Does the chair feel sturdy and durable? Also, ask for the warranty information and find out if labor costs for warranty parts are included.

Janet Vogel, who is retired from the office furniture industry, is now the owner of Homemade Gift Basket Ideas which she created to supplement her retirement income

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