You need to look after your body. And so nothing is more important than seating comfort and ergonomics when choosing a new office chair. Especially if you or your employees spend a lot of hours hunched over a desk every day. But what exactly do you need to look out for in your search for an ergonomic office chair? A few points to consider for an optimal and healthy work posture!
What is an ergonomic office chair?
Every body is unique, which means that everyone sits in a different way. This is where an ergonomic office chair comes in, with its range of functions. It offers more freedom of movement and support than an ordinary chair, so that you automatically adopt a healthier sitting posture. In fact, using different settings, you can adjust the chair perfectly to your body. That way, you can avoid typical back, shoulder and neck complaints. Today, many major brands are investing in developing ergonomic office chairs. Vitra, for example, has been known for decades for its exceptionally high-quality collections. The office chairs from the Eames Aluminium Group, designed in 1958 by Charles and Ray Eames, are perhaps the most popular today. However, other well-known labels also have superb offerings these days. For example, the now iconic Series 7 Chair by Fritz Hansen, a design by Arne Jacobsen that stands out thanks to its versatility and flexibility. Or if we look a little closer to home: the Vincent Van Duysen Chair for Bulo is characterised not only by its pure lines and innovative use of materials, but also by its striking ergonomic seating comfort. So there is no shortage of options. And yet, there are a number of aspects you need to pay particular attention to in your search for the perfect ergonomic office chair.
Six ergonomic features to consider
The key question: what do you really need to take into account when making your choice? The most common ergonomic office chairs have up to six functions that you can personally adjust to fit your body. Some settings are available in just about any quality chair, others are highly specific and can really make a difference for some people.
1. Adjustable seat height
A basic feature. Are your feet flat on the ground and are your knees bent at a 90 to 110 degree angle? Then your sitting height is perfect: blood can circulate optimally and the pressure on your upper legs and lower back is reduced.
Are you unable to put your feet flat on the floor even with the chair on the lowest setting? Then use a footrest that is adjustable in height and/or angle. Always ask your employees if they have similar needs in this regard. Shorter or taller people often have additional needs. For shorter people, for instance, it is especially important that chairs are height-adjustable. In addition, the seat should not be too deep. On the other hand, taller people benefit from a well-padded seat cushion and a sturdy base with a weighted gas spring that provides pressure relief.
2. Adjustable seat cushion
A function that some people overlook, but which is essential for good sitting posture. When you sit as far back as you can on your office chair, your knee hollow should not touch the front edge. The ideal distance between the knee and the edge of the seat is a clenched fist or four fingers. That way, you avoid blood vessels and nerves in your legs from getting pinched. Some office chairs such as the ID Mesh from Vitra can tilt forward as an option. When you sit on the edge of the office chair, the synchronised forward tilt ensures that your spine is kept in the optimal position. Very useful for people who unconsciously work a lot in this sitting position.
3. Adjustable backrest
Does your office chair get intensive use? Then it's a good idea to ensure the backrest is height adjustable. That's because when you sit upright, the lumbar support of the backrest should provide support in your back cavity. Therefore, make sure you sit as far back as possible when you adjust the height of the backrest.
4. Adjustable lumbar support
A properly adjusted lumbar support prevents you from slouching in your office chair. Sit up straight and slide back as far as you can. Via a rotating mechanism, it is possible to move the lumbar support forward and backward so that your back finds optimal support.
5. Tilting backrest
For a healthy sitting posture, the backrest of your office chair should not be fixed, but should move with you as you lean forward or back. By adjusting the resistance, you can achieve this balance. But make sure you don't set them too loose. When sitting still, you should still be able to lean against the backrest without moving backwards. Of course not every office chair has this feature. So an additional point to consider when choosing!
6. Adjustable armrests
Although your arms usually rest on your desk, it is important that the armrests of your office chair are set at the same height. That way, your arms can rest on the desk surface at a 90-degree angle and your elbows are perfectly supported by the armrests. Of course, some armrests can be adjusted in height as well as in width. In such cases, make sure they are as close to the body as possible.
Would you like personal advice about your new ergonomic office chair?
We work with large and small design brands that have a special focus on office furniture, including ergonomic office chairs. Our staff will be happy to explain more about the collections and possibilities. So give us a call and we'll be happy to help you out!