Finding an office chair that properly fits an individual in every aspect can be a tough task considering most chairs are designed to fit what many manufacturers consider to be the norm, individuals that are 5’5″-5’10″ and weigh less than 250 po
s. Unfortunately that leaves many sitting in a chair that does not fit them correctly or a chair that can not support their weight, especially when a business standardizes one chair model for their entire office. Even worse, a chair that is not properly fitted to the individual can lead to work related health issues such as back pain, lumbar pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and other aches and nuisances. If you do not have an ergonomist on hand, which most companies do not, the perfect fit chair can be achieved with a little research. When researching potential chairs it is essential to take a look at all of the features and adjustments the chair comes with.
Users should be able to sit with their feet comfortably on the floor or on a footrest without pressure on the underside of the thighs. The thigh-to-torso angle should not be less than 90°.
Users should be able to sit in the chair without undue pressure against the back of the knees, their back properly supported by the backrest and with adequate thigh and leg support.
Seat Pan Angle
This should allow users to support their feet on the floor or footrest. This should not cause the user’s torso-to-thigh angle to be less than 90°. Forward seat pan angles should not cause users to shift excessive weight to their feet or experience the sensation of sliding out of the chair.
The seat should be wider than the hip breadth of the user with allowance for movement and clothing. The seat width should not limit the ability to use the armrests comfortably.
All backrests should provide adequate lumbar support and backside clearance. For tasks requiring upper body mobility, the backrest should not interfere with the user’s movement; a mid or low back chair is would be recommend. For users who prefer reclining postures or greater upper back support, the back height should be tall enough to provide support for the shoulder blades.
The width of the backrest should provide adequate support for the curvature of the user’s back without causing localized pressure points.
The height and shape of the lumbar support should coincide with the lumbar curve of the user’s back. The support should be firm, but not cause localized pressure points. An adjustable backrest often helps the user achieve the correct positioning.
This should allow users to sit in a variety of postures while supporting their forearms and/or elbows in a manner that avoids lifting the shoulders, this often results from armrests that are positioned too high, or leaning to the side to reach the armrest, this results from armrests that are positioned too low. The armrest height should allow accessibility to, and performance of, tasks.
The length of the armrest should allow users to sit close enough to the work surface to perform their tasks while maintaining contact with the backrest.
Inside Distance Between Armrests
Armrests should allow users to sit in a variety of postures while supporting their forearms in a manner that avoids lifting the shoulders and/or excessive outward positioning of the elbows. Armrests should allow accessibility to, and performance of tasks. The inside distance between the armrests should allow the user to enter and exit the chair easily. The hips should comfortably fit between the armrests or supports.
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Article credit: Office Master.
Sit stand desks are slowly beginning to make their way into businesses across the world as more people become educated on the benefits of standing at work as opposed to sitting. The first and perhaps most obvious benefit that comes from standing as
opposed to sitting is movement. When you are standing you are able to move about freely and not confined within the constraints of an office chair, allowing you to burn more calories and stretch easier. The second, and perhaps not as obvious but equally as important benefit that is achieved from a sit stand desk is better overall health. Those who sit for 8-10 hours a day are at twice the risk of suffering from health related issues such as back pain, repetitive stress disorder, carpal tunnel, and even more serious ailments such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer. With more businesses making the switch over to sit stand desks, there comes a need to find furniture that will compliment these desks.
Two key pieces of furniture that are recommended to accompany a sit stand desk are drafting chairs and anti-fatigue mats. Most individuals require a break from standing the majority of the day, which is why it is advisable to have a chair to sit in when a seating break is needed. However, not just any regular office chair will do.
Most office chairs are only suitable for desks that are up to 29-30″ tall with their limited range of height adjustment. Chairs that can extend taller than this can cause safety concerns which is why manufacturers try to steer clear of extended height cylinders when manufacturing their office chairs. The problem with this is that sit stand desks are designed to be high enough for individuals to work comfortably while in a standing position, greater than the average 29-30″ high desk. The perfect office chair solution for this is a drafting stool, which is essentially an extended height office chair. These taller office chairs feature a foot ring or some sort of platform for users to comfortably rest their feet on while seated. In the past, they mainly served as a solution for extended height work stations such as in labs, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, drafting tables, and other places that require individuals to work at higher counter tops. They also work well for use at sit stand work stations with their ability to be adjusted to the right height for a taller work station.
Another advisable piece of office furniture to purchase with a sit stand desk is an anti-fatigue mat. With the goal of standing more than sitting throughout the work day at your sit stand station, your employees will need a comfortable surface to stand on in order to avoid fatigue and loss of productivity. Standing in the same spot on a hard surface such as concrete or carpet will create pressure points and will reduce circulation throughout the lower part of the body. Anti-fatigue mats have fatigue fighting properties that allow for a more comfortable standing experience with their thick cushion designed to promote proper circulation. They also are beneficial in that they reduce back pain and stress, reduce slipping and falling injuries, and provide comfort. These mats can be used in conjunction with a drafting stool, however the drafting stool should not be used on top of the anti-fatigue mat. A smaller size anti-fatigue mat such as a 2′ x 3′ mat will suffice and can be easily moved out of the way with its lightweight design when a sitting break is needed.
Anti-fatigue mats and drafting stools paired together make a complete office solution for a sit stand environment. Neglect one piece of the sit stand set up and you may experience the same work aches and pains experienced from staying seated all day. If you combine all three and you will have the ideal ergonomic office set up.
With many struggling to make ends meet and businesses closing on a daily basis, the need for more affordable products is at an all time high. Both home customers and business customers are looking for ways to cut corners to save money at any expen
se, even if it compromises their health and well-being. Many companies have capitalized on this need, selling sub-par products that they are able to sell at a discounted price due to the inexpensive materials used in construction. An office chair is a piece of furniture every home office and business office can not do without and unfortunately, in order to save money many sacrifice their comfort by purchasing cheap office chairs. While you may save money in the short-term, in the long-term your chair is likely to last a year to a year and a half before you will find yourself having to spend the same amount of money again on a brand new chair. It is advisable to look at what features and qualities of an office chair will ensure that it will last for years to come.
The manufacturer’s warranty is the number one indication of how long you can expect your office chair to last. A good office chair should last you up to six years, any warranty that covers the chair for less than six years in length is probably worth passing over. The warranty is a guarantee made by the manufacturer and shows how confident they are in their product. No manufacturer wants to continue to deal with issues customers may experience from a poorly designed office chair, and will only warrant their products for the period of time that most of their previous chairs have lasted. Be certain to read the fine print of warranties prior to purchasing as some manufacturers claim to have a lifetime guarantee but then in the fine print point out that this only covers one part and the rest of the parts are only warranted for a year. This can be deceiving but is a tactic that is often used to make their warranty look more appealing.
In the office furniture industry you truly get what you pay for. If you see an office chair that looks like a deal that is too good to be true, most likely it probably is. Cheap office chairs will lack in adjustability, not allowing the user to fully adjust the chair to meet their body’s needs and will instead lead to unnecessary aches and pains throughout the work day. They will also be constructed of cheaper materials that are likely to break over time which will constantly need to be replaced in order to have a functional office chair. Unfortunately, when one part of an office chair stops functioning correctly or breaks, the whole entire chair is comprised and essentially useless.
Chair Features and Adjustments
There are a few common features that will indicate a cheap office chair. If it is deemed to be upholstered in caressoft or faux leather, this is essentially a plastic mixed with vinyl upholstery, less comfortable and much less softness to the touch than real leather. Another part of the chair to look at is the base. Most cheap office chairs will have a plastic base which is much more likely to crack or break over time than an aluminum or chrome base. It is also crucial to look at the features and adjustments a chair has prior to purchasing. If the chair only allows for seat height adjustment, there is no guarantee that the seat will fit your legs correctly and the back may be set at an awkward position that leads to back pain rather than helping to alleviate back pain.
The next time you or your company is in the market for a new office chair or chairs be certain not to skip on quality to save money, you could compromise your health as well as others. Most spend more time at work than sleeping, it is best to make the investment on creating a comfortable and productive work environment.
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