The modern world has changed significantly in the past few decades. We’ve gone from having a mostly active lifestyle to a sedentary one. Even those who work out of the home spend the majority of their time sitting down. According to OSHA, 33% of all workplace accidents in 2011 were due to musculoskeletal problems stemming from poor ergonomics, and if you have a home office, that applies to you. Your office chair is the first line of defense against these dangerous health problems. How do you choose a good home office chair?
Pony Up the Cash
If you’ve taken a look at ergonomic office chairs recently, you know they’re not cheap. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality chair. With that being said, you can’t really get a bargain-basement chair and expect it to hold up. You get what you pay for in many cases. Be prepared to pay a little more for a decent chair (say, up to about $300).
Adjustability Is Paramount
The number one rule of ergonomics is that one size does not fit all. The more adjustments a home office chair features, the better it will be for you. Look for a chair with adjustable height and tilt so you can adjust it to fit your body perfectly. You should also look for models with adjustable armrests as well, particularly if you spend a good deal of your day typing at the keyboard. Adjustability is paramount – you must ensure that the chair you purchase can come as close as possible to a tailor-made position for your specific frame, height and weight.
As a note, the chair’s height adjustment should provide enough travel that you can leave your feet flat on the floor. If your feet are angled so your toes touch the floor but not your heels, or if they’re dangling in midair, you’ve got the wrong chair.
Comfort is an important consideration when buying a home office chair. Avoid thinly padded chairs and those without padding on the armrests. Mesh chairs are something of a different beast – the mesh features natural give to provide almost the same comfort as thick padding. In a padded chair, look for a model that features memory foam so it will mold to your body’s contours rather than flattening out across the entire seat through use.
There are two forms of lumbar support in the office chair world – thicker padding in the lumbar region and adjustable lumbar support (usually via a lever on the side of the chair’s back). Both can work well, but you’ll get better results out of a chair with adjustable lumbar support. Usually, extra padding will wear down and reduce the amount of support offered, even with a high quality chair. If possible, opt for a lumbar adjustable model.
With the right home office chair, you can ensure that you protect yourself from dangerous musculoskeletal injury, enhance your comfort and even work longer if necessary.