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Author Archives: Alec
We all want our products yesterday. But, sometimes, we have to settle for in a few days - fortunately, there are manufacturers like Ergo Office Seating (aka ErgoFast) which take pride in shipping products ASAP (usually within 24 hours), because rea
lly, they don't like seeing their chairs just sitting there (please excuse the very appropriate pun). However, with that speed of service comes the very real question: How are their chairs?
Well, since they are selling on Sitbetter, its safe to assume we've tried them and find them to be to our caliber of quality. The spotlight series this week looks at the Milan Series from ErgoFast, a popular and versatile ergonomic task seating option available in 3 different versions to meet exact budget restrictions.
All three of the Milan models come in the same designer back mesh (not a plain black, but has a little of a pattern to it, giving it a break from the dull standard mesh seen out there) and an elastic yet tough and easy to clean black seat fabric, upholstered over a unique seat foam that molds to the user not dissimilar to memory foam.
Simple, not many bells and whistles, but functional. An ergonomically reclining mechanism with height adjustment, swivel and tilt lock give the basics in function, while allowing for a great value price. This version is ideal for someone looking for comfortable task seating for many employees and needs to stay within a budget, or just as well for someone looking for a simple task chair for home use.
The second version of the Milan comes with a different mechanism and offers different (wider array) of functions than the value version. It is made for functions where more adjustments are required and more of an upright tasking position is needed. Basically, it allows you to adjust different areas of the chair independently, namely the back angle and seat angle. Also features back height adjustment and tilt lock. Whats the benefit of these, above and beyond paying more for them? Having the ability to adjust the chair to fit you, rather than forcing yourself into the chair.
The third version of the Milan is the same as version two, but includes a seat slider that allows you to adjust the seat depth for further adjust-ability.
Which is the best? Comfort wise, they are all going to feel the same. The foam, mesh and overall frame of the chairs does not change from model to model. But the user or purchaser should ask themselves how much reclining do they do in their chair? If the answer is a lot, then version 1 is a great choice, as it is better for that. If have more of an upright working position and type a lot more than you'd like, then one of the other two is probably a better long term investment. (Version 1 is GREAT for call centers, versions 2/3 are great for data entry and overall tasking.)
All in all, this weeks' spotlight was on the Milan series for their different and modern mesh back style combined with a great quality and price median. A unique series that is backed up by Ergo Office Seating's (ErgoFast) Lifetime Warranty.
The Inertia Guest Chair by Allseating is the quintessential value combination of an office chair. It may not be the least expensive, but it does have a better cost of ownership than 99% of all modern guest chairs available. Let's take a look why.
The Allseating Inertia Guest Series may seem like an overpriced modern guest chair, but in reality, that is far from the truth. It has a steel frame (sturdy) and uses the highest quality materials. This we know because we have some here and can vouch for them. Many times the quality - or lack thereof - is visible in this style of mesh back chairs, but with the Inertia, the overall quality is visible...in other words, the mesh is well upholstered and tight, the fabric, whichever grade you should choose, is made for high traffic areas with much abrasion resistance (meaning it won't fade or wear down over time and use), and the epoxy powder coated paint (black, silver or gunmetal) are scratch resistant. But those are just the visual aspects. And while visual aspects upon first receiving the chair are great, the question in determining the VALUE of a chair is "How is the visual aspect going to be 6,7,10 years down the line?" In the Inertia Guest's case, we combine the aforementioned quality of construction with the manufacturer's Warranty to get our answer. (Said warranty, in a nutshell, is 10 years, 325 lbs!, 40 hours a week continuous use...pretty awesome for a guest chair, especially the weight rating!) Bear with me while I do some math, because believe it or not, furniture has statistics too!
Let's say the average cost of an Inertia Guest chair is around $174 dollars (with arms, Grade 1 Fabric - our most popular selection). Well, the warranty tells us we're are guaranteed to have it for 10 years, no problem. So, $174 / 10 = $17.40 a year. You just spend $17.40 a year per chair for a nice chair. Compare that to a guest chair you bought for $49. That lasts you 2-3 years looking like new (remember, we're talking about how long the chair will maintain its like new or close to it look). You paid $16.33 a chair. Factor in the time you'll spend looking for new chairs, receiving them, assembling them and all that (the Allseating Inertia Guest comes FULLY ASSEMBLED), and I think I've made my case.
This isn't a sales pitch, mind you. We're just trying to give our customers the best possible value for their money. Because that's in our best interest too. Take a look at the Inertia Guest Chair Series (or if you want to see all of our guest chairs you can by clicking on guest chairs back there) as a possible long term solution to your guest/side/reception chair needs.
Next week we'll have another spotlight series. Stay tuned!
What are ergonomic accessories, and how do we assess their value in an era when the "hot" term in the office is ergonomics? Everyone wants a piece of them, and everyone wants to charge a lot for them, but before you dive headfirst into "ergonomicafying" your office, let's get a deeper understanding of what will and what can work for your work environment.
Ergonomic accessories can be classified into 3 general categories: Monitor Arms, Keyboard Trays, and Footrests. Some mice are included in this conversation, but only a few. Anything else is really an office accessory, including CPU holders, glare filters and task lights. While not disputing the fact that these office accessories are valuable, they are not focused at providing the same benefits to one's body at work like the aforementioned 3 ergonomic categories.
Monitor arms became increasingly popular with the decrease in price of flat screen monitors - at first a tool for the hip, now a tool for comfort. Not only do they allow for more desk tabletop space by freeing up valuable real estate, but the true ergonomic benefit comes in the ability to position the monitor at the right height for the computer's user. Ideally, the top of the monitor should be level to users line of sight - this dissuades slouching or leaning to read the screen. If you use two monitors, a dual monitor arm may be employed, and the second monitor should be aligned an arms length in front of you and to the right of the main monitor. If you have a laptop, you can still use a monitor arm - you'll just need a monitor. By using a laptop tray, you can use your laptop monitor effectively without using a monitor arm.
What does "not slouching" do? Basically, your mother was right. (Funny how we always hear that as we grow older). The monitor arm prevents slouching, which means you are going to be in the optimal sitting position most of your work hours. Your back is going to be where it should be - leaning against the backrest. Why is leaning against the backrest good, aside from feeling good? Let's look at the shape of the chair to the shape of your spine. Notice the S shape of your spine and how it rests against the S shaped backrest? Most ergonomic chairs will have such a shaped backrest, so leaning all the way back allows your back to appropriately meet the backrest.
Keyboard trays also encourage proper ergonomics by keeping your arms at an even level. This posture of your arms will reduce the strain on the wrists that is commonly associated with constant and repetitive typing. Keyboard Trays are becoming more popular and are usually a more commonly bought accessory - installation requires only a few screws and the benefits are immediate. There are many different types of keyboard trays - they all pretty much function the sames so quality is where the price differences arise.
So getting a keyboard tray is effective in relieving wrist related stress while typing, but like the monitor arm, it has a practical use as well - it frees up valuable desk space. While the paperless office has been attempted, lets face it, paper will always be around. Might as well have more room to spread your clutter!
You may be one of the many people that employ a laptop. As I write this from a laptop, I can tell you that having a laptop is no excuse to eschew ergonomics. There are utilities available to take advantage of a keyboard tray and monitor arm with a laptop, such as this nifty Laptop Docking Station (which is the one I use, by the way):
Lastly, the ergonomic footrests. What is the benefit of that? None if you don't use it right. (Like anything). An ergonomic footrests is generally made for two purposes - one, to give users a place to rest their feet on high chairs or seating areas or two, as an accessory to encourage movement of the feet while sitting. This constant motion won't burn many calories, but it will promote bloodflow, which in turn reduces fatigue. And that's always nice. They even have some with massage balls - so you can get a nice massage in the workplace, provided your feet don't, well, smell.
The idea behind ergonomic accessories is to add overall comfort to the user's workplace atmosphere, and that is a goal that is not to be overlooked nor understated. The modern work lifestyle has evolved to the point where these items are not a luxury anymore- with people spending more and more time on a computer and on the Internet these days, being comfortable for a prolonged period of time is critical to overall well being.
Just think of how many hours a day you'd spend working in front of your computer, slouching forward and trying to make sense of the small text on the screen. (Make the font bigger, if you keep squinting!) A good monitor arm/keyboard tray/footrest combo will quickly and, if chosen right, inexpensively make your or your employees work days more efficient and better over the long run. All of the accessories sold at Sitbetter are quality items - nothing that will fail within a week or even a year, and if it does, it is a good thing you bought it here, because we have your back. It's ok to drink our ergonomic kool-aid - we do.
We recently got a good look at the Humanscale M2 monitor arm - it was debuted at NeoCon 2009, but you don't really know about a product until you see it live and doing its thing. We installed it at our ergo test center and gave it a run - let me say, my first impressions were good ones.
We all know it is a good looking monitor arm - the style is there with either the white accents or the gray accents. And those same accents are what make it visually unique, as there are really few other monitor arms out there that styliscically cater to what's in as far as furniture/office designs go.
Functionality is nothing short of Humanscale's other monitor arms - it works and works well. Easy to adjust, easy to install, nothing that makes you scratch your head and get frustrated over. The range of adjustment offered by the M2 is pretty standard fare, but the beauty is that it is not a complicated item to order or to learn to use. It extends 20" outward and has a 10" height range of adjustment, while supporting monitors of up to 20 lbs (95% of monitors used now a days fall within this category).
Overall, it is a great monitor arm - Humanscale has done a really good job in not only designing the style of the monitor arm, but designing an arm that doesn't cost an arm and a leg too. The value provided by the M2 is great - the simplicity, ease of use at its offered price point make it a great new monitor arm for any office space.
More Images of the Arm in action: