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Big and tall chairs at SitBetter

    Chair Advice

    • What Makes an Office Chair Ergonomic?

      There are many brands of ergonomic chairs on the market today, including Allseating, BOSS, ErgoFast, Eurotech, and many others. With so many different choices of ergonomic chairs and stools, many of which you can probably find in an office near you, it’s clear that ergonomics have become a popular trend in office furniture design. But how many people actually know what makes a chair, or any other piece of office furniture, “ergonomic”? Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about this revolution in seating and furniture design, and making the most of your health and workplace experience.

       

      Defining Ergonomics

      According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ergonomics, which is also known as human engineering or biotechnology, is a type of applied science that is centered on the design and arrangement of “things people use” so that those people and things “interact most efficiently and safely.” The term may also be used to describe the characteristics and design of an object as a consequence of the use of ergonomic science. This may all sound complicated, but at the end of the day, ergonomic furniture is designed to keep people comfortable and safe as they work, and most importantly, to help workers avoid stress-related injuries on the job. The following factors affect the ergonomic design of an office chair, which is the most important piece of furniture for a comfortable workplace.

       

      Back Support

      A regular office chair can easily leave a person with pain in the back, neck, and shoulders after extended use. It really doesn’t take long to feel these effects if you are sitting in a poorly designed office chair day in and day out. With one of the available ergonomically designed products, such as the popular ergoCentric chairs, this is no longer a problem. An ergonomic chair is designed to provide optimal back support, including lumbar support in addition to a classic backrest with just the right amount of padding, to keep the spine in a healthy straight position. This ultimately limits stress, absorbs shocks, and reduces the likelihood of injury.

      Eurotech Ergohuman - Mesh Office Chair with Leather Seat and Headrest

      Height

      The height of a chair may seem inconsequential, but it can make a big difference when it’s wrong. If the height of your chair and/or armrests isn’t right, you will quickly become uncomfortable on the job. Ergonomically designed chairs have adjustable armrests and seats, and sometimes even adjustable backrests, so you can get the perfect match for your height and body type.

      Kadet Mid Back Drafting Chair

      Overall Size

      The overall size of a chair matters in ergonomics as well. The design of an office chair should not only consider the height of various parts, but also the width of the backrest, and the depth and width of the seat. The backrest should be at least 12 inches wide and the seat should be at least 18 inches wide, if not more, to provide adequate support for the worker.

      At the end of the day, all these ergonomic factors can help contribute to a happier and healthier workforce, which makes an organization much more productive in the long run.

       

    • Office Chair Armrests

      Sitting in an office chair at work is almost inevitable with the growing number of desk jobs and steady increase in office related positions. If you are going to be sitting for the majority of the work day, it is important to be sitting in a chair that is going to be adjustable enough to allow you to sit comfortably for hours a day. While most of us search for chairs with functionality, one area of the chair we often overlook is the armrests. Almost every chair has armrests of some sort or the option to add armrests as an upgrade to the chair. Armrests are an important component of any ergonomic office chair. Proper armrest design allows a place to rest your arms while working, relieving the pressure from your upper back and shoulders which sometimes is experienced when using an armless chair. There are a number of different types of armrests available which is why it is important to determine which will work best for your needs and keep you sitting comfortably throughout the day.

      Fixed Armrests - Fixed armrests are the most affordable but also the least adjustable option available. They are fixed in height and are not adjustable. While these type of armrests are certainly an economical choice, they are not a very ergonomic option. They lack the adjustability needed to place the arms at the correct height for your body and can cause back pain because of this. If armrests are too high, this will raise the shoulders, causing tension in the shoulders and upper back muscles. Too low and they may cause you to lean forward which also puts pressure on your upper back. While fixed armrests are not the best choice for ergonomic chairs, they are a good choice for desk chairs that are only used for a few hours a day or conference room chairs.

      Height Adjustable Armrests - At the very minimum, armrests should be able to adjust in height to enable your arms to rest in a comfortable working position for your everyday tasks. Height adjustable arms can be found as an option or included on most office chairs and is among the most popular armrest available. If it is not included in the price of the chair, adjustable armrests are generally reasonably priced to add-on as an option.

      Some height adjustable armrests are also width adjustable, allowing the user to move the armrests out further from their seat if they are wider or bring them in closer to the body if they have a smaller frame. If you do have width adjustable armrests be certain not to put the armrests too close together as this can interfere with relaxed typing and restrict the ability to rest your hands in your lap when you are not typing, creating a confined environment. Armrests which are too far apart may cause shoulders to over-extend, causing upper back strain. Width adjustment is not as common as height adjustment in armrests and can only be found on certain models by select manufacturers.

      Multi-Function Armrests - Multi-function armrests are highly adjustable and allow for the arms to be adjusted in height, width, and the arm pad has the ability to pivot. These highly adjustable armrests are a great option for shorter or wider individuals that need their arms closer to their body or farther away. The independent pivoting action helps accommodate sideways arm postures that are commonly found among computer users.

      With the large range of adjustments available in multi-function arms, it is important to make sure that they do not interfere with your work surface. Poorly designed armrests may constrain postures, causing users to hunch forward and work with elevated arms. Specific work stations set ups may interfere with armrests, contributing to poor posture while working. Pivoting armrests allow the arm pad to be angled inward to prevent problems with narrow diameter corner work surfaces which can be obstructive.

      Lateral Adjustable Armrests - Perhaps one of the most advanced armrests to emerge on the market to date, lateral adjustable armrests are an ergonomist's dream come true especially in the petite market. They are both height and width adjustable and perhaps the best feature of all, can telescope up to 3" inwards. They are a great choice for petite users that have a difficult time finding an armrest that allows them to rest their arms at the correct position close enough to their body without having to use a children's chair. These advanced armrests are expensive in price but also among the most ergonomic/adjustable option out there.

      Designing good armrests is not an easy task. Not only do people come in a broad range of sizes; they also develop their own ways of sitting over the years. Women tend to sit upright whereas men tend to lean back in their chairs and lounge. Armrests also must accommodate users' different workstation configurations, including ergonomic accessories such as keyboard trays and mouse pads. Finding the right armrests luckily is not as difficult of a task. With the research and technology being developed in the field of ergonomics, armrests are now able to fit a larger range of users than ever before. When deciding which arms will work best for your work environment, remember the more adjustable the better.

    • Correct Sitting Posture

      Correct Sitting PostureLower back pain is a common complaint among office workers, but also a problem that is very preventable, with proper care and attention. One of the most common causes of lower back pain is bad posture. If you remain mindful of your posture, you can help ease a lot of the pressure on your spine, thereby relieving your back pain. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind that will help you have better posture.

      Control Your Breathing: Controlled breathing is a great way to relax, relieve stress, and control your posture. Slow breathing through your nose will be key to your good posture, and will take a load off of your shoulders, literally and figuratively.

      Take it From the Top: When using a computer at work, make sure to keep your eyes level with the top of the monitor, to avoid neck strain. Try to keep your ears in line with your shoulders, which will prevent you from leaning too far forward or backward and putting pressure on your spine.

      Elbow Room: You should sit with your elbows at 90-degree angles, and keep your arms low enough so that your shoulders are not raised and tense. Doing simple stretches, like a shoulder shrug, at your desk will help to relieve tension and loosen your body.

      Have Your Back: It’s very important to keep your lower back or lumbar region properly supported while seated. Not doing so causes you to slouch throughout the day, which puts a lot of strain on the spine, resulting in back pain. If your office chair does not have the appropriate ergonomic accommodations, a seat wedge or lumbar support pillow can be a cheap and effective tool to help you maintain proper posture.and decrease stress.

      Not a Foot Out of Line: When seated, make sure there is a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your chair. Your knees should be positioned just below your hips, which means your thighs will be parallel to the ground. Keep both feet planted firmly on the ground. All of this will help to give you a good solid base, and to distribute your weight evenly throughout your body, which again takes pressure off of your spine.

      Get Up, Get Loose: Sitting in one position staring at a computer screen all day is not good for you. Make sure you get up at regular intervals to stretch, and walk around the office. Sitting for long periods of time is bad for the whole body, limits blood circulation, and even decreases your life expectancy!

      Even though you may not think that working in an office is a particularly strenuous job, it can still take its toll on your body over the years. Make sure you keep good posture and support your spine. Doing so will not only keep you more comfortable and relaxed, but will help to avoid lower back pain problems in your future.

    • How to Get the Most Out of Your Office Chair

      Get The Best From Your Office ChairIf you don’t build your office chair correctly, then obviously it’s not going to be very comfortable, nor will it last very long, either. It’s so important to construct the chair properly, in fact, that the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that people follow their instruction manuals to a T if they want to maintain their chairs’ safety and ergonomic effect.

      What’s not so obvious, though, is that office chairs need to be properly serviced, having all of their parts and equipment checked once every six months as recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

      It might sound like a tricky chore, but don’t worry. It’s not as difficult as it seems. Here are the things you need to check out to make sure that your office chair is just as ergonomic as it was the day you bought and assembled it.

      1. Tension.
      Office chairs typically come with a tension control that allows each user to adjust the chair to a position that better compensates for their body weight. For a smooth tilt motion that’s also controlled, it’s important to check and make sure that this control is properly adjusted. When someone sits down, the chair should smoothly tilt--so make sure that it still does during your inspection.

      2. Ideal Settings.
      Each person has their own settings that are ideal for them, because each person has a different height, weight, and build. What might be most comfortable for one person, isn’t nearly as comfortable for the next. To make sure a chair is still as ergonomic as it can be, make sure that each of the settings can still be adjusted.

      3. Positioning.
      If the chair is ergonomically correct, the person sitting should have their fit flat against the ground and their thighs parallel to the floor. To correct this during the check, just adjust the chair’s height until the settings are right.

      4. Height and Lumbar.
      The lumbar region of the back is the lower portion where the spine naturally curves out. Many office chairs lack lumbar support, making the spine lose its natural S-shape. This causes several issues. It puts undue stress on the lower back, while forcing the spine to take an unnatural shape, resulting in pain and discomfort. If the chair is in proper ergonomic condition, the lower back should will come into direct contact with the lumbar support.

      5. Casters.
      Casters are the small wheels on the end of each of the base’s feet. The best ergonomic chairs will have five different feet, complete with a caster on each. This ensures that weight is spread out proportionally, and also allows the user to move freely. If even one of the casters is broken or missing, it will throw the balance of the chair off, forcing its occupant to sit in an awkward, unnatural position.

      There’s a reason why the office furniture manufacturing industry generates over $23 billion a year in annual revenue. It’s because these ergonomic chairs effectively make offices more comfortable to work in, eliminating the aches and pains that result from sitting unnaturally. If you want your chair to remain as comfortable and ergonomic as possible--if you want to get the most out of it--then you’ve got to check it for these five things twice a year.

    • Five Things an Office Chair Expert Can Teach You About Your Ergonomic Needs

      Chair experts can help you to determine your ergonomic needs. In doing so, they will explain these facts in detail.

      Adjustable Height Is the Best Height

      Height Adjustable Chair Height Adjustable Chair

      Adjustable seating options are an excellent choice, since everyone has their own requirements. Your feet should sit flat on the floor while your back remains straight. A pneumatic adjuster allows you to adjust the height. From 16 to 21 inches from the top of the seat to the floor is a suitable size for most users.

      Considering the Backrest

      Consider the quality and measurements of the backrest when you shop for office chairs. The backrest should be 13 to 19 inches high and naturally support your spine. It should also give your lower back proper lumbar support.

      Determine Seat Depth and Width

      Your position in the chair is integral for your spinal health and overall comfort. It will also add to your job satisfaction and workplace productivity. The seat should support you completely when you are sitting. 17-20 inches as a seat width will fit most people.

      Small Seat Width and Depth Small Seat Width and Depth

      Materials Matter

      The materials in the backrest and seat must be comfortable. Standard seat foam will allow most people to sit comfortably all day. If you need soft or firm support, choose chairs with triple density foam or memory foam. Mesh makes for a breathable chair, which is an advantage in a warm climate.

       Lumbar Support

      Last but far from least is lumbar support. It is actually the most important part of an ergonomic office chair. Without good lumbar support, you will slouch and this will strain the lower area of your spine. Adjustable chairs will help an office chair to meet your personal ergonomic needs.

      Air Lumbar Support Air Lumbar Support

       

      In conclusion, if you have doubts about any office chair before you purchase one, consult with an expert before you make that purchase. Then your decision will be an informed one.

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