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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it is almost time to whip out your credit card and get going on your holiday shopping. While most, like myself, procrastinate until the last minute to get their holiday presents, it is never too early to begin thinking about the perfect gift to get someone. There are always the standard presents such as jewelry and clothes to buy for someone, but why not think a little out of the box this holiday season? Instead of going for cliche presents, try a present that will last for years on end, that someone can use everyday, and can help them be more comfortable throughout the day. Try buying an office chair this holiday season for your friends, co-worker, loved ones, or even yourself.
Quality office chairs, that are not purchased at your nearest office supply store, can last up to 10 years if taken care of properly and maintained. A ten year life span for an office chair is comparable to a car's life span, and a good one can be purchased at 1/20th the price. Office chairs that are a little more expensive than your average office supply store chair are built to withstand the test of time and are extremely durable. They are also built to provide back support for sitting hours on end with ergonomics in mind. Most presents purchased for the holiday season have less than half that life span and tend to be forgotten about a few months after purchasing. An office chair will stay top of mind even years after purchasing.
The average office worker spends 8 hours of their day sitting in an office chair, meaning that they spend half of their entire day in a chair. In a lifetime that means an average office worker will spend 70,000 hours sitting in an office chair being on the conservative end of the spectrum. With spending such an extraordinary amount of time sitting in an office chair it is a worth investing in purchasing a superior chair for the holiday season. If worrying about whether an office chair that is purchased will work and fit someone you are buying the present for, all ergonomic chairs are made with that consideration in mind. Ergonomic chairs are built with adjustability in mind, meaning a person can adjust and tailor a chair to fit themselves exactly the way they want it to. For people of larger statute or people who are petite, some retailers, such as Sitbetter, offer special chairs just to meet the needs of these kind of people.
With family, friends, and even yourself working long hours everyday it is a priority to work these hours comfortably. While work is pretty much inevitable, being relaxed and healthy does not have to be. A present that would provide that comfort would be viewed as a valuable amenity to have. Many quality office chairs offer memory foam options, as well as options to increase the seat thickness to add extra comfort. Ergonomic office chairs also are built to provide comfort and decrease the risk of back pain and stress injuries that can occur in the future from bad posture or a bad office chair.
This holiday season when shopping for others or even yourself, keep the gift of an office chair in mind. It will be a gift that will be remembered for a lifetime and everyday when your recipient is sitting on it they will be reminded of you. Even if you are on a budget during these hard economic times, there are plenty of options that will provide all the factors aforementioned at an affordable price. Happy Holiday shopping and keep a look out for gift guides coming in the near future only at Sitbetter!
It has been argued that almost everyone at some point in their life will experience lower back pain. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. This pain can vary from being mild to severe. It can be short-lived or long-lasting. However, if it does happen, lower back pain can make everyday activities seem tedious and difficult to do. For some cases back pain resolves on its own within a few weeks naturally. But if back pain becomes too severe, treatment can result in having to use medications, physical medicine, and sometimes even surgery in order to alleviate pain and correct the problem. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent back pain from occurring, and sometimes it comes down to having an ergonomically correct office chair.
Common causes of low back pain include lumbar strain, nerve irritation, lumbar radiculopathy, bony encroachment, and conditions of the bone and joints. Lumbar strain is the most common form of low back pain and typically occurs because of overuse, improper use, or trauma. The condition is characterized by localized discomfort in the low back are with onset after an event that mechanically stressed the lumbar issues. The nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical impingement or disease anywhere from their roots at the spinal cord to the skin surface. Lumbar radiculopathy is nerve irritation that is caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Damage occurs because of degeneration of the outer ring of the disc. Bony encroachment includes any condition that results in movement or growth of the vertebrae of the lumbar spine can limit the space for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves. Bone and joint conditions that lead to low back pain include those existing from birth, those that result from wear and tear or injury, and those that are from inflammation of the joints.
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics or other non traumatic causes is often preventable. A combination of exercises that don’t jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly can help prevent injuries. Most people spend up to 10 hours a day sitting in an office chair and most sit in a chair that was bought because it was cheap and seemingly durable. The best choice for an office chair is one that is ergonomically correct, meaning a chair that is designed to fit the individual, complete with adjustable arms, an adjustable seat, can tilt forward and back, and provides lumbar support. Ergonomic chairs are made with the idea that one chair does not fit everyone and that the users’ body dimensions must be used when selecting a chair so that it does not strain one part of the body while fitting the other. Because the lumbar spine has an inward curve, sitting for long periods of time without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching and strains the structures in the lower spine.
There are many simple ways to get a healthier back. Following any period of prolonged inactivity, begin a program of regular low-impact exercises such as speed walking, swimming, yoga, etc. Do not try to lift objects that are too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Make sure not to slouch when standing or sitting. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back and switch sitting positions often. Periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. With these simple tips in mind, you will be well on your way to a healthier back, less pain, and happier living.
Who would have thought there was a wrong way to sit in an office chair? I guess there is a wrong way to do just about everything, but when it becomes detrimental to your health, that is when a real problem arises. In fact, sitting is harder on your back than standing. Studies have actually proven that sitting in a properly adjusted chair that encourages motion reduces cumulative trauma disorders to nerves, tendons, and the neuromuscular system. I, of all people, am extremely guilty of sitting in my office chair the wrong way, which is a very bad habit I am working on fixing. Over time, I have come up with about 3 strange, bad habit sitting positions I can’t seem to shake.
The first is my favorite, which is sitting cross legged/indian style while sitting in my chair. Overtime, I have learned that knee problems can develop from sitting in this position, as comfortable as it. Especially if one sits like this over the span of many years. Although I am still getting back support from my chair, I’m losing blood flow to my legs which can cause them to cramp up. This tends to happen a lot, forcing me to switch to another bad position.
Normally I then switch to putting my feet on a footrest. Now, I know you are thinking, what is wrong with using a footrest? Normally footrests are very effective...except when you are using another chair as a footrest. Footrests are supposed to make it so that your knees are at about a 90 degree angle because this position promotes the best circulation. My legs are completely straight when I use my chair/footrest which promotes VERy bad circulation!
The last bad position I tend to sit in, is with my back far away from my chair, slumped over on my desk. While this does help me read my computer monitor better, it also is causing cumulative trauma to my back. The best solution for this, is increasing the size of the font on the screen you are reading or getting a larger monitor with a monitor arm that will allow you to adjust how close the computer is to your face.
After reviewing all my bad habits, clearly it is time to break them and start sitting better in my office chair. Some tips I learned to prevent myself from sitting incorrectly are get up and move, keep the body in alignment while sitting in an office chair, choose ergonomic office chairs when sitting, and use posture friendly props. It is best to take a break from sitting in an office chair every half an hour or so for a few minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk. When sitting in an office chair, take advantage of the chairs features. Also if you are sitting in an ergonomic office chair, you are able to adjust the back for lumbar support. Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a small pillow can be used while sitting in an office chair. And of course, posture is important! The proper way to sit in a chair is to keep both feet on the ground, sitting up straight, with your back firmly rested against the seat. Follow this advice and you will be sitting better in no time :)
Scheduled Release Date: August 2009.
Estimated MSRP: Starting at $750.00
What we thought:
Elegant and simple. Humanscale told us that was the goal with the chair, and it seems they have mostly achieved this. Like true Humanscale fashion, the World Chair, designed by famous Humanscale designer Niels Diffrient, the chair is ridiciously simple to adjust - only height adjustment and a seat slider are available, but for most users, it's only what is needed.
Before I get into how great of a chair is was, let me go over what I felt was the not so lovely element of the chair - the lumbar. As with the Liberty, the mesh is very nice, and very conforming, however, it does not provide adequate lumbar support for people with lumbar issues. It certainly won't be causing any lumbar pain for non-sufferers, but it won't be solving any chronic back problems either. But that is to be expected when a chair, especially a task chair, is designed to fit a large majority of the populace.
Despite the lumbar issue for a lower back pain sufferer like myself, I did find the chair overwhelmingly comfortable. It did fit me right, and I'd be able to sit in it comfortable for 8 hours a day (if I committed to interval periods of back stretches, which is not a bad thing). The mesh, as previously mentioned, is the Libery mesh, which is comfortable, soft, and springy. The front egde on the seat takes the waterfall front seat style to a new level - there is no frame on the front edge of the seat, meaning there is absolutely no pressure on the thighs - this is a great thing. The seat can also be upholstered to match the look of the Liberty, as well.
The backrest pivots, meaning that it has motion within the recline motion itself of the chair. This essentially means your back will never be in a static position, a key factor in Humanscale's treatment of ergonomics, and a nice feature indeed. The armrests are attached to said backrest, so they move with the chair's recline motion and match the overall style of the frame, which comes with fixed arms, adjustable arms or no arms options.
Speaking of the frame, it comes in black or white, the latter which looks very contemporary yet art deco - stylish and sleek, to say the least.
As an added bonus, the chair weighs a measly 25 punds, and that is a good thing. It is easily movable and adjustable, and wieghs less using 97% recycable content, meaning it is very green. Despite its slim profile, the chair can hold users up to 300 lbs - considering most task chairs only rate up to 250 lbs and weigh twice as much, that is also a very good thing!
Overall, the chair is a winner. When judging and reviewing any chair, we take into account the value of said chair, namely, what do you get for what you pay for? After all, that is the most important thing with a chair. The Humanscale Diffrient World Chair, while not cheap, does represent a great value proposition in the high end seating market. Compared with other ergonomic office chairs in its class range, the Diffrient world chair looks to be in a world of its own!