If you have ever stepped into an office or place of business that values just where its employees sit, you probably did a few double takes about just what constitutes a chair these days. Ergonomic chair shapes have never been confused for the common and ordinary. Many are designed to look a little weird so that your back doesn’t feel awkward or strange. Here are just a few of the most unusual shapes that you might find in these ergonomically designed forms of seating.
The Ball Chair
When most people think of an ergonomic chair shape, they might picture various backrest heights and wave-like seating. However, there are even more unique-looking options, such as the ball chair, popular in newer workspaces and on the startup scene. The idea behind such a sitting implement is to lend the user better balance and posture, along with improved core strength. As there is no backrest on a ball chair, the user has to stay balanced. The result is decreased back pain compared to other places to sit around the office. The ball chair looks very much like an exercise ball. In fact, some models permit you to remove the ball from the wheelbase and use it for exercises.
The Pseudo Spine Chair
In terms of strange-looking seating, chairs designed with a pseudo spine tend to take the cake. These spine replicas could be mistaken for an insect’s exoskeleton. They are designed to replicate and cradle the spine and the back. The user can customize the pressure and support by adjusting the “ribs” of the chair. The main reason that a company might shell out for such an odd-looking chair is for its proven assistance with chronic back pain. For example, the RFM Verte Executive Ergonomic Chair, designed with a pseudo spine, has been known to help back pain sufferers. This form of seating looks strange with its spine replicator, wide lower portion of the backrest and narrower upper half. However, it gets the job done, even if the user looks like some sort of exoskeleton-possessing insect in it.
The Extra-High Back Chair
Some ergonomically designed chairs look like they could touch the moon with their extra-high backs. The extra-high back chair is one of the more unusual-looking types of ergonomic seating. Generally, the shape features a wing curvature of the back to allow for maximum comfort. That wing is also extremely high. You might not see your employees working at their desks; the back is just that tall. Generally, this type of seating is recommend for taller people or those with neck pain. One example of this odd-looking seat is the Ergocentric Geocentric Extra High-Back Synchro Ergonomic Office Chair.
The Kneeling Chair
When you think of ergonomically designed seating, you probably envision crazy backs and strange seats. However, some chairs don’t even look like chairs at all. Ergonomically designed kneeling chairs help put the back in a more natural position. While you might require a manual on how to actually sit down in these devices, the kneeling option is not supposed to look like a traditional form of sitting. Generally, people use this type of seating for shorter periods of time to lend temporary relief to the back.
Shopping for an ergonomically designed form of seating can take some getting used to for businesses and corporations. If you are obsessed with pretty pieces of furniture, such a look will be a shock to the system. From chairs designed to look like the spine of a human to bouncy balls for sitting, there are a fair number of shapes and forms to this health-conscious mode of design.
Whether you’re in need of an office chair for the day job or for your home office, it’s a significant decision. Not only will that chair represent a serious investment of cash, but it needs to provide the support and comfort that you need whether you’ll be sitting down for an hour or spending the entire day in its embrace. Making an informed buying decision is very important, and the following features should come into play in that decision. The right chair will keep you happy and healthy, but the wrong chair can actually lead to serious health conditions, as noted by SpineHealth.
Back Height and Style
A quick look at the various chairs on the market will show you a plethora of back heights and styles. Do you need a chair with a tall back? Do you need a mid-back chair? Is it better to get a chair with a built-in headrest on the back? The back of the chair is important, but you should focus more on a few key areas than just height. Lumbar support in the lower chair back is the most important consideration.
Good support here can make a significant difference in reducing aches and pains, and even in developing spinal disorders. The height of the back should be enough to accommodate your usual sitting position (leaning into the back, for instance), but lumbar support is more important.
The style of the chair’s back is also important. It should conform to (and encourage) the natural curvature of your spine. If the back of the chair is straight, or if it curves in an unnatural way, it’s best to avoid it.
Seat Material and Padding
You’ll find office chairs with all types of seat coverings, from leather to mesh and everything in between. There are models with standard foam padding, and those with memory foam. Choose an office chair with enough padding and support that you’ll be comfortable for the duration. If you will spend a significant amount of time in the chair each day (eight hours or more), opt for thicker memory foam. Mesh can also be comfortable, and the breathability can keep you cooler while seated.
The height of your chair is another very important consideration. It should be adjustable, and you should be able to move the height to a position where your feet sit flat on the floor. If your feet are elevated (or hanging), you’ll cut off blood flow to your lower legs and feet. This can lead to muscle pain, enlarged veins, fatigue and other problems. You will need to match the height of your chair to the height of your desk, though. If you’re not able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your arms even with the desk’s height, you should consider a different desk.
Each of the areas mentioned above should be considered before investing in any office chair. The right chair can make an enormous difference in comfort, as well as health.
Many chairs are labeled ergonomic, but few people actually know what the word means. To some, it merely means the chair is designed somewhat strangely, with interestingly shaped seats and backrests. For others, ergonomic chairs are all about helping out the user’s health. However, not everyone understands just what the components of an ergonomic chair can do for a person’s comfort and well being. Many jobs require the individual to sit all day, staring at a computer screen. While no one should sit for eight hours a day, in many cases, it is unavoidable. Employees sitting in chairs that don’t have ergonomic components might be experiencing aches and pains.
A common problem with standard office chairs is that they can create a whole laundry list of health problems for the user. As a result, days are missed from work due to piercing back pain. If you have a chair with ergonomic components, you will quickly discover just how different the workplace can be. In addition to assisting with productivity, ergonomic chairs provide features that promote better health. If you are suffering from any of the following aches and pains, here are a few ergonomic solutions that can help reverse the problem.
One of the most common complaints of office workers is that they are experiencing back pain. Back pain is often caused by sitting for too long and in a bad position. An ergonomic chair for back pain aims to reverse these pains by supporting the back. A key aspect to ergonomically designed chairs is a lumbar support adjustment feature. This aspect allows the user to adjust the support of the chair to fit their back. As a result, the back is supported and pain is lessened. The lumbar support feature corrects slouching that might be causing the back pain. As a result, the strain on the lower spine is eliminated. If you are dealing with back pain but you don’t want to buy a new chair, you can always look into ergonomic lumbar support pillows for that added boost.
Hand, Arm and Finger Pains
You might not think that your office chair could affect your hands, arms and fingers. However, how your arms are positioned while you type can be deteriorating the health and wellness of those fingers and hands. Ergonomic features tend to involve adjustable armrests. The idea is that you should be able to adjust the arms of your chair based on what you are doing. For example, arms should not be resting when typing. It slows down blood flow and can lead to problems down the road. A chair with adjustable arms allows you to move the armrests to prevent these aches and pains.
Neck and Shoulder Pain
An improper seat in an office can lead to pains in the back, but also pains throughout the neck and shoulders. Ergonomic solutions call for chairs that have height adjustment. If the height of your chair doesn’t match with your desk or your person, you might be raising your shoulders. As a result, pain sets in. And the neck is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. If it is not properly supported, you could be doing serious damage to your health.
To deal with neck and shoulder pain, there is always an ergonomic solution. Most ergonomic chairs come with a headrest. A headrest can help improve neck comfort by propping up the head to create less strain. Pains due to a bad office chair are often all related. The same can be said with neck and shoulder pain. If you start experiencing neck and shoulder pain due to your office chair, your pains might trickle down the back. It is essential to find an ergonomic solution to correct the problem from the neck down.
With so many different ergonomic chairs on the market today, from Office Star and Jobri to BOSS and ergoCentric chairs, finding the right seating choice for your specific needs can be difficult. Ergonomics are certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. An ergonomically designed work chair should be able to conform to your height, weight, and body type, and also be appropriate for your line of work and professional environment. A tall and heavyset man will probably need a different ergonomic design than a short and petite woman, just as an IT professional will probably need a different office chair than a laboratory technician. With so many different factors to consider, how does one find the right work chair? The following information should help.
Why are Ergonomics so Important?
Ergonomic design is a multidisciplinary field of science that considers various human factors with the goal of designing furniture, equipment, and tools that complement the human body and mind, ideally resulting in more productive workplaces and happier, healthier workers. The way people sit is a very important part of this. Sitting is not as sedentary of a position as one may assume. When a worker in any given field sits in a chair all day (or for a large chunk of their workday), they are also engaging in activities in that chair, which are all influenced by the way that worker engages with their surroundings – especially their chair. The following video is by Allseating a chair manufacturer that describes the cores needs in building your ergonomic workstation.
What Makes a Suitable Work Chair?
If you’re shopping for ergonomic chairs, the most important human factors to consider are the body dimensions of the individual who will be sitting in each chair. And this means all the body dimensions. An ill-fitting chair might be ideal for someone’s height, but not appropriate for their weight and body type, for example. This can lead to stress and strain, and ultimately injury, which could in turn leave a worker unable to work and an employer in hot water. There are other factors to consider, such as the costs of repairs and maintenance, in addition to the initial costs of purchasing the chairs. Avoiding repetitive stress injuries is worth the investment, but not if the company goes into the red from the costs of owning the chairs. Luckily, many manufacturers make some very affordable models that are also high in quality. The following video is for the ergoCentric Geocentric petite ready chair.
It All Comes Down to Body Type
Make sure to gather information about the heights of employees before purchasing new ergonomic chairs for the whole office. An ideal work chair will be roughly a quarter of the user’s height. While most employees doing similar jobs will probably be comfortable in similar or identical chairs as long as the seat and armrests are adjustable, there will also probably be a few outliers who will have special ergonomic needs and require somewhat different chairs. No one should be punished for being uncommonly short or tall, having a long torso or unusually sized limbs, or being otherwise out of the norm. To avoid repetitive stress injuries and find the ergonomic chairs with the best value, consider body type first.
Ergonomic chairs have become an essential part of the workplace. Chairs designed with proper ergonomics promote good health and comfort. They enforce the idea that the chair should adjust for you and not the other way around. However, ergonomic chairs can be quite expensive, especially the top-of-the-line, best ergonomic chairs. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to look for a chair that brands itself as being ergonomic. You merely need to look for a few components that promote ergonomic design. By keeping an eye out for these features, you might find a chair with ergonomic features but at a price your pocketbook can appreciate.
Begin by looking for chairs with height adjustment
If you are confused as to what makes a chair ergonomic and why many of these chairs cost an arm and leg, you merely need to think of these seats as loaded with adjustments, especially height adjustment. Even if you see a chair in your price range that doesn’t say it is ergonomic, check to see if it features height adjustment. Height and backrest adjustment are key components of ergonomic design. They allow the user to adjust the chair to suit their lower back needs and their height. In the process, the back is happier and the legs can enjoy proper circulation.
Seek out chair mechanisms
A chair mechanism might be a foreign feature to you. However, if you look closely at the description of those fancy ergonomic office chairs, you will probably see this term mentioned. The chair mechanism controls how the seat and backrest move. It allows the chair to lock into any number of positions. Even if you can’t afford the most expensive ergonomic chairs, you can still look for cheaper options with this feature. Many ergonomic chairs come with a multi-function mechanism. This allows you to adjust the backrest to multiple angles, along with the pitch of the seat pan. You might also see chairs with a knee tilt mechanism. This helps you to keep your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the floor when you do lean back in your chair. In the process, you experience better blood flow, which leads to less fatigue and discomfort.
Check to see if the seat slides
Another ergonomic component to chairs is the seat slider. You might only be looking for a chair in the $100 to $200 range. Even at this price point, you should be able to find chairs that have a seat slider. The seat slider allows you to adjust the seat to fit your height and width, rather than you having to try and fit into a chair that doesn’t exactly suit your dimensions. You can fit more comfortably into the contours of the seat as a result. The ergonomic feature of a seat slider adds more comfort and customization than a basic chair.
You might not have the budget to shop in the top-of-the-line ergonomic chair section. However, there are ergonomic chairs to suit all budgets. Even if you can’t afford the priciest chair, you can still seek out features in more affordable office chairs that promote ergonomic design.