Sitting in an office chair is pretty much inevitable for most of us that spend the majority of our days sitting and working in front of the computer. Most office chairs get put to good use, with some spending hours of overtime regularly as well as more time sitting in a chair than sleeping in a bed at night. If you are anything like me, you do not take time to consider just how much use you get out of your office chair, especially if you are sitting 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Those countless hours of use can add up and eventually wear down your chair. For most, this will happen sooner than expected especially if your chair is not properly taken care of. Cleaning and maintaining your office chair are key components to prolonging the life of your chair but it takes more than just a wipe down with a rag to keep your chair looking new. If you want to extend your office chair’s life, save your money and the hassle of having to continuously purchase new chairs there are certain necessary steps to take to get more out of your chair.
- Purchase a Chair That is Built to Last – The easiest way to ensure that a chair will be designed to withstand years of use is to purchase a chair that is built to last. This is simple, if you are looking for a bargain chair at your nearest Staples or Office Depot, perhaps you will get a great price but in turn you will also be receiving a chair that is made of bargain components. In other words, it will not last you as long as you might expect and you will most likely need to purchase another new chair a year or two down the line. It actually makes more sense in the long run to spend more on a chair that will last ten years then to have to continuously purchase new chairs every year, and is less of a hassle.
- Look at the Manufacturer Warranty – Almost every office chair comes with a manufacturer warranty, and if they do not it is probably not worth your investment. It is crucial to read each manufacturer’s warranty to determine if the chair of interest will be a worthwhile purchase. Find out what parts are warranted and for how long each component of the chair is warranted for. You can tell a lot by a manufacturer’s warranty; if their parts are warranted for 10 years or have a lifetime warranty, this shows they are that confident in their product and construction of their chair that they are willing to take the risk of extending the warranty for multiple years. Remember when a part breaks on your office chair, that comes out of the manufacturer’s funds to have to replace it which is why some warranties are very limited. It is important to keep in mind that all manufacturer’s will warrant their seat fabrics for less time than their components, which is standard with everyone because this is the first part of all chairs to fade with time due to how often it gets rubbed/used. If you want to make certain that the fabric on your chair will not fade over time, try looking for a chair that has a higher grade fabric as an optionor opt for a vinyl/leather chair that tolerate a bit more use and abuse than fabric chairs.
- Clean Your Chair Regularly – Spills and stains are bound to happen as well as unpleasant order, which is why it is important to be proactive in cleaning your office chair regularly. A good upholstery cleaner will do the trick and keep your chair looking new for years. Keep your upholstery cleaner and a clean rag in a convenient location in case a spill happens. As soon as something is spilled, quickly use your upholstery cleaner blotting the stain with a clean rag before the stain has time to spread and set in the fabric. It is also possible to make your own fabric cleaner with warm water and a little detergent. Be careful to clean gently in order to avoid ruining or damaging the fabric. If you are accident prone, there is also the option to opt for a vinyl or leather office chair which would be much simpler to clean.
- Inspect the Chair Every 6 Months – Just like any other piece of machinery that gets used often, screws and bolts can become loose as time progresses. In order to avoid accidents, such as a chair collapsing or a part giving out, you should inspect your chair at least once every 6 months to make sure all parts and components of the chair are tightened. Look for defective casters/wheels, loose securing bolts, loose arms, broken mechanism, and evidence of cracks on the base of the chair from stress. If any of these parts are broken, contact your furniture dealer to see if these parts are under warranty. As aforementioned, if your chair has a good warranty, you should be able to get these replacement parts shipped to you for free.
- Do Not Lean Too Far Forward or Too Far Back – Be wary to not lean too far back in your chair so that the wheels or legs lift up from the floor. Leaning too far back can cause the chair to give from under you and cause structural damage, or loosen key components that can cause the chair to break or fall apart. Not only that, but you can hurt yourself as well! On the contrary, you also need to make sure not to lean too far forward by putting all your weight on the front of your chair. The chair can tip over leading to your chair getting damaged or even worse you getting hurt by falling onto your desk.
- Determine the Weight Rating – Standard office chairs are designed to hold up to 250 pounds. With the exception of specialty big and tall office chairs, with some that can hold up to 550 pounds, most office chairs you will find online can only hold a maximum weight of 250 pounds. If your weight requires a specialty chair, it is best to pay the extra money to get one otherwise your chair will not be under warranty and will exponentially increase the chances of it breaking much quicker. Big and tall office chairs are constructed with heavy-duty components, sometimes this even includes and all indestructible steel frame, and are specifically designed for tough environments. Every good office chair website will have a place on their product pages that explains the maximum capacity for each chair and if you are unable to find that information do not be afraid to ask.
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In almost any kind of work environment there is one piece of office furniture that prevails over any other piece of furniture and that is the office chair. This is perhaps the most important piece of furniture your office will own, as it is what you will be spending the majority of your day sitting in. With that being said, it is of the utmost importance that what you are sitting in keeps you comfortable throughout the day to ensure productivity. There are a wide variety of office chairs out there to choose from, and each has different functions as well as different designs. Some feature a more modern design, are meant for short periods of sitting, and are more for looks than for comfort. Others sole purpose is to provide maximum comfort for a variety of different users that may be spending the majority of their day sitting in the chair. These chairs are known as 24 7 office chairs and are designed much differently than your typical office chair.
24/7 office chairs are designed for intensive use and heavy tasking purposes, and are engineered to support this kind of work force. Most come standard with a sturdy steel frame construction that is meant to be indestructible and stand up to 24 hour usage 7 days a week. All 24 hour chairs have been tested to meet strict requirements that allow them to be classified as such. Most 24 hour office chairs also have a high weight rating, meaning they can support weights up to 550 pounds while still being comfortable enough for a person who is 100 pounds to sit in.
24 hour chairs are not your typical home office chair and may not be suitable for some businesses. Their sole purpose is to provide comfort and support for multi-shifting job applications such as dispatch or call centers. 24/7 chairs are also designed to fit a wide range of users from all different shapes and sizes. As aforementioned, 24 hour office chairs will fit your smallest employee to your biggest with their sturdy construction and weight requirements. They also come with a plethora of adjustments, so that when one persons shift ends and another begins, they may easily adjust the chair to meet their specific needs. With ergonomics playing a vital role in the engineering process of the chair design, most 24/7 chairs come with a seat slider to adjust the depth of the chair, a back height adjustment to accommodate both taller and shorter users, seat height adjustment to ensure feet are firmly placed on the floor, a back angle adjustment to lean your chair back for stretching or comfort purposes, as well as height adjustable arm rests.
While 24 hour office chairs are designed mostly for jobs that require long hours of sitting with multiple people using the same chair, don’t discredit them for use in your business or home office. For one, they are quite possibly more ergonomically correct than any other office chair out there, simply because they have to be in order to fit a wide variety of users. Also, if you have difficulty finding a chair that fits you properly because you are a taller, shorter, or bigger individual, 24/7 chairs will come with all the adjustments necessary for a custom tailored seating experience.
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Think back to when you got your first desk job. What were you sitting in while you were working? Most likely, your response is an office chair, and this is probably true for about 99% of the United States population. Think of what you are currently sitting in now at your work. My guess is your answer has not changed and you are still sitting in a standard office chair. The same probably holds true for your home office as well. While most of us are still sitting in a traditional office chair, a few have begun to make the switch to kneeling chairs, a revolutionary way of sitting that is making its way into more homes and offices all across the country.
Many are unfamiliar with how to use a kneeling chair and how it can be beneficial to your health. Kneeling chairs were designed upon the ergonomic concept that “a strong back is a healthy back.” While only recently have kneeling chairs become more recognized in the business world, they were actually first designed in Northern Europe during the 1970′s and are recommended by health professionals around the world. By promoting good posture, these chairs strengthen the lower back muscles helping proper spinal alignment while keeping your back positioned correctly. Kneeling chairs are an alternative form of sitting, that can be used interchangeably with your current office chair if you are looking to give your back some relief. When sitting in a kneeling chair, you will find that you are essentially forced to sit with correct posture and will notice when you begin to slump or hunch over, a bad habit that is easy to miss in a typical office chair.
The first time you use a kneeling chair it may feel uncomfortable and awkward which is only natural after years of sitting in a conventional office chair. Your body will need time to adapt to its new seating experience because your muscles and bones will be accustomed to sitting in one particular position. With this being said, it is perfectly normal to feel awkward when first trying out your kneeling chair and you may even experience some stiffness. It is recommended to start off using your new kneeling chair for thirty minutes the first day, then work your way up in increments of 30 minutes each day the first few weeks until you can comfortably sit in it for eight hours a day. Once you get used to the seating position of a kneeling chair and the many benefits it offers to you, it will become effortless and seem completely natural.
There are various kneeling chair models out there, some come with back rests while others allow for a rocking motion, but all encourage sitting with an open posture. In a conventional office chair you are typically sitting at a 90° or less, however an ergonomic kneeling chair encourages you to sit at a 110° angle. The benefit of sitting in an open angled position is this allows your back to readily form to your natural curvature and relieve compression of your spine and its discs as well as tension in your lower back and leg muscles. Another benefit of adopting the kneeling seating position is that it allows your diaphragm to move efficiently and promote better breathing and blood circulation
It is important not to let the name kneeling chair fool you. You do not want to have most of your pressure on your knees and shins as this will only lead to health problems and soreness. Your bottom should be carrying most of the weight, as it would on an office chair; the knee pads are only there for support for your shins. It is best to begin by sitting on your kneeling chair’s seat pad, followed by sliding your knees into the knee pads forming a kneeling position. It is a good idea to keep your original office chair to begin with when first getting a knee chair to alternate between the two as you get used to your new seating experience. Some people like to continue alternating between the two even after awhile, which is completely normal. Ultimately, it is up to the individual whether they believe a kneeling chair would work for them, but it can not hurt to try especially if you are looking for a way to relieve some back pain or you just want to try a different way of sitting.
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There are a large variety of desk chairs out there in all different colors, sizes, upholstery options, and adjustments; but how do you know which one will work best for your office space? A good desk chair, whether it is for your desk at your work office or home office, will provide you with enough support to keep you comfortable throughout your sitting duration. With good support comes less back, neck, and muscle pain that can occur from poorly designed office chairs. While some desk chairs are specifically designed to eliminate pre-existing health issues such as lower back pain, other desk chairs are made to match other office furniture. For example if you have a desk in a mahogany finish, some may want to find a wooden desk chair with a mahogany finished frame to match their desk. Whether you spend much of your day sitting in your desk chair or if your desk chair is more for show, there are certain guidelines that should be followed when choosing a desk chair.
First and foremost, you will need to determine the type of desk chair you need. There are numerous desk chairs out there ranging from high back, ergonomic, mid back, wood, and more; making it important for you to know how much time you will be spending in your desk chair. If you will be spending the majority of the day sitting in your office chair, a high back desk chair might be a good choice for you since higher backrests support the spine which in turn reduces neck and upper back strain. If you have pre-existing health problems such as lower back pain, it might be best for you to choose an ergonomic desk chair that will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to meet your needs. If you do not spend most of your day sitting in your desk chair and do not experience pain from standard task chairs, a mid back chair would suite you just fine. If your desk chair is really more for show and you will be spending minimal time sitting in it, perhaps look for a wooden desk chair to match your furniture in your office or try looking for a modern chair. There are many modern office chairs that look great and fit in nicely to almost any office space, however, be aware that most modern chairs lack the support some people need.
Once you have determined the type of desk chair you need, you will then want to look at the features you will want included in your chair, including the option of casters or glides. Most desk chairs come standard with rolling casters which allow you to move quickly and efficiently from one spot to another. Desk chairs that have glides are stationary, meaning they do not move unless you pick the chair up yourself. A desk chair with glides would be ideal for extended height applications where your work station is higher than a typical desk and you need a steady chair to work on your projects. Many architects, artists, painters, and lab personnel opt for this style of seating as their work requires them to sit still. Some desk chairs also come with the option of having pressure breaking casters, which lock to prevent movement while you work whenever pressure is exerted on the wheels.
Another important option that must be taken into account when choosing a desk chair is making sure to select a chair that will fit properly underneath your desk. This will require knowing the dimensions of the chair you are interested in which is typically displayed under the product descriptions on most office chair retailer’s websites. You should also know the height of your desk and how much clearance is needed for you to be sitting comfortably underneath your desk. You should be able to sit comfortably with your feet firmly planted on the floor with knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you need an extended height desk chair, choose a desk chair that has a foot ring. If you are of shorter stature, search for a petite chair that will allow you to have your feet firmly planted on the floor otherwise you may find that you are not able to place your feet on the floor. The same goes for taller users; be sure to look for a big and tall chair that are specifically constructed for people over 6 feet tall and generally have higher weight ratings as well.
The last key option you will want to take into consideration when choosing your desk chair is the type of armrest you will want. If your desk height is lower than a standard desk and you are not going to have a lot of clearance from the desk to the top of your thighs, consider getting a chair without arms. Armrests are not always necessary features to have, especially if you spend most of your time typing. You may also opt for an armless chair if you have a keyboard tray installed underneath your desk which will add even less room to move around. If you have a standard height desk, it is always safe to get adjustable height armrests as an assurance that they will fit properly under your desk. If you use your armrests often, look for a chair that has upholstered or padded armrests, which are cushioned and more comfortable. If you only want to use your armrests from time to time, look for a chair that has swing away arms which allows you to essentially swing the arms away when not in use.
The last step to take in choosing a desk chair is determining the type of upholstery you would like to have. Personal preferences will vary between individuals, some opt for leather because it has more of a prestigious look to it while others may opt for mesh to keep cool all throughout the year. This decision is ultimately up to you and what you think will be most comfortable for your desk. Some chairs even come in a combination of different upholsteries if you find it difficult to select only one. If you want to match the desk chair to a certain room, choose a color that matches the room.
There are many different styles of office chairs available both online and in retail stores, however most modern or new models are designed to be adjusted pneumatically. Chairs that feature a pneumatic height adjustment can simply be adjusted by pushing or pulling either a button or lever located right below the seat. With a little bit of pressure exerted by you while pushing or pulling the button or lever below the seat, you may easily have the chair’s height go down. If you get off your chair and pull or push that same button or lever you can just as easily have the chair’s height go up. Older office chair models can be adjusted by turning a thick bolt which allows you to pick the height you would like to have your chair positioned at. Adjusting the height of your chair may seem like common sense and a trivial matter, but it is actually very important to adjust the height to fit your body type. Chairs that are not properly adjusted to meet the needs of the user may cause back pain, eye strain from not being properly positioned in front of your computer screen, fatigue from poor circulation, and numerous other health issues. This can be especially true if you sit in the same position for long periods of time.
When determining the correct height to have your office chair at, first make sure to place it in front of the desk or work area you will be spending most of your time at. If you have a keyboard tray installed underneath your desk, you will also need to take that into consideration when deciding the correct height your office chair should be at. Keep in mind that you will want to have a good amount of clearance between your keyboard tray or desk and your thighs to enable you to work more comfortably. If your computer chair comes with arms you will also want to take that into consideration as well especially if they are not height adjustable.
Once you have determined where you will be spending most of your time sitting and ergonomic accessories that may also play a part in the height adjustment of your chair, you will want to locate where the button or lever is on your chair that controls the height. On most chair models, it is generally located on the right hand side of the chair right below the seat. Some higher end chairs may even have pictures on their levers explaining what each lever on the chair does. All chair models will vary, and you will need to take the time to understand what each button does in order to fully adjust your chair to meet your needs.
After you fully understand how to adjust your chair, place the chair in front of the work area in which you will be using it most often. If your chair can be adjusted pneumatically simply apply a little pressure and push down on the seat while pulling the lever up to have the chair go down in height. To have the chair go up, apply a little pressure to the bottom of the seat and pull up with one hand while simultaneously pulling the lever up with the other. Computer chairs that do not have a pneumatic lift can be adjusted by loosening the height adjustment bolt by hand and pulling up or pushing down on the seat until the desired height is reached. Once you are happy with the height of the chair you will then need to tighten the bolt back to its original place.
The most important part of this process is making sure to test the chair’s height. Once you have reached the height you think your chair will work best for you at, take a seat to see how it feels. Your feet should be resting flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a ninety degree angle to optimize blood flow. It may take a few tries to get your chair positioned at the correct height, but keep in mind that it is important that you do to avoid unnecessary stress and pains. Some chairs will automatically lock into place once you have released the pneumatic height lever. Others may have a separate locking mechanism. If your chair requires a locking mechanism to lock the height in place, make sure to do so before putting your full weight on the chair.
With all office chairs, be sure to treat them with care. Raising and lowering your chair often may cause the chair to wear out quicker over time. If you do not share your chair with others, try to find your ideal height and keep it there, only adjusting it when necessary.