Having an ergonomic office chair has become a necessary piece of office furniture for any business where employees are required to sit consecutively for multiple hours at a time. While purchasing an ergonomic chair is certainly the first step towards achieving a comfortable work environment, another essential step to take after purchasing is to fully understand how each adjustment works on your new ergonomic chair. No matter how adjustable a chair is, it will not benefit the user unless it is properly adjusted to meet their needs and specifications. If you have recently purchased an ergonomic office chair with advanced adjustments that go above and beyond the typical seat height adjustment most chairs come with standard, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with your new chair in order to utilize its full capabilities and comfort potential. By educating yourself on the features of your office chair, you will be able to properly adjust your chair to fit your body and you may even find yourself pleasantly surprised with additional features you were not even aware of when purchasing. We have outlined a few advanced adjustments found in highly ergonomic office chairs that your chair right now may have or may need, and how to properly use this adjustments.
Seat Slider – A seat slider is typically an add-on or an upgrade for most chairs, however it does come standard on some ergonomic office chairs. A chair that has a seat slider adjustment is advantageous to shorter or taller individuals as it allows for you to increase or decrease the depth of the seat. This is also a great feature to have if multiple people use the same office chair to accommodate the different heights of the users. A seat slider can be extended typically by pulling up on a lever located directly under the seat while simultaneously pulling the seat out to make the depth longer. If you would like a smaller seat depth you would pull up on the lever again and simultaneously push the seat in to make the depth shorter. A seat slider is always beneficial to have on any chair as it allows for you to have the correct seat depth for your body, without having a seat that is too long and hits the back of your knees or too short that your thighs do not receive enough support.
Air Lumbar Support – Air lumbar support is a pump built into the lower part of the chair’s backrest that allows the user to inflate or deflate the level of support needed in the lumbar region. Because of its uniqueness, most office chairs do not come with air lumbar support and can only be found on more advanced ergonomic chairs, typically as an upgradable option. Air lumbar support is ideal for those who suffer from lower back pain and want to have the ability to determine the level of support they will receive in the lumbar region. Typically a hand pump can be found on the side of a chair’s backrest and with this pump you can choose your level of support. Deflating is also a simple task, by simply pressing a button on the pump it will automatically return the chair’s back to its original state.
Adjustable Headrest – Having a chair with an adjustable headrest allows the user to position the headrest in a position that is comfortable for both their neck and head. Depending on the chair, there are two ways to adjust a headrest. The first and easiest way, if your chair allows for it, is to manually adjust the headrest by simply moving it up and down or in and out until you reach your desired level of comfort. On other chairs with a less advanced adjustable headrest, you will have to unscrew a knob on the side of the headrest at which point you can then pull the headrest up or push it down until you find the right height. At this point, you could then would tighten the knob to keep the headrest in place. Having a chair with an adjustable headrest is helpful for those who suffer from upper back and neck pain by providing that extra support needed.
Back Angle Adjustment – A chair with back angle adjustment allows the user to position the angle of the backrest and lock it in place. To increase the angle of the back, lift the paddle up while putting your weight on the back of the chair until the desired angle is reached. Release the paddle to lock. To decrease the angle of the back, lift the paddle up while removing your weight from the back until you reach the desired angle. Release the paddle to lock into place. Back angle adjustment is best applied in environments where heavy tasking is required and typing with the back and a forward angle and seat with a downward angle is most comfortable. It can also be useful when you want to take a break from work and lean back in your chair.
Seat Angle Adjustment – Seat angle adjustment allows the user to determine the degree at which they would like to have their seat tilted at. To tilt the seat forward, first recline slightly in the chair and then rotate the handle clockwise until desired angle is reached. To return to the neutral position, rotate the handle counter-clockwise. Other chairs simply have a lever next to the seat which needs to be pulled up apply pressure to the front of the seat for a downward sloping angle or the back of the seat for an upward sloping angle. As aforementioned, a seat angle adjustment is most applicable in heavy tasking environments where long periods of typing may be involved.
While these adjustments are considered to be advanced they can be very valuable to have, especially for individuals that suffer from back and neck pain or as a preventative measure to avoid experiencing back pain. Ergonomic office chairs with advanced adjustments are normally more expensive in price, however they offer supreme levels of adjustability allowing the chair to be tailored to the individual while helping you sit healthy and happy at work. They are also more cost-effective in the long run than a chair with basic adjustability that may break down after only a year or two of usage; advanced ergonomic chairs are designed to last ten years or longer with warranties that reflect this. Your wallet may not be happy but your back will thank you for years to come.
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The single most used piece of furniture in almost any business is an office chair with most of us clocking around 8 hours everyday sitting in one. If you will be spending the majority of your day sitting in an office chair, it is best to familiari
ze yourself with the functions and capabilities to ensure you are maximizing your chair’s usage. Knowing how to properly adjust your chair can also save you from unnecessary work related pains that can occur from sitting in a chair that is not properly adjusted to your body. It can also provide you with insight as to why your current office chair may not be the best fit for your needs, especially if you are experiencing any pain during the day while sitting in it. While some features of a chair may seem relatively self-explanatory, it is best to get fully acquainted to understand the benefits of having your chair properly adjusted and what features your current chair may be lacking that you may need.
Seat Height Adjustment – Perhaps the most basic adjustment of all, the seat height should be adjustable on almost every office chair. This adjustment can typically be found on the right hand side of the chair, located just to the right underneath the seat. To ensure your chair’s seat height is properly adjusted, make sure that your chair is lowered enough for you to place your feet flat and firmly against the floor. Your legs should form a 90° angle. You may need to adjust your chair’s seat height periodically if you wear heels while you are working as this will add height and cause your legs to not form that necessary 90° angle.
Tilt Tension – Tilt tension is a great feature most office chairs possess that allows the user to control the rate and ease with which the chair reclines for different weights and strengths of users. This adjustment always comes in the form of a knob that is located directly underneath the seat. By twisting the knob one direction it will allow the user to lean back in the chair much easier and without much pressure. By twisting the knob the opposite direction, the user will have to exert more pressure into reclining back in their chair.
Back Height Adjustment – Back height adjustment allows positioning of lumbar support(if your chair has built-in lumbar support) within a fixed range to alleviate back stress. If your chair comes with an “S” shaped back or has built-in lumbar support you will want to adjust your chair’s back to have the curved protruding portion align with the curve in your lower back. This allows you to feel the full advantages of having a back rest with lumbar support especially if you suffer from lower back pain. Back height adjustment is usually a knob located near the bottom of the back rest that can be loosened to move the back bar up or down, ad then tightened once the desired height is reached.
Tilt Lock – A tilt lock control locks out the tilt function when the chair is in the upright position. This feature is advantageous if you want the ability to recline in your chair for a few minutes but want to return it to lock in place in the upright position while tasking. Most office chairs that have tilt tension control will have tilt lock control as well. Tilt lock control is a lever on the chair that when pushed down allows you to recline in the chair, and when the lever is pulled up when your chair is in the upright position you are locked in place.
Adjustable Armrests – If an office chair comes with arms, most of the time they will be height adjustable armrests which is your standard up and down adjustment. More advanced arm adjustments include width adjustability, pivoting, and sliding forward and backward. Proper ergonomic thought deems your arms should not be resting when typing, as that slows the blood flow to an area that requires it because of the movement. However, having the ability to adjust arms up and down can help prevent this. Most armrests that are adjustable have a button on the side of the arms that allows you to either pull the arms up or push them down depending on your needs. While arms are not an essential feature to have on an office chair, they can come in handy when your arms need a break from continuous typing.
Having an office chair with basic adjustability is crucial as not every person can conform to a standard office chair. If your current office chair does not contain the above adjustments(excluding adjustable armrests) it may be time to start searching for a more ergonomically correct office chair. In the long run an adjustable chair can save you from back pain and other work related ailments that can occur from sitting for long periods of time in an awkward position. The aforementioned adjustments are the bare minimum that every office chair should contain, however, there are many more adjustments available for an even more ergonomic sitting experience.
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