Four Key Things to Look for in an Office Chair

Picking out a good office chair isn’t as hard as some retailers make you think. You don’t need a complicated check list of features. You need a comfortable chair. If you want to minimize workplace discomfort and get a good chair that will last you a long time, these are the only four features you really need to concern yourself with.

1. Can It Be Adjusted?

There’s no perfect one-size-fits-all chair. What you should focus on instead is finding a chair that you can adjust to meet your needs overall or day to day if you have special requirements.

A highly adjustable chair is the answer you’re looking for. For example, chair height can have a huge impact on your long term comfort. You should be able to sit in your chair with your feet flat on the ground and have your knees level with your hips.

things to look for in an office chair

Lower or higher puts stress on your pelvis and lower back. However, you don’t have the time to buy a custom made chair for everyone in the office. You can buy adjustable chairs instead and let each employee select the height that works best for them.

Other important parts of the chair that should be adjustable include the depth of the seat and the height of the backrest if it’s not a solid piece. These should all match up to the person who’s sitting in it and cannot be figured out by anyone else on their behalf. The best thing to do is to allow everyone to customize the fit to their own body.

2. Mobility

A common cause of back pain in the workplace is “tweaking” the back, hips, or shoulders. This happens when an employee sits still for a long time and then moves suddenly.

If you’ve been working on a proposal for an hour and a half and then lunge suddenly to get that report balanced at the edge of your desk, you’re putting yourself at risk. Rather than doing that, invest in office chairs that swivel. This simple feature is more than just convenient. It can help save you hours of discomfort from pinched nerves and strained muscles.

If you work from a large desk or work area, then it makes sense to also invest in a chair with wheels, according to Lifehacker. Rather than bruise yourself or go through the effort of getting up, moving your chair, and sitting back down, you can just push yourself where you need to go. If you’re fortunate enough to work somewhere with a thick, comfortable carpet, you can put down a plastic mat to make rolling a breeze.

3. Cushion Type

It can be easier to pick out a mattress than to pick an office chair cushion. All together, you’re looking for very similar properties. You shouldn’t be tempted by those overstuffed, overly soft chairs. Though they’re the height of comfort at first, they don’t give you the support that you need for a full work day. As the day wears on your muscles will ache from having to do so much work just to keep you upright.

As a rule of thumb, it’s better to buy a chair that’s too firm than one that’s too soft. You can always put a pillow on top of the chair foam to soften it. If you buy a chair with too soft a cushion there’s actually very little that can be done to help. If you’re mass buying for an office from a furniture expert like Vast Market you should aim to buy firm cushioned chairs and then allow people to decide if they’d rather soften them.

4. Lumbar Support

Lumbar support is one of the most important features of your chair. The lumbar region of the spine is the “lower back” where most people experience pain at the end of a long day at their desk. This also deals with hip issues and pains. The lumbar region of the chair should curve inwards to support the natural curve of the back.

When the spine has to do all the work itself, it commonly leads to slouching. While this relieves the muscle pain of the moment, it flattens the curve of the spine. This puts strain on different muscles as well as the bones themselves. Proper lumbar support is essential for health of the entire back.

A proper ergonomic chair should have a depth and height lumbar adjustment, according to Spine Health. This allows for customization (remember the first point), but even if that’s not possible you should look for a chair with a pronounced curve that will give your employees and yourself at least some of the support you need.

These four key points should help you find the chair that works for the widest range of employees. Whether your key issues are mobility, back or hip pain, or just a one-size-fits-all style chair that doesn’t really fit anyone, you can avoid these issues by focusing on the four key points the next time you buy office furniture.

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