It has long been established that office furniture can, for better or for worse, affect workers’ health and productivity. When buying new office chairs you therefore need to select chairs that support your employees’ posture and maximise functionality.
Ergonomic office chairs are a first-rate choice because ergonomic furniture is designed to support posture and prevent repetitive stress injuries (RSI). With RSIs accounting for the highest percentage of all WorkCover claims, ergonomic furniture is an astute investment.
Here are a few things to look for in an ergonomic office chair.
The right size
To support your employees comfortably their chairs must be of the right size. A chair with an adjustable seat height enables them to adjust the height to their needs, but also pay attention to width and depth.
Chairs often come in different sizes, with a width of 45–55cm suiting most people. With regard to depth, employees should be able to sit with their back against the backrest with a space of about 5–10cm remaining between the seat of the chair and the back of their knees.
Adjustable seat height and backrest
Employees must be able to adjust the height of the chair so they are at the optimal height for their desk. This is sitting with their feet flat on the floor or a footrest, their back straight and their forearms vertically aligned in front of them.
Seat heights of 45–55cm work well for most people. However, for the very short or very tall other measures may need to be taken, for instance providing them with an adjustable desk to work at.
Adjusting the tilt of the backrest is also necessary to ensure your employees are comfortable. Adjustable chair height and backrest are the two most important adjustments to look for, though also consider adjustable arm rests as this helps your employees to keep their arms at the right level and further minimises repetitive stress injuries.
Some of the ‘deluxe’ models come with an adjustable lumbar support that enables the user to adjust the support to accommodate the shape of their lower back.
These models can be quite costly; however, you must still ensure the chairs you provide your employees with adequately support their lumbar. This helps to prevent back strain which can worsen into debilitating conditions like sciatica.
Swivel and wheel base
All good office chairs come with both a swivel base and a wheel base. A swivel base is important because it allows the user to freely access all parts of their desk or workstation and can help to reduce arm fatigue as a result of overextension.
A wheel base is also important as it further helps to reduce fatigue brought on by overextension of the arms and back. To support stability, quality castors are a must.
There are many things to look for in an office chair. In addition to the points above, look for durable padding and breathable fabrics to further aid comfort and functionality.