We all come in different shapes and sizes, so it is important to remember that no one chair is suitable for everyone. As there are thousands of different designs, how do you know which is going to be the right one for your needs? The main factor to keep in mind is ergonomics, which is all about adjusting the environment around you to keep you comfortable and avoid injury. Here are our top 5 tips for choosing an ergonomic office chair:
1. Seat Height & Tilt
Your chair height will ultimately be determined by your arm position. The height should be set so that you can comfortable place your hands on the keyboard with your elbows bent to 90 degrees (whilst sitting in the correct upright position). Whilst the seat is usually positioned flat, if you are pregnant or experience hip, neck or upper back pain it should be tilted forward to help lessen symptoms.
2. Seat Depth
All good chairs will come in a variety of seat depths. Your perfect depth will ultimately be determined by the length of your thigh. The wrong choice will increase the pressure placed on your thighs and knees. A good rule of thumb is that, whilst seated, you should be able to place four fingers between the backs of your knees and the front edge of the seat (ensure that your hips are all the way at the back).
3. Seat Width
This factor is important for providing the right size base for support whilst sitting. People with wider hips should ensure that the width isn’t too small, which can compress your pelvis. On the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to be swimming and swamped by an ergonomic office chair that is too large, which often leads to slumping. You need to ensure that you are stable and comfortable.
4. Back Support
The back of the chair should be supportive whilst matching the normal curves of your spine. There are usually three components that are adjustable – lumbar support height, lumbar support depth and the angle of the backrest to the seat. Another factor that should be considered is the height of the backrest – a taller person will require a longer one, as will someone with a history of neck pain.
5. Arm Rests
Ultimately, you don’t actually need arm rests. They tend to mean that your posture is comprised; you end up leaning to the side (on one arm rest) or slouching forwards on both of them. They can also block your ability to sit close to the desk. You should choose a chair that doesn’t have any arm rests in the first place but, if this is unavoidable, they can generally be removed with a screwdriver.
We hope that these tips help you to choose an ergonomic office chair that is most suitable for your needs. It is important that you consider the tasks that you perform as a part of your daily work as well as any health problems that you may be experiencing when making your decision. If you are still having trouble making a decision, ensure that you speak with an ergonomics specialist; they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.