Even if you are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t experience back pain, soreness, or stiffness after long stretches sitting at work, a good office chair is important. For the average desk-bound employee, your usual 40 hour work week adds up to total about 2000 hours in one year —a big chunk of which is spent seated. Thus, over the course of most office workers’ careers and lives, a large amount time in spent in their chair.
In fact, while most are meticulous and careful about the type of bed they buy, many people spend more time sitting than sleeping. All that time in your office chair might not seem strenuous, but the human body is often strained by the lack of support typical of most standard, non-ergonomic chairs.
While some prefer to address their sitting woes by turning to office chair alternatives, for most, all it takes is doing some research and finding an ergonomic office chair that is suited to their individual needs. Here are some of the most important elements to look for when choosing a good office chair.
Most office chairs are made to accommodate the typical person, however, most of us aren’t built perfectly average. In terms of reducing the stress your body experiences when sitting for a long time, being taller, shorter, or heavier than average makes a difference.
Thus, a critical element to a good office chair is its customizability. Your seat height should be adjustable so that no matter how long your legs are, you can sit in a good position. Namely, your thighs should be horizontal and your feet flat to the floor. The seat should distribute your full body weight evenly, and not make you feel unstable or concerned about breaking the chair.
A lot of people underestimate the usefulness of armrests, but if your chair has them, they also should be adjustable to your height. Adjustable arm rests help support your arms while aiding your neck and shoulders in remaining relaxed.
Office chairs come in varying materials, from hard plastic to mesh to leather. A decently cushioned chair seat can go a long way, and features like memory foam can help customize your chair into one that’s suited uniquely to you. Avoid rough or itchy chair material, and opt for ones made of breathable fabric that won’t get hot and unpleasant to sit in for long periods of time.
Well-made office chairs are also comfortably designed. A good chair won’t put pressure behind your knees or cause pinch points. Some also feature a waterfall slope edge to promote circulation.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments of office workers. A good desk chair will alleviate that problem by providing support to the lumbar, or lower back, region of your spine. Since that part of your spine is naturally an inward curve, it is strained when you sit vertically without support. Proper back support not only reduces strain and possible spine damage, but encourages good posture and focus while working.