The days of the traditional Monday to Friday, nine to five office jobs are behind us, with more and more of us working longer hours than ever before and giving up our weekends to put in more time at work. These extended hours have led to a whole host of health problems, from back pain to eye strain and tension headaches to raised levels of stress and irritability; we are all feeling the pressure.
There are some steps you can take to ensure that your working environment is comfortable and safe. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing office furniture is your office chair. Did you know that over the course of the year (based on an average 40 hour working week), we spend 1900 hours in our office chairs? That’s a lot of time, so they really need to be extremely comfortable and supportive!
Invest in a High Quality Chair
Whether you work from an office or at home, it’s important to purchase a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Often, more money is spent on desks and other office furniture than on chairs, but they are the key factor that will determine your comfort level whilst working! A comfortable and supportive office chair maximises efficiency and increases productivity, whereas a bad chair can cause leg problems, back strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome, leading to time off work and decreased productivity. So it makes sense to spend some time and money purchasing the perfect office chair.
What Should I Look for?
You need to look for five key things when purchasing an office chair. These are:
- Lumbar Support
- Wheel base
- Swivel base
Let’s start with adjustability. Most features of your chair should be adjustable, not just the arms and height. You should be able to make adjustments to the seat back width, height and angle and lumbar support as well as the arm height and width. This ensures that you can adjust the chair to suit you.
All good office chairs offer a high level of lumbar support, or support for the lower back. This is vital to prevent back strain and the onset of sciatica, a condition which can lead to loss of mobility. The fabric is another aspect which should be considered; you might not think it seems important, but your chair should be cushioned enough to be comfortable sitting for prolonged periods. The fabric should be breathable so that the chair doesn’t become hot and sticky after a long day!
You should look for a chair that has wheels; if your office is carpeted make sure that the wheels are specifically designed for carpeted floors. Your chair should also swivel freely. Both of these factors ensure that you won’t have to stretch to reach for items that are further away and risk straining yourself.
Try Before you buy
When choosing a chair, always try sitting in it, and see if the shape of the backrest follows the curvature of your spine; this will help to ensure that your lower back has adequate support and prevent aches and pains during those long working days! Your feet should be able to rest comfortably on the floor and the chair should be adjustable to accommodate this. Adjust your arm heights so that they are level with the desk you’re working at, to prevent shoulder strain. The height of the chair should be adjusted so that when sitting upright you are facing the centre of your computer screen, not looking down or up. Your computer monitor can also be adjusted as necessary to ensure that this is the case.
A comfortable chair not only makes you more productive and efficient, it also makes you happier! A happier employee is more likely to enjoy going to work and excel at their job. So spend the time and money to choose your office chairs carefully.
Aki Hashimoto is a writer who often works long hours and so knows the importance of having well-designed office furniture to make your working day more comfortable.