For years, people didn’t understand the importance of good posture and ergonomics. Studies show that our working conditions significantly affect our physical and mental health. The average office worker spends 15 hours a day either sitting in the office or commuting. Common health problems such as aching joints and back problems result from the chairs we sit in. Ergonomic chairs were designed to solve such long-term health issues associated with office work.
Importance of an Ergonomic Office Chair
Poor posture not only hampers the employees’ productivity but is also the genesis of such complications as arm, neck, and backaches. Experts believe that it also causes emotional complications. Sitting on the wrong office chair for long periods also triggers or accelerates musculoskeletal disorders that affect the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons. As a result of bad posture from sitting on such a chair, pressure on the spine could lead to other complications such as cervical spondylosis and deep vein thrombosis.
Ergonomic office furniture is designed for improved comfort and efficiency in a work environment. It is full of customizable posture support features such as a backrest for perfect lumbar support, a headrest that supports the shoulders and neck, and adjustable height. As it conforms to the body’s shape, it allows for appropriate hip and pelvis positioning, thus reducing the risk of strain and injury.
What Are the Differences Between an Ergonomic Chair and a Non-Ergonomic Chair?
A non-ergonomic chair may have basic comfort features such as having a padded seat pan. However, unlike ergonomic office chairs that adapt to your specific seating needs, the user has to adapt to the design of a non-ergonomic chair.
Some of the main differences include:
One of the most important features of an ergonomic chair is improving posture. It is advisable to have a seat that can accommodate numerous positions as the need arises. Whichever posture you choose, your ergonomic chair should be a proper fit, offer sufficient lower back support and maximum comfort.
Irrespective of how long you sit on an ergonomic chair, you will not experience any fatigue or back pain. This allows you to be more productive as your overall health isn’t affected by your chair’s comfort level.
Often, non-ergonomic chairs are associated with back pain that causes physical agony. These chairs are also linked to emotional complications such as stress, loss of appetite, anxiety, and lack of concentration. Ergonomic chairs are designed to ensure comfort in order to elevate your emotional as well as physical wellbeing.
Reduces pain and the risk of neck problems
Ergonomic chairs are designed to incorporate a contoured backrest that ensures your back has sufficient support, which reduces the risk of neck problems because you are less likely to slouch. The back of an ergonomic chair matches the natural contour of your spine, reducing any back pain you were experiencing in these pressure points.
Adjustability is one of the features synonymous with ergonomic chairs. We are all undeniably different physically, necessitating the need for a chair with easily adjustable features. Ergonomic chairs come with fully adjustable armrests both in height and width, tilt adjustability, and seat height.
Increased blood circulation
Did you know that adjusting your chair to a 90-degree angle allows for increased blood circulation in your legs? Thanks to the adjustability in ergonomic chairs, you can easily recline and decline to ensure you experience better blood circulation that prevents your legs from going numb or swelling.
Fewer worker compensation claims and reduced business costs
Any injury resulting from poorly designed workspaces makes employees eligible for worker’s compensation. This means, as an employer, you may lose money from time to time in compensations used for medical treatment. However, the adoption of ergonomic chairs ensures your employees experience less strain and reduce business costs that could easily set your company back.
How to Select the Best Ergonomic Chair
The best ergonomic chair is based on set parameters that vary with individual needs, budget, and the length of time you intend to spend in it. However, there are several things you should consider when looking for the right office chair. The factors below will help you select the best ergonomic chair for your workspace:
Adjustable height, backrest, and headrest
It is highly unlikely to find the right office chair seat that suits everybody’s needs. This can be easily overcome by getting an ergonomic seat with adjustable height and backrest that allows whoever seats in it to easily adjust it to a comfortable sitting position.
The backrest should have a lock mechanism in place to avoid suddenly slipping backward. When choosing an ergonomic office chair, choose one whose headrest can be positioned anywhere between the head and neck, thus enabling proper posture. Some brands have a headrest that can also be tilted depending on the user’s needs.
Many back problems are associated with poor lumbar support that, in effect, leads to discomfort. An ergonomic seat needs to have a contoured backrest that offers sufficient lumbar support and minimizes the compression of your spinal discs. Choose a seat which a shape that aligns with your natural spine’s contour. To avoid slouching, choose office chairs that allows your lower spine to arch slightly.
Seat depth and seat width
A good office chair seat is characterized by sufficient seat width and depth that allow you to sit comfortably. The ergonomic office chair you choose should match your weight and height. Ideally, you should be able to sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your back resting against the backrest with at least a 4-inch allowance.
Normally, you are likely to strain your neck and shoulders when typing. The lack thereof of armrests will increase the pressure in these areas. The availability of armrests will relieve neck and shoulder strain and enhance your productivity. Remember, the armrest should also be adjustable.
Breathable upholstery and enough padding
If you work in a space without an AC, you are likely to sweat, making your seat very uncomfortable. A seat with breathable fabric allows your body breathing space ensuring you are comfortable despite the long hours you spend in it. Sufficient padding also ensures your seat is comfortable. The seat pan needs to be made of quality foam material. The low-density foam tends to become permanently deformed after continuous use. Inappropriate contouring not only causes discomfort but also back and hip fatigue.
The chair should rotate and move easily, allowing the user to reach for anything around them without straining. Ideally, it should have five or more spokes and high-quality caster wheels that are best suited for your workplace’s floor type. The chair’s weight-bearing capacity should be appropriate for the intended user.
With the significant amounts of time we spend in front of our computers, it is worth considering getting an ergonomic chair. Whether you are working from home or in an office, ergonomics are just as important. At APOL, we are dedicated to redefining your working experience with ergonomic seat designs. Irrespective of your budget, we have your needs covered with a great deal. Get in touch with us today for more information about the best ergonomic chair for your workspace.