What to Look for in a New Office Chair
Whether it’s a major renovation or a minor revamp, there’s one area you don’t want to overlook. It’s the contraption you rest on all day long: your office chair. It may be a purchase that’s hard to get excited about, but the wrong one can create tension headaches, muscle knots, and endless distractions at the workplace. Staff and executives alike, the right chair will serve you well and promote musculoskeletal support and ergonomic health at the office and beyond. And yes, finding the right one requires doing the legwork of “trying it on” in person.
Here are some key elements when it comes to selecting a quality ergonomic chair:
Lumbar and Mid-back Support
A supportive office chair provides a gently curved backrest to support the lumbar and mid-back region which encourages the proper alignment of the spine. Although some people favor “sitting on the edge of their seats” both literally and figuratively, it’s important to support your back and hips while working that core.
If you are selecting your own chair, make sure to try it out to ensure that this alignment feels correct to your height. If you are selecting an executive office chair, also be mindful of the alignment of the headrest. Better yet, select a model which has a back and headrest that can be raised and lowered, especially if you are selecting office chairs for others in the workplace.
It should also have the ability to recline slightly. Doing so gently removes pressure from the discs, which is an issue for many of us in the workforce. An angle between 110° and 130° is the ideal zone.
A backrest’s proper width varies based on the size of the user, but ranges between 12” – 19”.
Other important areas of adjustability include the seat. The height should be set so that your monitor is at eye level, your thighs parallel to the floor, and your feet rest lightly on the floor, relying on a foot rest if necessary. In terms of size, the proper seat should be approximately 1-2” wider than your hips, with the front edge just a couple of finger widths behind your knees. Much larger or smaller and you will feel discomfort after sitting for a while.
The seat should be configured to tip backward and forward just slightly based on your movements. If the seat tips backward too freely, it can be unstable, whereas one that offers no flexibility can contribute to stiffness and feeling “locked up” after a few hours of work.
Ever feel like you sit down with a “thud?” That’s from a low quality, non-adjustable, or worn-out chair. The construction—whether it’s foam or mesh– should have some “spring” to it which reduces pressure on your hips, knees, and back.
Although some may believe that arm rests are an unnecessary “upgrade,” studies have shown that gently resting your elbows on your seat’s arm rests is important for maintaining that ideal ergonomic 90-degree angle between your arms and torso while working at your desk. And they, too, should be adjustable. Not just upward and downward, but also inward and outward to find the right fit based on your stature.
Chair material preference is highly subjective, but a few factors should be taken into account such as office temperature or humidity level. Some prefer the sleekness of leather or vinyl, not to mention the ease of it wiping clean; however, it’s not a breathable covering. For this reason, fabric or even mesh may be a more versatile choice.
For stability, a quality chair should be equipped with at least five spokes in the base, and wheels that move freely in all directions with little noise. Having these features aid in your ability to twist, stretch, and lightly adjust your back as you perform tasks throughout your work day.
Now the fun part. A dedicated ergonomic office chair doesn’t need to be dowdy. It can still be customized with that perfect pop of color in that Pantone shade you desire.
Still a little unsure? D2 Office + Design would be happy to assist you with this process. Visit our showroom today to see our office chair collection. We are a proud fourth generation family business located in Midtown Manhattan, eager to serve your office workspace and design needs.