What is an Ergonomic Chair?

The aim of ergonomic office furniture is to adapt the workplace to a specific worker, dependent on the job description, required tasks, and physical makeup of the employee performing those tasks. With this in mind, ergonomic chairs allow you to adjust their position to find the most suitable sitting position for your body type. They flow with your body and let you change a variety of adjustments.

An ergonomic office chair design reflects that everyone’s physical attributes are different. The correct ergonomic chair will help to support the natural curve of your spine and should be designed with enough height so that they support the whole of your back. They also allow you to move back 90 degrees allowing you to stretch and move comfortably.

It has been proven that sitting in an ergonomic office chair allows one to focus without distractions from discomfort and also promotes flexibility and work satisfaction.

Ergonomic chairs should fit you like memory foam – moulded to your body, but firm enough to offer support. Ergonomic chairs and furniture should feature three specific features:

  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Seat glide
  • Adjustable arms rests

You’ll know when you have the right ergonomic chair because your body will no longer feel strained or filled with tension.

There are multiple health benefits of an ergonomic chair including;

  • Reduced the chance of back pain
  • Reduced fatigue and discomfort
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Increase blood flow, especially to the lower limbs
  • Increased productivity due to psychological benefits
  • Reduction of Absenteeism
  • Reduction of lost workdays due to musculoskeletal disorders

A recent study also highlighted the fact that ergonomic chairs in the workplace will cause an increase in:

  • Work productivity
  • Quality of work produced
  • Volume of work
  • Turnover

According to a recent survey conducted highlighted the most requested feature of an office chair is comfort. The second most requested feature is adjustability. Every team member wants to feel comfortable and safe while at work. One way to show a team appreciation is making health a priority. Investing in a healthy and comfortable work environment shows the company cares and investing in an ergonomic chair can do just that!

Having good ergonomic policies in your workplace also says something about you as a company. It shows that you care about your employees. It will not only make your workplace more attractive to potential new employees, but also helps keeping great people for a longer time.

Remember; healthier employees are happier employees. And happier employees are more likely talk positively about you as an employer and to be satisfied with their job.

There are many different types of ergonomic chairs available on the market. Choosing the right one is proven to be difficult due to the wide range available. However, there are specifics which you should look out for when deciding which chair is right for you;

1. Lumbar support

Lower back support in an ergonomic chair is very important. The lumbar spine has an inward curve, and sitting for long periods without support for this curve tends to lead to slouching (which flattens the natural curve) and strains the structures in the lower spine. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment (both height and depth) so each user can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.

2. Backrest

The backrest of an ergonomic office chair should be 12 to 19 inches wide. If the backrest is separate from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle. It should be able to support the natural curve of the spine, again with special attention paid to proper support of the lumbar region. If the office chair has the seat and backrest together as one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward and back angles, with a locking mechanism to secure it from going too far backward once the user has determined the appropriate angle. Furthermore, office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. The user should have their feet flat on the floor, or a footrest, with the shoulders relaxed and the pelvic angle in an open position.

3. Seat material

The material on the seat and back of the ergonomic office chair should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a harder surface. A breathable cloth fabric will be better than any harder material, for example leather. Make sure that there is enough padding for it to be comfortable for long periods of time. Cloth upholstery isn’t as easy to clean as vinyl and cloth covered foam has the potential to attract dust mites.

However, vinyl–type or leather coverings don’t breathe as easily as cloth, which may cause discomfort after prolonged sitting. Fabric is the key to a chair’s durability. Look for permeable material that breathes, like the mesh Pellicle material which conforms to the body.

4. Armrests

How often do you rest your arms on chair arm rests? Arm rests on office chairs were not traditionally recommended because it prevented people from being close to desks. Office chair armrests should be adjustable. They should allow the user’s arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing. It is also very important that armrests do not impede on the edge of the desk. Having adjustable arm rests on an ergonomic office chair contributes to proper posture. Arm rests that move up and down or swivel out and in offers support while sitting in a chair.

5. Swivel

Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.

What is an Ergonomic Desk?

The definition of ergonomic significantly varies depending on where you look. However, the underlying principle stays the same. 

Ergonomic desks, as well as other related ergonomic furniture, are designed to increase comfort, look aesthetically pleasing, whilst providing an adequate work surface. Ergonomic desks can also be utilised to house or conceal office equipment including computers, laptops, printers, scanners, cabling, storage solutions … the list could go on!

It goes without saying, workplace seating should be comfortable to keep employees happy and boost moral within the workplace. However, using ergonomic office furniture, such as desks, also has many other additional benefits. For example, ergonomic desks can enhance efficiency and productivity, as well as enhancing the professional look of the workplace.

The benefits of ergonomic office furniture rely heavily on having the ability to alter or change the office equipment height and/or furniture composition dependent on the user at that time. There’s more to determining the right desk or chair height than just taking comfort into consideration.

An ergonomic seating option can help employees minimize potential and enduring injuries, avoid distractions as well as increase productivity in the workplace.

Listed below are some of the key benefits which ergonomic office furniture can bring to the workplace and are closely associated with using the proper desk height for workers:

  • Significantly lowers the chance of workers (and associated business costs) developing skeletal disorders from the workplace
  • Reduces the level of sick leave taken by minimizing injuries
  • Workplace stress levels are reduced
  • Helps workers stay focused
  • Improves productivity
  • Increases workplace engagement