We all know that workspaces have evolved beyond the restrictions of typical cubicles. Offices are much more agile, accommodating and ergonomic now that we’ve broken out of the 3’-by-3’ box that was the set standard of feasibility for a regular old worker bee in the past.
These days, there’s a lot of emphasis on how to make workspaces as comfortable for the employees as possible. The secret ingredient in the most successful and collaborative office experience is: comfort. Employees work best and give their all to the task when they feel well-rested and comfortable! This, in turn, speaks volumes about the office furniture of contemporary times.
A regular office employee spends an average of 6-8 hours every day on their chair. This make the office chair one of the most important parts of the work experience, and therefore, it needs to be selected very carefully.
So, how to choose the right office chair? Let’s take a look:
Features of a good office chair
In order to choose the perfect work chair, you need to understand the qualities that you’ll be looking for. Here’s what your ideal office chair must offer for it to be ‘The One’:
- Adjustability: An office chair being adjustable does not just mean that its height or arms can be tweaked according to our body’s comfort. A good office chair comes with at least 10 adjustability factors that allow your back, your legs, your arms, and everything in-between to feel totally at ease. Height and armrests are equally important. You have to be very cognizant of your orthopedic alignment when searching for a good office chair.
Flexibility: By being flexible, the office chair would be accommodating your work lifestyle. The swivel and wheel feature is part of this adaptability. Rolling and swiveling keep you from straining your limbs while stuck in one place. These small additions have become essential as they allow you to easily access all parts of your desk without overexerting yourself even a small bit!
(Pro tip: Go for carpet-adjusted wheels if your office is furnished with rugs, or you’ll end up spoiling their surface!)
Lumbar support: Anyone who has suffered through a few working hours of sitting in the same space can tell you how much strain that puts on your back. This is why lumbar support is so important in an office chair. Without it, your lower back would start to develop an ache.
- Fabric: Lastly, the fabric of your office chair has to be selected with the utmost care because you’ll end up with a sweaty back if you sit in a thickly upholstered chair all day. This is where you’ll need to search for good breathability and air flow. You’ll also need to search for great padding – it can’t be too cushy but it also cannot be thin enough for you to feel the chair structure.
As far as material recommendations go, you should totally check out mesh.
Here’s why you need a mesh office chair:
- It’s a highly breathable fabric. It allows for generous air-flow which keeps the body temperature neutral even during those unbearably hot days where even air-conditioning doesn’t seem to work.
- Mesh fabric is highly easy to maintain. Because it ventilates the air-flow, no sweat stains curst on it. Therefore, you won’t actually need to clean it up.
- Mesh is one of the most long-lasting materials that you’ll come across, so if you’re searching for durability, this is definitely it! Its tight weave is as good as high quality aniline leather.
- The unique finish of the mesh fabric gives it a gorgeous modern aura. Therefore, it seamlessly fits in within all contemporary office spaces with the utmost ease.
- Flexible mesh seats contour against the human body and provide excellent support.
- Mesh fabric is an ergonomic choice for office chairs because it is structured quite firmly against the skeleton of the chair, which results in excellent comfort and orthopedic alignment.
That said, there are a few set-backs of mesh fabric that you should also know about. These are:
- Certain types of mesh can be abrasive on clothing, so if you dress expensively, you’ll need to look out for that.
- The padding of mesh chairs is thinner at the chair edges so it can ultimately end up digging into your thighs if you end up sitting on it too long. However, it should not be a problem if your job requires you to keep moving throughout the day.
Overall, the benefits of a mesh chair are far more extensive than its cons. Therefore, it’s one of the best options to consider while furnishing your workspace.
Let’s take a look at what else you might need in an ergonomic and orthopedic office chair:
What You Need To Know About High-Back Office Chairs
High-back office chairs are designed for all-day users. So, if you sit in your office 90% of the time without getting up, this is the kind of chair you should be going for. In essence, it’s important to know that a low-back chair is designed for short-term sitters who need lower-back support and mid-back chairs are for those who need spinal alignment.
Most office workers spend the better part of their day on their office chair. Aside from lunch breaks and the occasional few minutes where one stands up and stretches, the chair might as well be the nest of an office employee. This is why high-back chairs are most suited for workspace purposes. Here are all the qualities that you should look for in a good high-back office chair:
Good lumbar support: Back support is important because sitting for such long spans of time can ultimately cause you a lot of pain. Therefore, finding the ultimate high-back chair that provides excellent lumbar support should always be a priority.
- Ideal seat depth: An ergonomic chair should always make you feel like you’re in-charge. This is why ideal seat depth is important. You don’t want to feel like you’re drowning or that you don’t have enough padding to support your back. This is also a quality you should be looking for in a good high-back chair. Additionally, check out chairs with adjustable arm-rests as they help with good back and shoulder alignment.
- Optimal footing: An orthopedic high-back chair should promote good posture and circulation, which is why you also need to test it out for footing. Various adjustable height settings always help with that, but you should also invest in foot falls.
- Five point base: You may not notice it, but the base of an ergonomic swivel chair is designed to enhance better weight distribution. This is why you should always go for a five point base, as it promotes stability when you put your weight on it.
Why You Need A Headrest/Footrest For Your Office
At the end of the day, full-body support is highly important when you’re investing in a good office chair. You’ll need it to maintain a good posture. It’s one of the reasons why headrests and footrests are so important while picking out your ideal office chair.
Here are some benefits of choosing a chair with a headrest:
- It helps in reducing the stress put on your shoulders and neck during extensive hours of sitting. This can help prevent various upper body and back aches.
- An ergonomic chair with a headrest can help you maintain better posture. You can simply lean back into the adjustable back and support your neck on the headrest instead of leaning forward and hunching all day.
- A headrest is perfect for indulging in a comfortable recline while working all day. It allows your body some room to rest while constantly being vigilant of your work.
(Pro tip: You should definitely look for chairs with adjustable headrests because you might not want to be in a reclining position all day. So, you can simply pull it up when needed, and push it down when not.)
Here are a few reasons why you should also go for a footrest with your office chair:
- Footrests are a great investment because they help support your body while you’re sitting. Elevating the feet puts less pressure on the lower back and enhances circulation. They also help prevent deep vein thrombosis that can eventually lead to blood clots.
- They’re a must-have for short people whose legs need extra support to alleviate additional body stresses.
- Good footrests work in tandem with adjustability. So, even if you can adjust your chair or desk to be more ergonomic, a footrest can lead to a more supportive workspace lifestyle.
- Footrests are designed to elevate orthopedic comfort. Therefore, if you simply want to be comfortable, a nice footrest can be an excellent addition to your workstation.
These are some of the tips you can use to pick out a great office chair that would be your partner for the greater part of your work life!