The Perfect Office Chair
Those of us who spend a good portion of our day sitting in a chair staring at a computer, okay fine, working, know the importance of a comfortable office chair. Life can truly be a pain in the rear if your chair does not have adequate cushioning. However, that is not all a good office chair should have.
In a perfect world office chairs would be individualized to the person who uses it. It should be the proper height and provide back support. Most chairs have the capability to be adjusted for a more personalized angle and height. The problem with each employee having their own adjustable office chair is that they can be very expensive. A nice executive chair is usually made from leather because it is sturdy, pliable and adjusts well to different temperatures. Wood is usually used for the base of the chair and depending on the type of wood that can add to the overall cost. A good executive chair can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the materials used and the number of adjustments that are included.
Understandably most offices will not spend several hundred and certainly not several thousand dollars on the best office chairs. The next best option would be well made chairs that offer an adjustable height, seat and armrests, appropriate seat depth and width, lower lumbar support and ease of motion for the chair itself. The more adjustable a chair the better suited it will be for everyone.
Besides the make of the chair itself, knowing how to adjust it and even how to properly sit in it is important as well. Spending many hours a day stationary and performing repetitive movements like typing can put a lot of stress on the mind and body. This is where that often used but not always understood word ergonomics comes into play. Physical ergonomics involves anatomical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. In other words ergonomics is concerned with not only comfort but also with safety and productivity.
No matter what chair you are provided it is important that you sit up straight with good posture and make sure that your feet touch the floor at a 90 degree angle. Use a footrest if your feet cannot touch the floor. In order to reduce strain on your wrists and arms use a wrist rest in front of your keyboard and a mouse pad with a wrist rest. Use lumbar support in the form of a cushion if it is not built into the chair.
The future of office chairs includes seat parts that move with your body. When you lean back, the armrests move upward at an angle like your arms want to do. Also in the works are chairs that tackle the shared chair problem by making automatic adjustments based on weight and height.
Occasionally office chairs are tossed aside altogether for large rubber exercise balls. The balls are used because it is thought that the stress of sitting all day would be decreased and posture would be improved by sitting on the ball. Unfortunately the balls have been prohibited from use in several offices because of injury resulting from falling off of them. The irony is delicious.
Oftentimes employees are not able to choose the chair they would like to use and are given whatever is ordered for them or what is already in the office. Hopefully by making a few adjustments whatever you are given to use is comfortable and safe.