You probably spend as much time in your office chair as you do in your bed. The office chair is probably one of the most significant elements associated with comfort and back pain in the modern office furniture environment. You must be careful to make your buying decisions based on comfort and functionality, rather than looks and price. Leather, wood and chrome can make a chair look good, but they do nothing in themselves to improve the ergonomics of the chair. You will feel much better with a good chair in fabric and steel than you would in a bad chair in chrome and leather. Remember: the best chairs are those with adjustment mechanisms which are accessible from the seating position. Adjustment mechanisms should be logical, intuitive and easy to operate.
The various mechanism you need to watch out for are:
Height Adjustment: ALL office chairs should be adjustable in height by means of a gas lift in the seat base. Additionally a good office seat will have height adjustment for the backrest as well.
Seat Depth Adjustment: This mechanism allows the seat base of the chair to be adjusted backwards and forwards, this is helpful to cope with different thigh lengths.
Permanent Contact Mechanism: With a permanent contact mechanism the backrest remains in permanent contact with the user’s back while the position of the seat remains constant. The backrest can be locked in any position.
Synchro Mechanism: The synchro mechanism is the most ergonomic choice. The mechanism allows the chair to follow the user’s movements thanks to the coordinated tilting action of the seat and backrest. Tension control within the mechanism itself can be adjusted to account for the body weight of the user. The mechanism can be locked in place if required and the backrest is usually fitted with a reverse lock system to prevent it from suddenly springing back into position.
Other points to consider:
For users who spend a lot of time on keyboards, armrests are a particularly important feature. It is worthwhile spending additional money on adjustable armrests so that user can find a comfortable typing position.
A contoured backrest and seat can contribute to a much better seating position and will prevent the tendency to slide forwards on the seat. Also, look out for good lumbar support.
Curved seat fronts help to eliminate pressure points for users who spend a long time in their office chair and can prevent blood circulation problems.
As with most o furniture purchases you get what you pay for. Unless you are a very occasional user of an office chair, you are unlikely to find an ergonomically satisfactory chair for less than about £100 in a fabric finish or about £200 in leather. You must also pay particular attention to the guarantee period. Some cheap chairs come with a two year guarantee, but a quality chair will always be guaranteed for a period of five years. If you need any advice on buying an office chair, please call one of our business furniture specialists who can help you choose a chair which matches your particular requirements.