In a recent post we gave you the lowdown on the essentials to improve your working from home experience. Today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into one of the world of the ergonomic office chair.
We’ve been chatting with Nichola Adams of Inspired Ergonomics, who tells us why they are an essential part of your home office setup. Nichola says:
Are you sitting comfortably at home yet? With the prospect of working from home for another 6 months, it will be a year of homeworking since the beginning of lockdown.
So if you are still working at your dining table with a dining chair or indeed even your bed or sofa, your back will love you if you can treat it with something better now.
Our backs are healthiest when we can sit upright, in a supported comfortable position, with plenty of opportunity to move. This is why office chairs are more suitable for 8 hour working days than your dining chair. So often that dining chair will be too low to the dining table and offer little support for your back, creating tension build up in your shoulders, neck and lower back.
This is where most of my clients are reporting pain and yet some simple adaptations can make a huge difference. Even if you can’t afford a new chair, or don’t have the space, you can make adaptations such as a cushion to raise your sitting height (so that your arms are level with the top of the table) and another behind your back to support your lower back curve.
However, I would highly recommend in investing in your long term back health with a more cushioned, more adjustable chair, such as an office chair. I know it can be really difficult to know what to look for in a chair, so I have included the top 6 features to look for and why:
1. Seat height adjustment
It is essential that your arms are supported in line with the top of the table. This will prevent you either having to hunch your shoulders up to reach the keyboard, or to raise your wrists, which will increase your risk of shoulder or wrist pain.
2. Seat depth
Check that the seat depth suits your thigh depth. You need one that will support the length of your thighs whilst leaving a gap behind your knees, so the blood flow isn’t restricted in your legs.
3. Seat angle
Ideally, if budget allows, I would choose one with an adjustable seat angle, so you can set it at the right angle for your hips (relieving tension build up in this area).
4. Armrest height
It is essential that the armrests can be adjusted to support your arms in a relaxed position in line with the top of the desk, so your shoulders and wrists can relax. Choose a chair with armrests that aren’t too far forward on the seat, otherwise it will stop you from being able to bring the chair in close to the desk (reducing an extended arm reach to the keyboard).
5. Lumbar support
Ideally a chair should have an adjustable height and depth of lumbar support. I prefer the inflatable lumbar supports that are integrated into the backrest as these can then be adjusted to suit the height and depth of your lumbar curve. It is essential to support your lower back correctly so that your whole back is then supported in a healthy upright S shape. If this takes a chair out of your budget, you can always buy a strap on inflatable lumbar support.
6. Backrest angle
Another ‘good to have’ would be an adjustable backrest angle, that suits your preferred sitting posture.
Then keep moving. No matter how comfortable a chair is, do take regular breaks from sitting, at least once an hour, if not more, to keep your tissues and muscles strong and healthy. I see a direct correlation with reduced back pain and the amount someone moves during the day. And always raise the laptop and use a separate keyboard and mouse, otherwise, no matter how good your chair, you are always going to slouch. If you don’t have room for a desk, there are now some great little folding desks available on the market.
Thanks so much, Nichola! Here are four types of ergonomic office chair, plus accessories to help you make your existing furniture more comfortable!
Mesh backed ergonomic office chairs
Not all of us are fortunate to have a nicely temperature-controlled office. If you suffer from a sweaty back and clingy clothes after a morning at work, then an ergonomic chair with a mesh back is your solution!
The Teknik Star Mesh Chair features a mesh backrest to promote air flow and keep you cool. It has a reclining function with tilt tension to find your perfect angle, plus gas height adjustment and sturdy armrests. Available now with over 50% off.
Working part time and stuck for space?
If you aren’t at your desk for a full day, a kneeling chair (otherwise known as a kneeling stool) is a convenient and healthy alternative to a full size ergonomic office chair.
Designed for light use of up to around three hours per day, the Teknik Kneeling Chair adjusts for angle and height to find your most comfortable position. It’s available in a range of fun colours to suit your workspace, and at the end of the day will fit out of sight under your desk.
Leather executive ergonomic office chair
Want to feel a million dollars? A leather executive chair brings that high-flyer feeling to your home office.
Built for all-day comfort, the Teknik Chairman Noir is hand built with traditional button tufted bonded leather. It features a reclining function and elegant five star wood base, and gas lift height adjustment.
To help you make those big decisions, treat yourself to the daddy of office chairs with the Teknik Chairman Noir. Now only £404.39 including VAT, a saving of 53%!
Convert any chair: The Kensington Smartfit Conform Backrest
If you have an office chair you are happy with but are looking for a little extra support, the Kensington Smartfit system is be what you’re looking for.
They say their SmartFit® system allows you to select your ideal, personal height setting using the colour-coded fitting chart. This lets you set your back rest in a position that provides the most comfort and support for your spine and lumbar.
It features a mesh back for improved airflow and a removable cover for easy washing. Its four independent springs conform to your body type and articulate with any subtle movements in your posture, so you always have great support to leave your back muscles more relaxed.
Fabric executive ergonomic office chair
While leather executive chairs can make beautiful additions to office settings, we all know they can be rather uncomfortable when the temperature starts to rise.
With a sturdy, nylon-based executive chair you can achieve the all-day comfort you would expect from a high end leather product, but avoiding sweaty back syndrome and with a reduced price tag!
Memory foam seat cushion
Finally, a memory foam seat cushion is ideal if you’re worried about the ergonomics of your workspace, but money is tight.
The ergonomic design promotes healthy posture, increases circulation and relieves spinal pressure when sitting. It is small enough to fit on almost any chair, has anti-slip backing, and the removable cover makes cleaning a breeze.
We hope this information about the different types of ergonomic office chair help inform your important decisions! We would love to hear from you if you have any questions regarding any of our products, so please get in touch for more information.
For more information and a free homeworking guide, contact Inspired Ergonomics at [email protected]. www.inspiredergonomics.com. Nichola Adams, MSc Health Ergonomics is the founder of Inspired Ergonomics and is an expert homeworking consultant, advising companies large and small on the most effective ways to reduce and prevent back pain when working from home or indeed the office, with one to one (remote) consultations and workshops.
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