How to Select an Ergonomic Office Chair

8 Must-have Features for every Ergonomic Office Chair

The office chair that you are sitting on plays a huge role in improving your comfort and wellbeing, especially if you spend many hours sitting down. A good ergonomic chair enables you to sit comfortably in your home or office and reduces the likelihood of back, neck and shoulder pain. With so many ergonomic office chairs for sale in South Africa, how do you choose a comfortable one for work or gaming? Is an ergonomic office chair better than a gaming chair? What important features should you be looking for when selecting a new chair?

According to an article in The Washington Post, the average office worker spends about 10 hours a day sitting. 

Medical researchers have long warned that prolonged sitting is dangerous to your health and can result in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, depression, as well as muscle and joint problems.

Whether you are working or gaming, a good ergonomic office chair can reduce the incidence of health-related problems caused by such long periods of sittingThe 5 Remarkable Benefits of Having the Best Office Chair.

Here are the 8 ‘must-have’ features you should be looking for when choosing a comfortable work chair for your home or office.

ergonomic office desk chair

1. Height Adjustment

You must be able to adjust the height of your chair to suit your own height and workstation. This is absolutely critical and must be a standard feature on any ergonomic office chair. What is the correct ergonomic height for my desk, computer monitor and office chair?

FACT: Most people do not adjust the height of their chair correctly.

Video guide – how to correctly set up your ergonomic office chair, desk and monitor.

The Alya ergonomic chair has a synchro swivel mechanism that enables Dynamic Sitting

2. Backrest angle adjustment is essential on an ergonomic office chair

You should be able to position the backrest of the chair in a way that suits your body and the way you prefer to work or play.

The angle between the backrest and seat of the chair must be adjustable.

By altering this angle from an upright to a more reclined position (for example when you are on the phone or gaming), you automatically stimulate (or activate) the muscles in the lumbar region of your back. This is known as Dynamic Sitting.

Although not essential, a great additional feature is a backrest that can adjust vertically like that on the Rio Ergonomic Chair.

3. Adjustable Lumbar Support

We do not all have the same shape of back and we all have slightly different needs when it comes to back support. Why do I need an ergonomic office chair with an adjustable lumbar support?

The contoured backrest on an ergonomic office chair should give your back the comfort and support it needs. Good lumbar support is essential to minimise strain or compression of the lumbar discs in your spine.

Adjustable lumbar support

4. Seat Depth and Width adjustment on an Ergonomic Office Chair

The chair seat should be wide and deep enough to let you sit comfortably. Look for a deeper seat if you are taller, and a shallower one if you are not so tall.

When you sit properly in the chair, there should be a gap of 2-3 fingers between the front edge of the seat and the inside of your knees. If you are not of average height, the best option is a chair that has a seat depth adjustment. This feature allows you to make the seat shallower or deeper so that you have sufficient support under your thighs.

seat gap between knees and front of office chair
Seat depth adjustment. Ensure there is a 2-3 finger gap between the inside of your knees and the front of the seat

5. Breathable Mesh Backrest and Moulded Foam Seat

Whether you are working or gaming, a critical component of a comfortable ergonomic office chair is the backrest.

Chairs with a mesh backrest are extremely popular because the mesh moulds itself to the shape of your back. Furthermore, the mesh lets your body breathe and is more comfortable when sitting for any length of time. Unless you are sitting in an air conditioned office, upholstered backrests can be uncomfortable in a hot climate. Ergonomic office chairs with a mesh backrest.

The seat must include High-Density injection moulded foam because it provides additional support, is longer lasting, and will not collapse after a short period of use. Just like your car, the seat foam must be firm because a seat that is too soft will not offer enough support and will quickly become uncomfortable.

6. An Ergonomic Office Chair must have Adjustable Armrests

Height, or better still, multi-adjustable armrests are a definite ‘must-have’ as they take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders. Multi-adjustable armrests allow you to alter the width and depth of the arm pads and position them in a way that suits your body and improves your comfort, while making you less likely to slouch. What is the difference between armrests?

7. Easy-to-Operate Adjustment Controls

A comfortable chair is one that is adjusted correctly. Make sure all adjustment controls can be reached from a seated position, and you do not have to strain to get to them. 

Whether you are working or gaming, you should, from a seated position, be able to easily activate the backrest tilt and locking feature, the position of the lumbar support, the seat height adjustment lever, and the armrest adjustments. It is always easier to get all the settings ‘exactly right’ if you are already sitting in the chair!

8. Manoeuvrability of Ergonomic Chairs

The ability to move around in your chair adds to its overall comfort and usefulness. You should be easily able to swivel and move in your chair so that you can reach documents, files etc.

Chair castors give you effortless mobility, but make sure to get the right ones for your floor. Nylon castors are suitable for carpet floors, while rubber or soft castors, are suitable for hard surfaces like, tiles, wood and concrete.

Conclusion

There are many different ergonomic office chairs available for sale in South Africa. Choosing a comfortable chair can have a huge impact on your wellbeing and level of productivity at work. Sitting on an uncomfortable or incorrectly adjusted chair, typically results in back, neck and shoulder pain. If left untreated, such pain can result in long-term health issues. Why a High Back Office Chair is a Good Idea.

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