Most people who work in offices spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk looking at a computer. While that may sound low-stress, maintaining the same position for hours at a time actually can put a lot of strain on the body, especially the lower back.
Some new technologies, including stand-up desks, can help improve back health and reduce the “white collar spread” many office workers experience. But having the right office seating can also dramatically reduce the risk of becoming injured while sitting down on the job.
Having a comfortable office chair not only can prevent injury and stress but can also help you work longer and more efficiently. Office workers with comfortable seating tend to get more done, make fewer mistakes, and feel more satisfaction in their job.
When shopping for a new office chair, there are six essential things that you should look for in order to maximize comfort and reduce the risk of strain or injury.
Protecting the Posterior
The most weight while sitting down is put on the backside. So choosing an office chair with comfortable seat padding is essential.
Sitting on a hard plastic chair or office seating with thin padding can get uncomfortable after even a short period of time. Instead, look for an office chair with comfortable padding and breathable fabric. If possible, take the chair for a “test sit” before buying.
Your shoulders will be more relaxed and your arm muscles less stressed when your office chair comes with arm rests.
For maximum comfort, choose an office chair with arm rests that keep your elbows and arms at a 90-degree angle.
To work comfortably, your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor. Make sure you choose a chair with an adjustable height option that lets you keep your feet flat and your arms at desk height.
Being able to go up and down isn’t the only concern with an office chair. You also should be able to rock forwards and backward.
This will help reduce slouching and provide more support to both your upper and lower back.
Look for office chairs with lumbar support, which means a curved back padding that supports the natural curve of the human back.
If the chair you use doesn’t provide lumbar support, consider adding an optional lumbar cushion that attaches to practically any office chair.
Chairs with wheels not only give you more mobility but also let you swivel, spin and roll around wherever you want to go. Reaching for items on your desk, shelves, or other places on a stationary chair can put additional strain on your back.