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Finding the Perfect Office Chair

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An average day for most consists of working nine to five in an office and subsequently sitting down for a good eight hours, usually in front of a computer screen.

Back pain is a common occurrence for office employees and it’s a growing concern among many businesses, therefore supplying correct office equipment for staff is essential to combat this.

Whilst style is considered a crucial factor in creating a good working environment, it isn’t the most important. Every chair should, in most parts, be different for each employee, as the one size fits all approach may not be the most efficient or beneficial method. If, for example you have a staff member with back problems, it would be better to buy a chair that addresses these problems to begin with rather than facing subsequent and continuing occupational health and safety fixes.

How Long Will my Chair Last?

When buying a chair it’s hard to tell how long it’s going to last, especially because most of the time the measurement is omitted. This is probably due to varying external factors, with some chairs being used more often, thus becoming more worn.

However, there is a method that may be of some help, the guarantee. Dependant on how long this is, depends on how much confidence the manufacturer has with the product. If for example it’s five years or longer, you know that it will most likely last that long, as a manufacturer wouldn’t want to have to keep on fixing or replacing a chair if it didn’t last.

Chair Use

More often than not the chair use isn’t specified, leaving you to decide on its purpose, some companies do however rate their chairs for usage. They will usually tend to state if it’s intended for long term computer use, which is a sure sign that it’s built to be used for an 8 hour day. If it’s not stated though, use the guarantee period as a guide. If it’s five years or more you can assume it will be able to handle everyday use. You’ll most likely find the operator chair in offices up and down country, as this type is commonly used for workers who spend a lengthy amount of time sat down.

Ergonomic Chairs Demystified

The term ‘ergonomic’ is often bandied about in regards to office chairs, and chairs of this type are often reviewed when looking for a product that will reduce back pain. But despite this phrase being frequently used it is often misused or misunderstood, resulting in unnecessary or bad purchases.

To clarify, in regards to office chairs, ergonomic means an office chair that has be carefully designed for the user to work productively, safely and efficiently, whilst minimizing any feeling of discomfort.

Remember although it may state that a chair is ergonomic, it is not necessarily the best chair for the job or your needs. However, to find a chair that truly is ergonomic, check that is has the following five features:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment to suit your body height and weight

  • Adjustable seat depth for optimal leg comfort

  • Adjustable tilt tension allowing each individual user to set the correct pressure

  • Adjustable back height to allow the lower back to be correctly supported

  • Adjustable arm height for ease of movement and to minimise the risk of repetitive strain injury

Looking After your Back

It is essential for any office chair back to provide users with good support for the lower back. It should be possible for it to be able to be adjusted so that it nests comfortably into the small of your back.

With office chairs that have a small or medium height back it should be height adjustable with some light shaping allowing it to rest comfortably into your lumbar region. On the other hand, it may include a separate lumbar support which can be altered to suit your needs.

Some chairs of high quality use a mesh design to give support, which tend to use two or three ply mesh specifically made for purpose. However try to avoid cheaper chairs of this design as the mesh doesn’t support the back properly.

So, when deciding on a new office chair or operator chair, make sure you consider these three things: the usage of the chair, how long it’s likely to last and find out just how ergonomical it actually is.

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