5 Adjustments to Look for in an Office Chair

With so many options on the market, how do you determine which office chair is best for you or your employees? An ergonomic chair is designed to fit the majority of workers, however, buying a chair just because it says 'ergonomic' on the label may not be wise. We've tried to make your decision process easier by providing a few key features to look for when purchasing new office chairs.

  1. Adjustable seat height
    When seated, the thighs should be parallel to the ground with the feet flat on the floor. Ensure that the seat height can be adjusted in this fashion to fit the worker who will use it. Depending on their height (i.e. very tall or very short), an alternative chair or gas lift mechanism may be required in order to promote the most neutral postures.
  2. Adjustable backrest height
    It is important to ensure that the backrest height is adjustable to allow for appropriate back support. Without a proper backrest, the worker's back may be set in both a static and awkward posture for what may be hours on end.
  3. Adjustable seat pan angle
    An adjustable seat pan angle can assist with opening up hip postures and reducing the pull on some muscles and nerves coming from the lower back (i.e. sciatic nerve).
  4. Adjustable seat pan depth
    An adjustable seat pan depth can help to ensure full support of the lower body, regardless of the worker's leg length. A quick way to measure this is while seated; check for a two to three finger width distance between the back of the knee and the front edge of the seat pan. A seat pan that is too large may cause “perching" on the edge of the chair or contact stress to the back of the leg, while a seat pan that is too short may result in poor body support.
  5. Adjustable Armrests
    Although not completely necessary, armrests can be a good option to provide support for the arms and shoulders. If selecting a chair with armrests, ensure they are at least adjustable in height to support the arms in a comfortable position with the shoulders neutral (i.e. not raised or slouched). Other beneficial features may include armrests that adjust in width (slide in and out from the body) or pivot, to further support the shoulders in a neutral, relaxed position.

A suitable office chair doesn't just mean a happy and more comfortable employee; it also means a more productive and efficient worker.

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