Think about it, one of the most important pieces of furniture in your life may be your desk chair. A 40-hour work week added up over the course of a year racks up to over 2,000 hours of use for an office desk (“task”) chair. Yet, more often than not, chairs tend to be overlooked when it comes to office design as the focus is instead on storage, desk space, and cost-cutting. Many ergonomic studies show however, that a supportive office chair increases worker produtivity by helping to maximize their efficiency while on the clock.
Alternatively, think about what an unsupportive chair, even with its lower price tag, ultimately costs you and your company in reduced employee satisfaction, lower productivity, and even back problems leading to absences. Not worth it. Instead, here is what to look for when choosing an office chair:
Achieving lumbar support means taking care of your lower back. Ideally, lumbar support should be adjustable allowing for the fit of the chair to contour to you by following the spine and supporting the curve of the lower back. Space as Art recommends skipping any task chair that does not include adjustable lumbar support among its features.
No two bodies are the same, therefore a chair should be as adjustable as possible. Typically, the more adjustment features a chair offers, the more expensive that chair tends to be, but we believe an investment in ergonomic adjustability pays off in the long run. While seat height adjustment is common to most task chairs, this does not go far enough. A good task chair should also adjust for arm height, lumbar support, and tilt tension control. Further consider upgraded features like arm spacing and arm depth adjustability to accommodate different body sizes, and seat-pan depth adjustability which allows both tall and petite users to sit properly to be supported by the chair. The depth and angle of a task chair’s seat greatly impacts leg circulation and, when properly adjusted, can reduce knee pressure.
Swivel & Wheel Based
To prevent strain or fatigue, a rolling chair that freely swivels is the best choice for easy accessibility and movement around one’s workspace.
Leather can look great, but for prolonged desk use we recommend fabric for a task chair. Breathable seat fabric and mesh back fabric help regulate one’s body temperature by keeping the chair cool and comfortable, even after extended periods of sitting. Additionally, there should be plenty of good-quality cushioning to prevent feeling the base of the chair through the seat (beware cheap office chairs ordered on the internet); memory foam seats can also be a nice upgrade to consider.
We understand it’s a common temptation to choose looks over comfort, or to be swayed by a low price tag when choosing task chairs. As designers and experts in commercial furnishings, it is part of our job to help clients balance function, ergonomics, aesthetics, and value. The best seating solutions vary between work environments, which all have slightly different criteria. Take a look at some of our ergonomic office chair picks from recent Space as Art projects:
Health Industry HQ – Providing both style and substance, the Amplify task chair by Sit On It is not only aerodynamic but features both high and mid-back support, along with adjustable lumbar support. Its breathable mesh back is available in a variety of colors to suit the environment or even the company color branding. Despite its light weight, the chair can hold up to 300 pounds.
Pinkerton Private Wealth – This executive conference chair is the Highmark “HB,” which provides superb cushion-comfort all over, including the armrests. Adjustments include synchro tilt, side tension control, body balance, and knee tilt. It is a great fit for use in an upscale meeting room like this one.
ImageNet Tampa – We chose the Torsa task chair for its ergonomics paired with ultra-modern look to compliment our high-tech design concept. The chair features cutting-edge design through a cable-driven synchro mechanism that allows for easy fingertip adjustment from a seated position.
There are many options available when it comes to picking a chair and a great deal of diversity in the marketplace. The key factor to take into consideration is adjustability, to allow each user to customize their support. That is why Space as Art offers our clients in-office chair test drives whenever possible to assist in making this important decision, and access to training resources for employees to learn how to make the most of their task chair’s features after purchase.