The Covid lockdown made us all more aware of ergonomic chairs. Most of us hadn’t even heard of them three years ago. But when companies sent their workers home, they sent them home with good chairs, and well designed desks. Nobody wanted a lawsuit because someone ended up with a bad back because of a poor office set-up.
So we all learned about the importance of ergonomics, and I am typing this blog in the most comfortable and supportive chair I have ever owned. And I didn’t need to mortgage my house to get the chair.
What is an ergonomic office chair?
The answer is quite simple. Ergonomic chairs are designed specially to support your body, promote good posture, and prevent discomfort. Basically, you can’t slouch on a good chair.
The chairs are light, comfortable and highly adjustable to provide full spinal support, and a natural position for your hips and other joints. An ergonomic design will align your shoulders, spine and hips, and prevent your knees from being stressed, while ensuring you are at the perfect position to use your office equipment, such as a keyboard.
Ergonomic chairs are highly adjustable. They can move up and down, the back rest moves, and the arm rests can be raised or lowered. If you are tall and lanky, or short and stubby, the same chair can be the ideal chair for your body shape.
Choosing an ergonomic office chair
Back pain is one of the leading causes of discomfort for those of us who have to sit for a living. A dull ache in the back, shooting sciatic pains down our legs, and diminished mobility can be the costs of a desk job.
Neck pain is another problem.
When choosing an ergonomic chair, a number of factors must be considered. The first is seat height. The height needs to be adjustable. A pneumatic adjustment lever is the easiest way to do this. A height range from 16 to 21 inches will work for most people. This allows you to sit with your feet flat on the floor, while your thighs are horizontal, and your arms even with the height of the desk.
The next consideration is seat width and depth. There must be enough space to support any user (even the happy sizes) comfortably. Usually the chair will be between 17 and 20 inches wide, though wider are available for bigger users. In terms of depth (front to back of the seat) the chair needs to be deep enough that the user can sit with his or her back against the backrest, while leaving two to four inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. And the forward or backward tilt of the seat should be adjustable.
Lumbar, or lower back, support is very important. Nobody has a straight spine (unless they have a major medical problem). Our backbone is a gentle curving S shape. A good ergonomic chair will have a lumbar adjustment to support the inward curve of the lower back.
The backrest should be between 12 and 19 inches wide, again supporting the natural curve of the spine. And the seat material must have enough padding to be comfortable for long periods of sitting. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is best.
Armrests need to be adjustable, to allow your shoulders to be relaxed. Look for a chair that allows your elbows and lower arms to rest lightly, and your forearm to be off the armrest while typing.
Finally, a good ergonomic chair will swivel easily, and move on casters, to allow you to reach things in your office space without straining.
Sounds like a lot… Luckily most well designed chairs have all these features built in.
Gaming chair vs ergonomic office chair
Like office chairs, gaming chairs are designed with ergonomics in mind. Gamers tend to spend a long time in front of the screen, so they need chairs that make this a comfortable experience.
But gaming chairs are different. They tend to be bigger than office chairs, and flashier. They don’t always blend into an office environment. They have larger frames, making them stick out. The larger frames come with advantages; they recline more than office chairs, and allow greater adjustments. But they are also more expensive. And they don’t offer any huge advantages for this increased price.
In fact, they can be hotter than office chairs, leading to decreased comfort over a long period. And the seats are often not as well designed as on office chairs.
That said, a gaming chair will work in an office, and a good office chair will work for a gamer.
Office Chair vs Task Chair
Task chairs were designed to keep the user’s back straight, and the weight off the shoulders. In an office environment this meant a faster typing speed. So they were designed to increase productivity, but have the side effect of improving posture and reducing strain.
Generally task chairs have more features than standard office chairs. They are designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind, so if you suffer from back or neck pain, then you may find them kinder on your body.
Standard office chairs offer basic features, such as height and armrest adjustment, swivel and a small back tilt. A task chair will have all that, along with additional depth adjustment, and lumbar support.
Task chairs tend to be lighter and more manoeuvrable, but they also cost a lot more than office chairs.
The bottom line is that an office chair is a good chair that will keep you comfortable for long sessions, but if you have joint, back or neck issues, it might be worth investing in a more specific task chair.
Affordable ergonomic chairs in Cork, Ireland
Getting the right chair can be vital for your comfort in work, but the good news is that it need not cost the earth. That’s where we come in.
At CJM Furniture we have a huge range of pre-owned office chairs, gaming chairs, and task chairs. We will have what you need. But because it is not new, you will get what you need at a great price.
And buying used chairs is great for the environment. We need to reuse and recycle as much as possible. We need to make our offices as sustainable as we can, and reusing is a very important way to do that. A visit to CJM could get you what you need at an unbeatable price, while also pushing your sustainability aspirations. How cool is that?
And you’d never know what else you might pick up while you’re here.