Chairs Buyer's Guide: Ergonomic Chairs

Ergonomic chairs

In order to make your work area safe and healthy for your employees, you should use ergonomic chairs. This allows you to develop a working environment that is both comfortable and easy to perform tasks with risking injury. But ergonomics is subjective – what may work for one person might not necessarily work for everyone. Some chairs may not fit with every workstation. Other chairs need to be suitable towards a person’s individual height and weight.

One of the most common problems with not using ergonomic chairs is the stress you put on the lower back (lumbar) area. Consider a person’s individual body makeup when selecting what chairs work best. Seat height should be set at roughly 25% of your total body height. The type of chair you buy is also based on the activity you will perform in them. Relaxing in your living room easy chair will require a different set of ergonomics than someone driving a bus.

Look for ergonomic chairs that can be adjusted to various heights. Make sure to check the minimum and maximum range of height the seat can accommodate. This includes the backrest that should be adjustable in all directions – back and forth and left to right. The seat of your chairs should be padded but firm and stability is a must. The best materials to use are upholstery such as vinyl. It’s easy to clean but doesn’t breathe easily which means you could develop moisture when it gets hot. Cloth chairs are more common but harder to clean and the material can release allergens into the air.

Before you decide which ergonomic chairs work for you, ask manufacturers to send you select chair samples. This way, employees can try out different models and decide which is best. When you test a chair, decide how comfortable it is after a few hours of continuous sitting. The backrest should allow you free movement and shouldn’t “lock up”. Also keep in mind that ergonomics is as much about the way you sit as the actual chair you’re using. You could have a perfectly structured chair, but you’ll negate its benefits if you frequently slouch or lean too far forward.