Ergonomics are often overlooked when people are procuring office chairs and that is a grave mistake. Muscoskeletal health issues impact a large part of the workforce and can cost businesses a lot of money in absences. Even the smallest deviation from a proper positioning in the way we sit or in how we situate our arms or hands, can end up causing us great pain and possible injury. This is especially true if one has a taller, shorter, or larger build and is forced to sit in a chair created without size in mind. Buying ergonomic chairs is not only good for the body, but is a smart business move overall.
When an office worker is required to sit for extended periods due to their job and does not have the appropriate chair, their health is in jeopardy. With that in mind, what exactly is necessary to make a chair ergonomically sound? When an employee sits in an awkward position too long, pain will ultimately ensue. Often their poor positioning is due to the nature of their job and cannot be prevented without finding an ergonomic solution.
- An ergonomically designed chair is created with the human body in mind. The chair should work with your body, not against it.
- Good ergonomics mean having a chair that reduces pressure on major joints in the body such as knees, the neck, shoulders, arms, legs and hips.
- The chair should become an extension of how the body functions. It should adjust to the user’s individual physical frame. This helps him or her end the day as well as they began it.
- Chairs can be selected to fit the job at hand; having the features best suited to everyday movements.
- Ergonomic chairs builders also consider their environmental impact on both personal constitution and the health of the planet.
- Ergonomics benefit businesses by saving hundreds of dollars by preventing employee injury and protecting overall health, which lowers both medical and insurance costs.
Repetitive motion is also a problem that adds stress to the body. Things like typing or using small tools that twist the arms, shoulders, or hands. Holding a telephone receiver for long hours while holding your arm unsupported can cause issues as well. You want to make sure your arms are supported and that you are sitting at the correct height for the desk you are using.
Research your needs according to your job description, shape, and size. A larger person can no more be comfortable in a chair built for a 125 pound woman, than a 5′ worker can work from a chair that is designed for a man of 6′ 6″ tall. The optimal ergonomic chair should have an adjustable height feature. It should raise and lower enough that the user can sit with both feet flat on the floor. The backrest should also raise and lower so as to fit the height of the user’s lower back. Tilt is a must for a comfortable sit.
Armrests are important. You want the rest to reach and comfortably support the arm when in a relaxed bent position. The design should include a waterfall front seat for leg comfort and should slightly tilt so that the knees drop naturally lower than the hips. The seat pan width must have enough space (at least an inch) on either side of the hips and thighs. It must also be deep enough to support, but not so deep as to put undue pressure to the back of the knees, which can cut off blood flow.
The backrest should support the spine curvature and lumbar and ideally move forward and backward, it is especially beneficial to have a tilt that responds to the movement of the body and moves accordingly. The ultimate goal is to give the appropriate support and keep the body in proper alignment.