Something we often ignore is the effects that our surroundings can have on our health, including at work. For the majority of us, we spend almost half of our lives at work so it is important to recognise where you can improve or benefit your health and your posture. Poor office chairs are one of the most common causes of bad backs and bad posture, with bad backs being one of the most common complaint from workers, usually causing many sick days. We’re exploring how much damage your office chair is doing to your physical health and how you can avoid causing yourself anymore strain.
There are many different styles of chair, from your basic, cheaper option to executive chairs that do more damage than you think. Here are a few design errors that cause problems.
- No lower back support – found in older styles and cheaper options, lower back support is usually not an option as most come in two pieces, the seat and the higher back rest.
- No padding on the seat which consequently puts pressure on the discs in the lower back.
- Fixed backrests, not allowing adjustment which puts strain on the back muscles.
- Fixed armrests can interfere with your desk reach if they limit how far you can pull your chair into your desk, you may find yourself raising, leaning and perching to get work done, which is never good for your back.
- No height adjust-ability is another common cause of back strain, you need to be able to adjust your seat to ensure you are correctly level with your desk to avoid leaning or reaching.
So how can you ensure you keep your physical health in check and what to look out for when purchasing office chairs for yourself or for your office employees.
- Lumbar support is the most important feature, first and foremost. A good office chair will have lower back support, something that is often over looked in office chair design. Depending on your budget, you can even purchase chairs that have adjustable lumbar support. The support prevents back strain that if not taken care of can turn into sciatica.
- Adjust-ability is another key component for an office chair. The best office chairs have 5 or more adjustments and don’t just rely on the two standard adjustments – arms and height. Adjustments on a good office chair will include adjustment options on lumbar support, wheels, seat height & width and back support angle.
- Something people overlook as an important office chair attribute is fabric. The fabric should be breathable to avoid making the chair hot and uncomfortable, as it can be in use for many hours. In addition to breathable fabric, there should be enough cushion built into the chair to accommodate. You should not be able to feel the base through the cushioning.
Overall, it really does pay to invest in an office chair rather than to go budget. You are not just investing in a more comfortable experience whilst working, but you are investing in your own physical health, that can be effected over time if not treated properly. Paradigm Office Interiors recognise this importance, which is why we stock some of the very best office chairs to suit all needs and practicalities.