Choosing the ergonomic chair that is right for you
Whether you work from home every day or just occasionally, the chair you choose, will make a big difference to your comfort, health and productivity, so it is a good idea to take some time out and consider your options before rushing to buy one.
After all, if you choose a cheap and uncomfortable chair, having the right desk and the rest, doesn’t make much sense and your back will soon tell you if you have chosen the wrong chair.
It is tempting to buy a chair just because it looks good, we understand you must feel comfortable with your office space and you want to make it your own, but you should always choose a suitable ergonomic desk chair and then think about how it looks, honest.
A correctly sized ergonomic chair will not only feel immediately comfortable, but will provide proper lumbar support and prevent you developing long term back pain as a result of sitting at your desk.
When you choose your ergonomic chair, consider the key points below. They will really make a difference in the end.
The key features you should look for in your new office chair
How happy and productive you are when working from home will be directly impacted by the quality of your chair and how comfortable you feel, when putting in the hours at your desk.
- How flexible is the back of the seat? Can you fully recline the back of your chair, or is it fixed and too upright for you to be able to lean back and stretch?
- Does it give you the Lumbar support you need? Does your office chair provide firm support to your lower, lumbar back region and does it follow the natural curve of your spine or push against you?
- How adjustable is the chair? Does your chair support how you work and give you the ability to change your seated position multiple times throughout the day?
- Does your chair have legs or a wheelbase? Does it have wheels or just legs? Can you move easily whilst still sitting at your desk or do you have to lean forward and drag your chair into a new position every time you want to move?
- Does it have a swivel base? Can your chair seat fully rotate around a single leg to enable you to swivel to comfortably reach to the side into a draw or pick something up?
- What Fabric is it covered in? Does it have a breathable fabric? Is its cover cleanable if you have a spillage? Does it stay cool or get warm and a bit sweaty?
Check out our reviews on the stylish NOUHAUS Palette ergonomic chair or the NOUHAUS Ergo3D adaptable chair or the classic Herman Miller Aeron Chair or Herman Miller Sayl and Herman Miller Embody
How flexible is the back of the seat?
Another way you can relieve the stress on your back and shoulders after sitting for long periods of time at your desk, is to have a chair that reclines. What this simply means is that you can release the back of the seat so you can recline backwards and stretch whilst at the same time being fully supported by the seat. This can help you, relax, feel comfortable and help you loosen up and maintain good posture.
Does it give you the Lumbar support you need?
One of the most important factors to consider is how much lumbar, or lower back support the chair gives you.
Chairs normally support your lumbar region with firm padding that pushes out in a slight bulge at the bottom of the back of the chair and should snugly fit into the curved lumbar part of your lower back.
Without this additional support your back will ‘sag’ into the space at t the back of the chair and this can cause you long term back pain. Conversely, a chair that is too firm or too big means you will end up with a part of the chair pushing uncomfortably into your back. This is again something you do not want.
How adjustable is your ergonomic chair?
Think about how long you are going to spend sitting in your new chair. If you work for an average of 40 hours per week, this equates to over 2,000 hours per year, or 83 non-stop days per year.
This is why finding the right chair to suit you is so important to how well you work, and your long-term back health. It is worth paying to get the right chair.
Most office chairs offer basic height and arm adjustment options, but a comfortable and durable ergonomic office chair should offer more adjustable features. To allow you to adjust the seat angle, the height of the seat, the angle of the backrest, the height of the arms (if it has any) as well as their angle.
You will find that you end up making quite a few adjustments to your chair so it is also important that it is durable and covered by a warranty.
Does your chair have legs or a wheelbase?
Most ergonomic office chairs these days have wheels, these allow you to quickly move around in your chair without having to stand up or drag the chair around after you.
You must however consider where you will be using the chair, and the office floor surface itself. If the room you have set up for your office has carpet, then the chair you choose may not move so well or even damage the carpet.
When you choose an office chair, it is worth checking whether the wheels it comes with are suitable for use on a soft carpeted area (rather than office standard carpet tiles).
Does it have a swivel base?
This simply means can you swivel in the chair and reach things to the side or even behind you without having to stretch too much or stand up?
A swivelling base on your office chair allows you to move easily and alter your position when necessary without disturbing how you work too much.
It also helps if you are working alongside someone in your office and want to chat or discuss something without having to stand up and re-arrange your chairs.
It really is the small details that matter when you are spending 83 days per year sitting in your chair.
What Fabric is your chair covered in?
With all the best will in the world, accidents happen and you are going to drop something one day, whether it is a piece of fruit, chocolate, or most of the filling of your sandwich, your chair is going to get splattered and you are going to have to clean it at some point.
The questions here are how tough is the fabric itself? Can you just scrub it and clean up the mess or will you be left with a beautiful but stained masterpiece?
You also need to consider how breathable the fabric is, if you are spending thousands of hours each year sitting in your new chair, it is going to get warm and a bit uncomfortable. This is where mesh or breathable fabrics come into their own.
Finally, does it have enough padding, you don’t want to feel the frame of the seat poking into you and if it uses a material such as memory foam, even better. You can sit in comfort.