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The Importance of Ergonomics in Office Chairs

Working at a computer all day might not be intense, physical labor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t place strain on the body. Many office workers spend upwards of 80% of their day sitting, and spending that much time sitting still can take its toll on the body in its own way. There was a point in time when it was believed that comfortable seating in the workplace would cause workers to become lazy, but we now understand that just the opposite is true. Ergonomic office chairs give people the support they need to be healthy, happy, and productive at work.

Without proper ergonomic support, a person can develop musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and muscle strain. Musculoskeletal disorders are a serious problem that results in a lot of lost productivity every year. According to the CDC, musculoskeletal disorders are responsible for nearly 70 million physician visits every year in the United States, and carpal tunnel syndrome alone is estimated to require about 300,000-500,000 corrective surgeries annually.

Make an Adjustment

When looking for an ergonomic office chair, remember that adjustability is essential. No two people are built exactly alike and the way a chair is adjusted can make a significant difference in how comfortable it is. Look for height adjustment functionality and adjustable arm rests so that people can have a chair that fits their needs. The Steelcase Series™ 1 chair, for example, features intuitive adjustments that make it easy to get a custom fit.

Ideally, a good ergonomic office chair will automatically adapt to the postures, movements, and the unique spinal shape of the person using it. Back support is extremely important and simply reclining in a chair will require a different degree of support than sitting upright. Steelcase's Gesture and SILQ chairs were both designed with natural movements of the body in mind so that the chair can respond intuitively. Even if a chair has the capability to be adjusted, people often don’t adjust their chairs as often as they should. But the SILQ chair is so intuitive and responsive that it actually eliminates the need for most of the adjustment mechanisms you see in desk chairs. A simple height adjustment lever is all it needs.

Let’s Move

Even when remaining seated, office chairs need to accommodate movement. Not only should they adapt to changes in posture, they need to have swivel capabilities that allow for a full range of motion and casters that work well with the type of flooring in the space. Some types of casters are better suited to carpeted environments while others were designed for hard floors. Hard-tread casters are best for carpeted spaces while soft-tread casters are better in areas with hard flooring because they grip the surface of the ground, creating smoother, easier movement.

Ergonomics Beyond the Desk

As important as desk chairs are, remember that ergonomic support needs to extend into other areas of the office. A palette of place that includes places like cafés, lounges, and private enclaves helps encourage movement throughout the day and allows for healthy changes in posture. But in many workplaces, people are spending extended amounts of time working away from their desks, using electronic devices while using furniture that was not designed for that purpose. Office lounges, for example, should not have sofas and chairs created for residential homes. Instead, look for lounge seating specifically designed for the workplace. This type of furniture will offer greater ergonomic support and make solo work and collaboration more comfortable and productive.

Make Your Chair Work for You

Looking to update your office chair to one that will offer comfort and support while you work? Check out the three chairs highlighted here, or browse our full selection of office chairs for one that will suit your needs.

  • Steelcase SILQ

    Cogent: Connect - Licorice (5S26)Cogent: Connect - Graphite (5S25)Cogent: Connect - Quicksilver (5S96) +13 more
    Retail Price Total:$641.00
    Configure
  • Steelcase Gesture

    Cogent: Connect - Coconut (5S15)Cogent: Connect - Tangerine (5S17)Cogent: Connect - Scarlet (5S18) +16 more
    Retail Price Total:$1,014.00
    Configure
  • Steelcase Steelcase Series™ 1

    Cogent: Connect - Graphite (5S25)Cogent: Connect - Licorice (5S26)Cogent: Connect - Nickel (5S24) +8 more
    Retail Price Total:$406.00
    Configure
 
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