Your office chair is perhaps the most important piece of office furniture that you own. You should make an informed decision about office seating and find the task chair that fits you best. There are so many seating options out there, it can get confusing if you don’t know what to look for. I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on what you should look for in a chair.
When selecting a new office chair, there are three things that are central for you to achieve proper support.
- Adjusted chair height must allow the user to keep both feet on the floor or on a footrest.
- The user should be able to sit in contact with the backrest at all times.
- The backrest must support the chosen posture with even pressure on the lower and upper back.
In addition, chair controls that are operable while seated should provide immediate feedback to help the user adjust the chair quickly and correctly. If a user has to get out of the chair to make adjustments, it will reduce the likelihood that the user will engage the control frequently.
The three fundamental features to look for in task seating are: seat height, seat depth, and tilt tension.
As I mentioned earlier, the proper seat height will allow the user to place both feet squarely on the floor or a footrest. When the seat is too high, the user tends to lean forward and forgo back support in order to get the feet on the floor. When the seat is too low, weight is shifted to the buttocks, ultimately resulting in sore sitting bones. Chairs with a larger seat adjustment range allow a greater number of people to sit comfortably in the same chair.
Seat Pan Depth
To get the full benefit from the lumbar support, the user must be able to contact the backrest without feeling pressure behind the knees. That means the seat pan must be short enough to allow full contact with the backrest. If the seat pan is too short, the legs overhang the front edge causing pressure in the mid-thigh area.
Tilt tension is probably the most beneficial, yet under-utilized posture enhancing adjustment. In some cases, people will not use the chair’s backrest at all because they never increase the tilt tension enough to support them in any position, even fully upright. In order to support user preference, the tilt tension control should be easily accessible and require a minimal number of turns to adjust from high backrest force to low force.
The correct tilt tension varies from person to person depending on height, weight, and preferred support. When properly adjusted, the backrest force should be just high enough that the user can easily rock into any reclined angle and balance there. If the chair does not allow the user to relax while reclined, the small posture changes that slow the onset of fatigue will not occur.
If your current chair does not meet these requirements, remember that New Life Office carries a line of great looking Executive Chairs and Multi-Task Chairs that feature pneumatic seat height adjustment and synchronized tilt control with tilt tension. In my next post I will explore some of the advanced features in seating.