The Webster Dictionary describes the word “ergonomic” as “an applied science focused on designing and coordinating things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” Essentially, this means that ergonomically made objects are specially developed for comfort and productivity. Ergonomic office chairs are no different. They are different from typical office seats as ergonomic chairs are created for optimum comfort and production. Typical office chairs might not have some ergonomic attributes like armrests, variable height, lower back support, etc. The bottom line is, ergonomic seats are going to have a higher level of flexibility compared to a regular office chair.
Exactly why are ergonomic seats crucial? Well, whenever you take a seat and add up the time you might be seated in the seat, it is very important. According to OHSA, a typical office based staff member, working a 40 hour week, will spend 25-30 hours in a seated position. Over a 12 month period, that’s over 1500 hours in a seated position at work. That much time in a seated position puts a substantial amount of force on the lower back area of your backbone.
There are a number of different ergonomic abilities that boost the fit and comfort of a seat. Options like back support, arm rests, seat height, and seat angle work together to support your body. If all those functions and terms have your head spinning, I’d advise that you concentrate on ride height and back support as your main focus. Having a variable ride height allows you to set the chair height to your personal needs and wants. The height that you choose will also affect the angle of your lower back so it’s important to try different heights. Back support plays a crucial role in your long-term comfort. Look for a seat with adjustable back support, which is also typically known as “lumbar” support in reference to the lumber section of your spine. Also you can make use of the tilt function on your seat to recline yourself slightly, which takes additional pressure off your spine.
Arm rests are another ergonomic advancement that can make a sizeable improvement in overall comfort. Because of varying desk heights, seats with armrests may not always work under low or small desks. OHSA has also noted that armrests can reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
I realize that all these characteristics can be confusing when it actually boils down to making a choice, so it’s worth your time to comprehend what ergonomic characteristics are actually necessary. Your level of comfort and health will play a direct role in your efficiency and overall success, so take the time to review your options.