Every year, thousands of Australians receive compensation for injuries they’ve sustained while on the job. That can be very costly for the business, not just in terms of paying out large amounts of money for compensation, but manpower and productivity can also be affected. For this reason, every business should try to minimise the risks of injury as much as possible, and in the case of office workers, that means utilising the correct working desk environment, especially the chair.
There isn’t a single ergonomic chair that can satisfy the needs of every single person out there, hence when shopping for the best ergonomic office chairs, getting a chair that fits the user just right, is of utmost importance. It’s worth knowing that not every chair that’s labeled as “ergonomic” is truly ergonomic. In this guide we’ll talk about what truly makes an ergonomic chair… well, ergonomic.
Seat Height Adjustment
Truly ergonomic office chairs must be flexible, especially when it comes to height adjustment. They should include heights both slightly higher and slightly lower than your ideal setting. Most ergonomic chairs offer features such as height cylinders which enables for a chair to be adjusted to the height best suitable for the user. The adjustable mechanism should be pneumatic for an easy and convenient adjusting while sitting on the chair. Adjusting your office chair to the ideal seating height helps minimise the stress on your lumbar and knees. Your knees should be positioned slightly lower than your hips so that your thighs are parallel to the floor when your feet are flat-rested on the floor.
Seat Pan Size and Adjustment
The seat pan should support most of your upper leg, but it shouldn’t touch the back of your knee when you sit on the chair. The width of the pan should be about 3cm wider than your hips, but should not be wide enough so that you can’t rest your arms on the armrests without stretching them out. A properly positioned seat pan will allow 2 to 4 fingers to fit between the front of the seat and the back of your knee. A proper seat pan depth allows you to position the curve of the seat to meet your curves when utilizing the lumber curve of the chair.
This is especially important if you have lower back problems, or if more than one person uses the same chair. Ergonomic chairs should offer both depth and vertical adjustments. Generally, lumbar supports are adjustable as you lower and raise the chair back. Fixed depth lumbar support is fine if it fits you right and adjusts vertically. An office chair without either of these properties may not fit most people.
The armrests should be height adjustable as well. Their lowest point should go as low as thigh height so they don’t interfere with elbow movements when they’re not needed, or they could have a swing back arm mechanism that can get them out of the way when they aren’t necessary. The ideal ergonomic office chair has both width and fore-aft adjustable so that you can make more personalised adjustments. You can also opt for a pivoting arm to get better arm support when typing.