Find out what to look for in a good office chair.
By Emma Remond
The human body simply isn’t designed to sit for long periods of time, but with the advent of TV, computers and desk jobs, we’re sitting down more than ever before in history: 9.3 hours a day. That’s more time than we spend sleeping: 7.7 hours. There’s nothing worse than that dull ache you get in your lower back or the tightness than can develop at the base of your neck between your shoulder blades after a long day at your desk. So whether you work from home full-time or only use your home office to store paperwork, pay bills and organise your life, do yourself a favour and furnish your home office with an ergonomic chair that supports your lower back and promotes good posture. These are the five most important things to look for in a chair for your home office:
1. Seat: The height of your seat should be easily adjustable. Depending how tall you are, it should be 40 – 60cm off the ground. Your feet should be flat on the floor with yours thighs horizontally parallel to the ground and your arms even with the height of the desk. The standard seat width is 43 – 50cm. It should be deep enough for you to sit with your back against the backrest with 5 – 10cm between the back of your knees and the front of the seat. Make sure that you can tilt the seat forwards or backwards as the inclination can significantly reduce the stress on your lower back.
2. Backrest: Your chair’s backrest should be 30 – 50cm wide. Sitting for extended periods without support for the natural curve of your spine usually leads to slouching, which strains the lower back. Ideally, the backrest should allow you to adjust the height and depth of the lumbar support so you can get the proper fit to support the inward curve of your lowers back.
3. Armrests: The armrests should also be easily adjustable. Your arms need to be able to rest comfortably and your shoulders should be relaxed.
4. Swivel: Your chair should rotate easily so you can reach different areas of your desk without putting any strain on your spine.
5. Material: The chair should have enough padding to be comfortable to sit on for extended periods of time. Breathable fabrics are preferable to harder surfaces.