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How to Evaluate and Select an Office Chair

Chair Shown: OfficeMaster Affirm, photo by OM Inc.

If you spend most of your work day sitting at your desk in your office, you should definitely make a high-quality office chair a priority. Low-quality chairs can cause lower back, leg, neck, and shoulder pain and tend to only last a couple years before needing to be replaced. While the aesthetics of the chair matter since it is part of your office decor, you will mostly want to consider the following features when looking for a chair:

Lumbar support

Quality office chairs will provide excellent support to the lower back and will usually have adjustable lumbar supports, allowing you to properly fit the chair to your lower back. This goes a long way toward helping prevent some of the types of back strain making the chair comfortable for everyday use. Look for a chair that allows you to adjust the placement and degree of lumbar support.

Adjustments

Just about any office chair you find is going to have adjustments for height. This adjustments, however, are less important than others like lumbar support, seat depth, seat and back angle, arm width and height, and tilt tension control. The various knobs and levers on each chair will allow you to adjust the chair to fit your body and the task you are performing. These features are also helpful if your office would like to have a standard chair for all employees, as a more adjustable chair will fit more people.

Modularity

Adjustability is essential, but given the range of body sizes and shapes in the workforce, modularity is just as important. Some chair lines offer a range of cylinder, seat and back sizes, further allowing you to outfit your entire office with a chair design that is consistent, yet fits 100% of the people on your team. A chair that has the wrong seat depth for an employee – whether it is too long for a person with short legs, or too short for a person with long legs, or too wide for a person with narrow shoulders – can lead to serious repetitive stress or fatigue issues. A truly modular chair line will allow you to change out a seat or back years down the road, so when an employee leaves and is replaced by a person of a different size, rather than buying a new chair, you can simply buy the appropriate seat and change it out. This functionality helps extend your investment, and respects the environment by reducing waste.

 Upholstery

Choose an office chair that has a breathable fabric, so it will not become uncomfortable after you have been sitting in it for a long time. Many chairs come in a mesh fabric that allows air flow and can provide you will cool comfort, especially during the summer months.

Ultimately, having a good chair for your office is important for reasons beyond just your comfort and health. Studies show a good, supportive, comfortable office chair helps you be more productive with your work, and can even help reduce distractions. Before purchasing a new chair, contact Keeney’s ergonomic team to assist you in selecting the best chair for your needs.