A maze of ergonomics

Everyone knows, or should know, about the importance of a good-quality office chair with ergonomic features. There has been lots of research and publicity showing us the importance of sitting with the correct posture. But how many of us have sat in uncomfortable office chairs, trying in vain to change the angle of the seat, the chair height or add additional support to our lower backs?

We all know we should be looking for office chairs that have ergonomic features, especially in the modern working environment where a lot of office-based work involves sitting in front of a computer. But the sheer number of functions and mechanisms available nowadays can be confusing.

At Radius Office Furniture, we recognise the large number of different chairs, mechanisms and features can be overwhelming, so we thought we’d dedicate a blog post to explaining those different chair mechanisms to help you through this maze of ergonomics…

Protect your back

If you mess up your back, it is very hard, if not impossible to fix. So make sure your office chair has Adjustable Lumbar Support – this helps support your lower back and prevents the pelvis distorting the spine by providing additional contouring around your lower back. Adjustable lumbar support is a must for anyone with existing back problems or anyone wanting to avoid them!

We are all different shapes and sizes so it is important to choose an office chair with adjustable seat height. Having the backrest at the right height places the lumbar support in the correct position and relieves pressure on your legs and thighs. Some office chairs come with a medium-sized back or a high-back for taller people or those who want additional support for their shoulders. High-back chairs often come with a headrest, which supports your neck, back and head.

Contoured and shaped seating in office chairs provides an additional layer of comfort, providing additional support to your back by wrapping around it. For shared office chairs, a back tilt mechanism allows the individual user to position the backrest for their own fit, so that their back is in the correct position by maintaining their backs S-curve.

Watch those arms

Don’t neglect those arms, adjustable armrests are an important and necessary addition to any office chair. The most common type of adjustable arm rest is the height-adjustable variety. As the name suggests, they allow the user to move the armrests up or down ensuring the forearms are supported and maintaining the comfort of the user. Correctly supported arms means there is not too much weight being placed on them preventing shoulder and neck problems.

Pivot-adjustable arms allow the user to position the armrest inwards allowing greater comfort when typing on a keyboard. Width-adjustable arms enable the user of the office chair to position the armrests to the correct position for their body by moving the armrests closer to or further away from their body to prevent the wrists twisting when typing on a keyboard.

All of these adjustable features are perfect for chairs that are used by different people. Remember, when adjusting the armrests, your elbow should be at the same height as the keyboard.

Stand up for your legs

The wrong office chair without any of the following chair mechanisms can put incredible amounts of stress on your legs, in particular your thighs, leading to serious health problems in the future.

Seat height adjustment is one of the most common mechanisms on any quality office chair and allows the user to lower or raise the height of the chair. When adjusting the height of your chair, you need to ensure that when you are sitting down, your feet are flat on the floor. This avoids extra weight and stress being placed on your thighs. It also helps to keep your back in the correct position. When adjusting the height of your chair, bear in mind that your eye level should be at the top of the screen, or slightly below it.

The size of the clearance between your calves and the front of the seat should be about the width of three fingers, or two inches. An office chair with Seat depth adjustment allows the individual user to adjust how far forward the seat is positioned. Make sure that when you are sitting down, your thighs are parallel to the floor.

It is important, especially if your office chairs are going to be used by a variety of users to look for chairs with a tension adjustment mechanism. Usually operated by a knob positioned under the chair, the tension adjustment mechanism allows people of different sizes and weights to use the chair, by adjusting the pressure you need to exert to recline the chair. If it’s too easy, or too hard to recline the chair, you will put unnecessary stresses and strains on your legs and back.


Don’t forget…

The experts here at Radius Office Furniture are always on hand to offer advice about all of the above chair mechanisms and which products are ideally suited to your needs. Don’t forget, your health at work, and that of your colleagues and employees, is vital. Don’t compromise on safety by choosing the wrong office chair without any of the above chair mechanisms.