Working in an office is usually spent on sitting in an office chair. Sitting for a long period of time can adds stress to the structures in the spine. To avoid developing these kinds of problems an office chair should be ergonomic that supports good posture. Ergonomic is definitely a famous word when it comes to finding a modern office supply and furniture, but few people actually understand what the term means. What is and ergonomic chair? The Dictionary defines ergonomic as: designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort, and hence to maximize efficiency. In lay man’s term, ergonomic chairs are designed to keep a person at maximum comfort while working so that they can be productive and efficient.
Features of Ergonomic Chairs
Here are some of the features of a good ergonomic chair that can answer the first question of what is an ergonomic chair.
Feature 1 – Height
This feature seems like a simple feature but it makes a big difference when it comes to comfort. Any decent ergonomic chair should feature an adjustable height of the seat. Some higher end ergonomic chairs even allow you to adjust the height of the back rest and armrest separately. By adjusting all these features you are producing a good posture that feels both natural and comfortable. Seat height ranges from about 16 to 21 inches off the floor. User should have his feet flat on the floor, thighs horizontal and arms even with the height of the desk. These adjustment lever can be usually found below the seat.
Feature 2 – Seat Width and Depth
For the seat to be enough to support a user comfortably it should be 17-20 inches wide. The depth should be enough that the user can sit with their back against the backrest leaving approximately 2 to 4 inches between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. Most ergonomic chair has a tilt feature that can be adjusted forward or backward.
Feature 3 – Backrest
The backrest of an ergonomic chair should not be less than 12 inches wide. This part should be able to support the natural curve of a spine and if the backrest is separated from the seat, it should be adjustable in height and angle. But if the office chair seat and backrest is together in one piece, the backrest should be adjustable in forward or back angles, with a locking tool to keep it from going too far back once the user has chosen the proper angle.
Feature 4 – Lumbar Support
One of the most essential answer to what is an ergonomic chair is the availability of lumbar support. Since not all chairs have this feature, this is very important since the lumbar spine has an inward curve and sitting for a long time without support can result to slouching and strains the structures. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar adjustment so each user can get the appropriate fit to support the inward curve of the lower back.
Feature 5 – Seat material
An office chair seat and back should have enough padding to sit on for extended periods of time comfortably. Fabrics are more comfortable than harder surface.
Feature 6 – Armrest
Another important feature of an ergonomic chair is its’ armrest should be adjustable. These feature should allow user’s arms and shoulders to relax comfortably. The forearm should never be on the armrest while typing. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly on the armrests.
Feature 7 – Swivel
All conventional style ergonomic chair should easily rotate so as the user can reach different areas without straining himself or herself.
Feature 8 – Stability
A five point base is recommended for greater balance. Most ergonomic chair also has wheeled casters so it will be easier to move around the working environment.
In conclusion, the answer to the question what is an ergonomic chair is a chair that is designed not only to give maximum comfort but by extension to make the workers themselves more efficient. These chairs are designed to suit a range of people however there is no guarantee that it will suit any one person in particular this is why all of the features are adjustable. If you follow the checklist above it is possible to find the right chair although it is not always that easy. Please take note though that buying an ergonomic chair is a good beginning to allow a user to sit in a balanced position but it is still always important to sit properly.