Er·go·nom·ics. – The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Also called biotechnology, human engineering, human factors engineering. (Wikipedia)
Your office workstation is where it all starts. If your workstation or home office is poorly thought out in design, this could be causing you more harm than good. As most of us would rather be at home on the couch, we spend sometimes more than 8 hours on our office chair, so we need to get this vital ‘tool of the trade’ correct.
A well designed office or workstation or home office workspace improves productivity, decreases stress on the body which in turn reduces fatigue and discomfort. The better we can adjust our body to sit with the correct posture and proportions the less time we will spend tripping to the chiropractor for an adjustment.
Here are some of our tips on choosing the best ergonomic chair for your workstation.
Feet should be flat on the floor or on a foot rest. Thighs should be parallel to the ground as well as forearms to the office table. Think 90 degree angles at all points. If your chair positioning is too high, this can limit your blood circulation. If your positioning is to low and knees are higher than your hips, this can put pressure on your tail bone and lower back.
Most ergonomic chairs these days have a natural glide mechanism which enables your back rest to move freely back and forewords, giving more comfort and less restriction. If you wish to not use this function and like a sturdy back rest, remember to keep it at a comfortable 90 degree’s. Too far back and you will be putting presser on your spine.
An adjustable seat depth allows you to slide your seat forwards or back to suit your thigh length. A good guide line is to have 3 fingers width distance between the back of your knee and the front of your seat. If a seat is too long you will be inclined to prop yourself forward, losing the benefit of a back rest, in turn causing strain to your legs and lower back.
Adjustable arm rests are a great addition to your chair. When not in use they can be pushed back out of the way allowing you to get closer to your work or in and out of your chair faster.
When arm rests are in use, arms need to be resting comfortably. Shoulders should not be hunched or raised. Most arm rests can be adjusted in height so your elbows are at a comfortable 90 degrees. Forearms should always be parallel to the floor when typing or using your mouse.
The ability to sit correctly allows oxygen to move to your muscles and increases blood flow to the brain, improving focus and productivity. Your back rest should mould with the contour of your back, giving support to all parts of your upper and lower back.
Do you need a chair with wheels or one that is stationary? A chair with wheels allows you to move freely around your workspace, this is helpful if your workstation is large. If your floor is carpeted, purchasing a plastic mat will improve your chairs move ability.
Things to consider
Looks aren’t everything.
Choose the right fabric for your situation. E.g. If your office doesn’t have air-conditioning perhaps a leather chair may not be the best option.
Comfort is the key
Try before you buy
A well designed ergonomic chair is worth the investment.