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Workstation Ergonomics

Posted on: August 26, 2014 Category:

Time for a new office chair? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting the right task chair for you:

Work station ergonomics:

Some would argue that the only real criteria for choosing an office chair is ‘ergonomics’. Personally i agree that ergonomics are the highest priority but luckily you don’t have to choose between looks and comfort, you can have both.


What makes a comfortable, ergonomically optimized modern office chair?

1) When seated in the chair your feet should be fully supported on the ground (not hanging in the air)

This requires that the seat have a height adjustment mechanism

2) When seated with your feet flat on the ground your hips should be slightly higher than your knees.

This implies that the seat should have a tilting mechanism.

3) When seated your back should be straight with some natural ‘lower back’ concave curvature (lordonic curve)

For this a chair with lumbar support can be useful.

4) Your chest lifted (your shoulders should not be hunched).

A chair with a headrest positioned just under the back of your skull can help to remind you to sit up straight.. although you still have to remember to do so.

To fit precisely under your skull you will need a height adjustable head rest.

5) You should not lean out of your chair (to reach a distant file cabinet or fax machine for example). Reaching over and lifting something (even something quite light) can hurt your back.

Its better to either get up and walk over to it or if you prefer not to ‘break your flow’, you could get an office chair with casters / wheels.

6) Temperature is not a consideration commonly included in an analysis of ergonomic work stations but our experience has taught us that the proliferation of of modern office chairs that are made out of mesh fabrics has raised a new issue:

Although generally very comfortable the one issue that people have had with mesh office chairs is that without the insulation provided by the upholstery the chair can be quite breezy and cool.

That’s great if you live in a warm climate or if you run a little warm, but it can be uncomfortable if you run cold or work in an over air conditioned space.


The last two points are not so much about the office chair as the rest of your work station:


7) Your upper arms should be vertical and at your sides while typing, and your fore arms should be at right angles from your torso.

To achieve this your desk / typing tray needs to be at precisely the right height relative to your body.

8) and last but not least, your monitor should be at the right height, so that with your chest lifted and your head erect, your gaze falls naturally on the middle of your screen.

This might require a monitor riser, (or a box under your monitor).

Beyond Ergonomics:

Style is really a question of personal taste but try to match the style of your office chair to the design of the rest of the space. If the room is modern, then it would be best to select a modern office chair.

Office chairs used to be very drab things, only available in the dullest colors, however this is changing. Today modern office chairs can be found in a wonderful range of colors and hues.

It may even be possible to match your chair to the color scheme of your room, or if the room has no color scheme you could use the chair as a starting point with which to introduce a color scheme.

Durability is really about two factors: The quality of the manufacturer’s workmanship and the choice of fabric. The majority of office chairs manufactured today are built with durability in mind so we have not found this to be an issue. ┬áLeathers and pleathers are the most common choice for a commercial environment, but new fabric technologies have given rise to some impressively resilient fabrics too.


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