Selecting the right office chair and asking how to set it up correctly are two of the most commonly asked questions that I get as an Osteopath when dealing with clients who work in an office and when performing ergonomic risk assessments and training in the corporate environment. Selecting the right office chair is almost as difficult as selecting the right bed. Individuals are always wanting to know which chair is best for them. Rather than giving individuals a recommendation on a specific chair brand that they must buy, often I will give them recommendations of what they should be looking for in a good chair.
Features that I recommend that a good ergonomic office chair should have include:
- Swivel feature.
- Height adjustable base/stem.
- Adjustable base tilt.
- Back rest that can adjust up and down in height.
- Back rest that can tilt back and forth in angle.
- If the chair has arm rests, the arm rests must be adjustable in height.
- Most importantly the chair must be comfortable to sit on and safe and stable.
Most offices these days are littered with a mixture of office chairs that they have accumulated over the years. Chairs can range from very simple standard office chairs to expensive and stylish chairs.
A quick revision of common office chairs
This is an example of a common office chair. It has the swivel feature, height adjustable stem/base, back rest height adjustable feature, backrest adjustable tilt. Chairs similar to this are often seen in offices all across Australia. Chairs may differ slightly with regards to the size of the back rest, chair base and stem length. This image was sourced from Backcare & Seating http://backcare.com.au/products/anatome-comfort-manual-medium-back/.
Then we have your slightly larger chairs with arm rests, as demonstrated by the Anatome Fit Manual chair shown below.
This image and chair can be found at http://backcare.com.au/products/anatome-fit-manual/
Taking it a step further with regards to style and price, we then have the RH Logic 400 chair. These chairs have all the required features. This chair image was sourced from http://backcare.com.au/products/rh-logic-400/
There are also those more heavy duty chairs such as the KAB ACS Executive chair. These chairs are more heavy duty and for high use areas.
When it comes to selecting the right chair. I would recommend consulting with your Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Ergonomist. For the average worker of average height, most chairs will be suitable. However the taller, shorter and heavier worker may require a chair that is more specific to their needs i.e. higher stem height for the tall worker, deeper base and larger back rest. The shorter worker may require a chair with a smaller seat base and the heavier worker may require a slightly larger and more sturdy chair.
Less common chairs
Often you will walk around an office space and see other chairs that are not so common.
The saddle chair is commonly seen by some workers who prefer to place greater weight through their legs. The saddle chair does not offer any passive back support and the worker will be required to work will often be prompted by the chair to adopt a good ergonomic working posture. This type of chair may demand more physical energy to maintain good posture.
The high stool chair that is commonly used in working areas that require a higher working desk space. These types of chairs are commonly seen in customer service areas such as bank tellers or where workers may combine both sitting and standing tasks at a high fixed desk height.
For those individuals looking to replace their current chair, I would recommend the following ergonomic equipment providers.
This blog was written by Osteopath Heath Williams. Heath is the director of Principle Four Osteopathy and Corporate Work Health Australia. Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic clinics. The clinic is located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD at 29 Somerset Place (near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St). Appointments can be made by calling 03 9670 9290 or booking online @ www.principlefourosteopathy.com.
Corporate Work Health Australia is a nationwide Occupational Health & Safety Company that provides ergonomic and manual handling consulting, risk assessments and training. All of our trainers and assessors are registered osteopaths and physiotherapists. To find out more about our services, please go to www.corporateworkhealth.com.