How many of you reading this blog have actually taken 5 minutes out of your busy work day to try out your office chair?  How many of you have actually fiddled with all of the chair features and adjusted it to suit your needs?  Based on experience, I would probably say less than 25% of you have actually got off your chair, adjusted each of the chairs features and then set it up to fit you correctly.  The  major reasons for people not having done this when asked is that they don’t know how to adjust the chair and aren’t sure how it should be adjusted to suit their needs.

The aim of this blog is to provide you with a simple step by step guide to setting up your chair correctly.  This guide should be suitable for the majority of you.  However, if you fall into that group who still cannot adjust the chair to suit your needs and/or you continue to suffer from any of the following: back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain.  Then please chat to your Human Resources or Occupational Health and Safety Officer to arrange for an ergonomic risk assessment.  For more information about arranging an ergonomic risk assessment by a qualified external consultant, please check out Corporate Work Health Australia Pty Ltd  Corporate Work Health Australia have qualified Osteopaths, Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists who conduct ergonomic risk assessments and training across all major cities (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart).

Your Step By Step Guide To Setting Up Your Ch

air Correctly

Assuming you sit at a fixed height desk. The majority of office desks are set at a fixed height between 69 – 72cm.  For those of you with a height adjustable desk, your ergonomic set up will differ.

1.  Check that your chair is in good working order.  Ensure that the chair adjusts as it should and that all features can be fastened correctly.  Sometimes chairs will wear and as a result threads on bolts wear out, the chair gas lift stops working and the cushioning flattens outs.  If your chair sounds like this, then look to get it replaced.

2.  Finding the correct chair height.  The correct chair height is one where when your arms are placed by your side, they are parallel to the desk level or just above it.

Short Workers –  If your feet cannot firmly touch the ground.  You will require a footrest.  If your feet only just touch the ground.  A footrest is recommended.

Tall Workers – If you are sitting in this position and your knees are sitting higher than your hips, then you will need a desk that can be raised in height.

3.   Seat base.  For the majority of workers the seat pan base should be flat.  Tilting the seat pan base too far forward will mean that the worker will place more weight through their legs.  Whilst this can be a good thing for offloading load on the spine.  It requires the worker to have to work extra hard against gravity to lean back into the chair.  Therefore it can become very tiring and overtime the worker is likely to adopt a slumped posture once fatigued.

4.  Back Rest Tilt Position.  Typically most workers will benefit from a back rest that is slightly angled.  Rather than being directly upright, a slight 5-10 degree back tilt is preferred.  Again.  A back rest that is directly upright requires the worker to strain to lean against it.  Rather than sitting back into the back rest and letting it do some of the work.

5.  Finding the right position for the lumbar support.  This is probably one of the most common mistakes made by workers.  It is either sitting too low or high.  The best way to identify where this lumbar support is to stand flat against the wall.  The space between your lower back and the wall is where this lumbar support should sit.

As I have mentioned previously, if you are having difficulties adjusting your chair or just cannot find a comfortable position, then please contact her HR or OHS/WHS rep to get further guidance.

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 @