All of us are aware of the potential for injury in the workplace. Most people think of factory jobs as hazardous, and indeed they are, with many reported instances of injuries. However, few people consider sitting in a chair in an office dangerous! Yet this seemingly harmless situation is also a place for sustaining severe, long-term injuries. Technology has undoubtedly made the office a more productive place but sitting in a chair for hours lends itself to the onset of injuries. People often forget that they should stand up and walk around frequently, and conventional office furniture tends to cause poor posture problems. Studies have shown that many people report chronic health problems from this activity (or inactivity, more precisely). The sedentary office environment and its associated health issues led to the birth of the field of ergonomics.
An office ergonomic chair helps with good posture, reducing the likelihood that a person suffers from issues with their hips, back, and neck. The unique design features of an ergonomic chair mean that this type of chair is more expensive than a conventional office chair. However, suppose you stop and consider the cost of treating hip, back, and neck injuries acquired from using a less expensive chair and the pain associated with these conditions. In that case, the extra cost is worth the prevention of such injuries.
What are the specific benefits of using an ergonomic chair?
- The use of an ergonomic chair provides excellent health benefits. An ergonomic chair decreases lower back pain, helps support the spine, maintains the joints in a neutral position, and reduces neck and shoulder aches and pains.
- An ergonomic chair supplies a high degree of comfort. A good ergonomic chair adjusts to an individual’s body shape.
- An ergonomic office chair leads to increased productivity. People are naturally productive when they are comfortable.
- The use of ergonomic chairs increases employee satisfaction. When an employee is not suffering aches and pains from sitting, they are happier.
- Although more expensive, ergonomic chairs more than pay for themselves over time because of decreased medical issues.
When shopping for ergonomic chairs, there are features you should include. The chair should be height adjustable, and your thighs should be horizontal to the floor when you are in the correct position. The backrest should be adjustable, as well, with a locking feature that prevents your back from tilting backward. The seat should be breathable and neither too hard nor too soft. The chair should have good lumbar support to reduce compression and strain on the lumbar vertebrae. Armrests should also be adjustable so you do not slouch, and your arms are comfortable. When you take pressure off your arms, you also reduce strain on your neck and shoulders. The chair should be deep enough and wide enough to accommodate your body comfortably. There should be 2 to 4 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of the chair. Make sure you can reach all the controls while seated. The chair should also have easy-roll casters, and you should be able to turn the chair when you are sitting down. The casters should roll freely on the surface where your chair operates. A chair mat may be required to ensure that the chair moves without impediment.
The material of the office chair is also very important. For example, a fabric office chair is very comfortable but you should choose the right type of fabric.
When you consider all the benefits of a good ergonomic chair, there is no reason to hesitate to invest in such a chair. Employees are more productive when they are comfortable and pain-free, and they express greater satisfaction with their work. Preventing medical issues is much less expensive than treating injuries, so consider ergonomic chairs part of the efficient operation of your business. Your employees can enjoy the benefits of ergonomic chairs and thank you for buying them!