At ergoCentric it is our mission to design and manufacture the best ergonomic chairs, but we also want to make sure you understand what to look for. Whether you are purchasing an office chair for yourself or many for a company, it’s important to consider each person separately.
Quality: When choosing ergonomic seating, it’s critical to look for the highest quality possible. Investing in seating that will provide long-term value is key to keeping a workforce healthier and more productive. If a chair you are purchasing is of the highest standard, it will meet the requirements of these organizations that specialize in certifying furniture: ANSI/BIFMA, Greenguard and ISO 14001.
Adjustability: One of the most important things you need in a chair is adjustability, so that you can adjust the chair to fit your body, instead of trying to adjust your body to fit into the chair. The chair you buy should have pneumatic seat height adjustment to allow the seat height to be easily adjusted, which is necessary to be able to sit comfortably at all times. In addition, your chair should swivel, so that you don’t have to twist your body when making slight movements, such as making notes or reaching for the phone.
Seat: The typical seat sizes that most chair manufacturers make only fit roughly 70% of the population. The seat size should allow you to sit back against the backrest with an approximately 3-finger width clearance between the back of your legs and the front of the seat. In addition, the seat should have a waterfall (curved downward) front edge to reduce pressure on the veins beneath the thighs. It should also subtly curve up at the sides to redistribute the user’s weight away from the seat bones, allowing users to maintain comfortable pressure distribution across the seat. The seat should NOT dip inward in the centre, or rise up at the back middle portion, as this puts extra pressure on the spine and can cause discomfort and other ailments.
The seat pan depth should also be adjustable, because a seat that is too deep or shallow can cause lower back and leg discomfort. In addition, the seat pan should be able to tilt forward and backward, and be able to lock into any position to provide the variation of postures required by the human body. If there is a free float mode, there should be tilt tension control, enabling the user to easily recline, which reduces stress on the lower back.
Lumbar Support: Many people experience back pain, and their office chair should be reducing that pain, not contributing to it. It is important to look for a backrest with a firm lumbar support built into its structure. Insufficient support or lumbar support that is too high/low can lead to lower back pain, so look for lumbar support that is adjustable in height and depth, to fit different body types. Note that lumbar made of foam is not sufficient enough to reposition the lumbar spine back into its natural curvature.
Backrest: The backrest should be the correct size for the length of your back. The longer the back, the higher the backrest needs to be in order to properly support it. The backrest must also have lateral curves to support the upper body, and reduce the amount of muscle activity required to keep it upright. A chair should support its user comfortably, and once the proper seat pan and back support are found, the angle between them should be greater than 90 degrees, which helps to reduce stress on the spine.
The smaller components of a chair like the armrests, headrest, casters and base can be overlooked, but these features can have a huge impact on your comfort.
Base: The base should be the correct size and type for the size and type of chair it holds. A chair should have at least 5 spokes. Larger chairs require larger bases for stability and if bases are plastic, they should be made of 30% glass-reinforced nylon with a metal hub insert.
Casters (Wheels): If your floor is carpeted, you need Nylon casters to provide ease of movement and reduce carpet wear. If you have hard flooring, Urethane casters should be used, as Urethane is a softer material, and less likely to damage your floor.
Armrests: Armrests need to give you somewhere to rest your arms, taking stress off of the shoulders and neck, while also allowing you to pull the chair close to your work surface. In addition, they should be strong enough to provide guidance and support when getting in and out of the chair.
Headrest: Headrests are optional, however, they are recommended for users who work long hours and need a supported relaxed position, or users who need it medically. Whatever the case, the best option is a headrest that allows the user to place it exactly where it’s needed, adjusting vertically and horizontally in addition to pivoting. This ensures that the user never has to strain their neck by putting it in an uncomfortable position.