What Support Should a Good Chair Provide?
A good chair should accommodate a wide range of postures without feeling resistant or discomfort. It should be easy to get into and out of. It should permit motion but be stable enough to allow close-up or detailed work. Your chair should accommodate at least three kinds of working postures—reclined, forward leaning, and upright.
How to tie these results back to specific chair features is still under discussion. It is obvious that a good chair provides good back support: People who work leaning forward and upright will want to lean back and rest; people working in the reclined position need to feel securely supported. read more...
The notion that chairs should both stabilize users and accommodate a range of motion has led to a significant redesign of chairs and a new way of talking about them. Designers are moving in two directions: designing chairs to meet the requirements of specific kinds of work, and designing chairs to accommodate a range of workers and a range of tasks. Ergonomic principles say the chair should first fit the user, then fit the task, and then allow for posture change and a variety of activities.
Basic features to consider when purchasing a chair
Be sure to check out the range of height adjustment. You want to be able to sit with your feet resting comfortably on the floor, thighs supported and parallel to the floor. Either sitting too high up or down can cause discomfort, swelling or pain.
Look for a height-adjustable backrest that is sufficiently cushioned and provides lower back (lumbar) support. Tilting back should be easy to do, but not too easy. Chairs are available with adjustable tension settings that allow you to increase or decrease the resistance of chair tilt.
A cushioned and adjustable armrest is optimal. Be sure armrests do not prevent the chair occupant from being close enough to their keyboard or worktable.
A chair should conform to your contours and relieve the pressure points and heat build-up that cause the aches and pains and fatigue that people who sit all day often think are just part of the job. The seat and back suspension material should conform to your body and cradle it, keeping the pressure even across your body, keeping you cool at the same time.
The seat should also curve down slightly on the front edge. The back of your knees while sitting should not come in contact with the front edge; there should be at least a few inches between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
Chair Legs and Casters
For stability, work chairs should have five legs. Be sure the casters on the chair you select are designed for your particular floor surface; you don’t want to go sliding across your hardwood floor at breakneck speeds. If you have a carpet, use a chair mat for easy chair movement and to prevent carpet wear.
Try it out
Perhaps the best test for the right work chair is a dry run. You’ll absolutely want to try out that chair before buying it. Sit in the chair for at least five minutes – optimally a half hour – to see if you remain comfortable.
Know how to adjust your chair
What good is a chair that can be custom-fit to your individual needs if its features are never utilized? Be sure to learn about the operational controls and features of your chair, and use them so that you can derive the optimal benefit from this very important work tool. There are lots of great tools on the web to help you get the most out of your chair.