Office Chairs South Africa
HOW TO SELECT AN OFFICE CHAIR
Given the abundance of choices, how do you select the most suitable office chair for your needs? It’s easy!
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In the mid-1980s we became very involved with ergonomics in the workplace. We consistently found that for many people working at a desk sitting was a major cause of neck, shoulder, and back pain. We were determined to address this problem, and so in May 1986 we set up Karo with the sole intention of designing and manufacturing ergonomic office chairs that would prevent or at least reduce back pain.
At Karo we care about your back and wellbeing. We work with companies and individuals by assessing the sitting posture and position and issues that you may be experiencing like lower back, shoulder, and neck pain. Once you have analysed your working environment and understand your problem, we provide you with a few chair options that we believe best meet your needs. We then assist you in making a choice that is right for you. We carry an extensive range of ergonomic and orthopedic office chairs in stock, so you can be sure of finding a chair for your home or office that is correct for your needs.
Whether you’re small or tall or require chair for a special application, you’ll probably find a chair for you. This is our showroom in Johannesburg and see for yourself. Should you be looking for office chairs in Cape Town, Durban or anywhere else in South Africa use the extensive knowledge center section on our website to find out how to select an office chair that is ergonomically correct for you. You are welcome to contact us for any advice or to book your free assessment at our showroom.
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How to correctly adjust the height of your OFFICE CHAIR, DESK and MONITOR.
An ergonomic workplace is essential for your health and wellbeing
In order to maintain a good posture and reduce potential health problems, it is important for you to know how to setup your ergonomic chair and workstation. This video is about ergonomics in the workplace, and we will show you how to select the correct work chair and how to create a healthy and productive work environment.
1. How to adjust your chair
Start by moving the chair away from the desk. This is extremely important as you must first setup your chair according to your body shape and size.
- Sit back in the chair with your back comfortably positioned against the chair backrest.
- Check the gap between the inside of your knees and the front edge of the seat. It should be about three fingers wide.
- If you are taller than average, the gap will probably be more than three fingers wide, in which case you should consider buying a chair where the seat depth can be adjusted. Increase the depth of the seat by adjusting the seat slider forward to extend the seat depth.
- If you are shorter and the gap is less than three fingers wide, adjust the seat slider backwards to shorten or reduce the depth of the seat.
- Now adjust the height of the chair. The correct chair height is when both your feet (with shoes on), are flat on the floor and your knees are slightly lower than the level of your hips. By sitting with your knees below the level of your hips, you reduce the rotation of the pelvis and therefore the pressure in the lumbar discs. What actually happens when you sit?
- Adjust the height of the armrests so that when your forearms rest on the arm pads, your elbows are bent at approximately 90 degrees. Your shoulders should be relaxed and comfortable, in other words you should not have to lift your shoulders, which means your armrests are too high, or let them drop downwards, meaning your armrests are too low.
- Adjust the width of the armrests to suit your body shape. Ideally the arm pads should be positioned so that your upper arms are vertical and not extended too far outwards away from your body. Rotate the arm pads so that your forearms rest comfortably over the full extent of the arm pads.
- To sit comfortably when the backrest is in an unlocked position, adjust the tension of the swivel mechanism so that it suits your body weight. When you relax in the chair, you should easily be able to recline backwards without using excessive force. As you recline, the spring tension should balance your weight.
- Adjust the height of the backrest and or the position of the lumbar support so that it fits snugly in the lumbar region of your back. Ensure that you keep your spine in a natural position. Don’t over or under accentuate the inward curvature of your spine.
- Adjust the headrest into a comfortable position. The purpose of the headrest is to support your head when sitting in a reclined position.
- When you place your head against the headrest, your shoulders are pushed into the backrest of the chair this lifts up your chest and opens up your diaphragm which enables you to breathe better. Improved breathing leads to more oxygen flowing to the brain which improves concentration.
- If you are taller than average, check that the headrest has sufficient vertical adjustment to suit your body height. If not, consider buying a chair without a headrest.
Now, and only now, move the chair towards your desk.
2. How to adjust your desk
As you move the chair towards the desk, the top of the armrests should be in line with the surface of the desk. In other words, just like your forearms were resting comfortably on the arm pads, they should now rest comfortably on the desk with your elbows bent at about 90 degrees.
- If your elbows are at an angle much greater than 90 degrees, the desk is too low, and you will automatically hunch forward resulting in shoulder and neck pain. RAISE the height of the desk. DO NOT LOWER THE HEIGHT OF THE CHAIR, because if you do, you will then sit with your knees above the level of your hips which will increase the pressure in the lumbar discs and quickly result in back pain. This is very important.
If the desk is not height adjustable, use blocks of wood, old books or reams of paper to raise the height of the desk. The pros and cons of a height adjustable standing desk.
- If your elbows are bent at an angle much less than 90 degrees, the desk is too high so you will lift your shoulders, resulting in muscular pain in your shoulders and neck. LOWER the height of the desk. If the desk is not height adjustable, then raise the height of the chair. This will result in your feet on longer being flat on the floor, so use a footrest to support your feet. DO NOT let your feet dangle in the air.
- If you need to sit closer to the desk and use the desk to support your forearms, lower the armrests so that they are under the desk when you work.
Alternatively, if the armrests are multi-adjustable, slide the arm pads backwards to allow you to sit closer to the desk.
3. How to adjust your monitor
Adjust the height and distance of your monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level and about an arm length away. To help adjust the height of the screen, use the monitor arm or stand.
When you are working on a laptop, use a separate mouse and keyboard to enable you to set the screen at the right height. If you use two monitors, position them equally away from you.
4. How to arrange the ancillary items on your desk
The way you arrange your keyboard, monitor, mouse, and other ancillary equipment on your desk, can have a huge impact on your posture and wellbeing. Even with the correct desk and chair setup, you may still experience discomfort in the neck and shoulders. This is often as a result of excessive leaning, twisting or overreaching for items on your desk.
- Sitting comfortably on your chair with your wrists resting on your desk, your hands need to be able to move freely over your keyboard with your mouse right next to it. Make sure that you do not have to reach for either your mouse or keyboard.
- The next thing to consider is the placement of your landline telephone provided of course you still have one! Place your telephone on the opposite side of your mouse, for example if you are right-handed place the phone on your left hand side.
- If you continually work with papers, we suggest using a document holder. This is a simple but very effective device that is placed between you and your monitor. A document holder ensures you to maintain the correct posture without twisting your neck or reaching for your keyboard.
5. Dynamic sitting and reclining in your chair to relax
Release the synchronous or free-float mechanism and tilt fully backwards in the chair. This will increase the angle between your thighs and torso. By changing this angle, you automatically stimulate or activate numerous muscles in your lower back, core and legs. As a result, the blood flowing through these muscles increases and brings oxygen and other nutrients to these muscles and carries away the waste products of muscle metabolism. By doing so, muscle fatigue and its associated pain is reduced, particularly in the lower back. This is known as Dynamic Sitting.