How much does an office chair really cost you?


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Most people think all office chairs are similar and have the same qualities – you just need your employees to sit down and work, right? Wrong! This is definitely not the case as the incurred cost of an incorrect chair may be much higher than the initial purchase price. So, how much does an office chair really cost you?

Office chairs aren’t all the same – there’s hundreds of ways, both big and small, they can differ; from the the design,  

The higher the quality of the chair, the higher the price point, but do you know how much your office chairs are really costing your business – and if they are ergonomic and promoting staff wellness? What is an ergonomic chair?

Firstly, it’s important to know what ergonomics mean and why it increases productivity levels.

In our Knowledge article; “Work ergonomics – how to make your work area healthy, comfortable and productive”;  we stated:

Ergonomics aims to create safe, comfortable and productive workspaces by bringing human abilities and limitations into the design of a workspace, including the individual’s body size, strength, skill, speed, sensory abilities (vision, hearing), and even attitudes. This translates into creating a workspace that suits your unique body type and measurements. Studies show that a poorly designed workspace drastically increases your risk of developing musculoskeletal complications that affect your quality of life. Your workspace should therefore be comfortable to avoid developing aches and pains that hinder your productivity.”

Absenteeism explained

According to Initial Hygiene South Africa, a leading hygiene services brand, “absenteeism costs the South African economy around R12 -R16 billion per year. This equates to around 15% of employees being absent on any given day. When one looks at it this way, one can understand why absenteeism is possibly the single most expensive problem affecting business both locally and internationally. Some researchers estimate that South African businesses are losing as much as 17% of their payroll every year due to absenteeism.”


Most of your employees are chair-bound for seven to eight hours per day. That’s a lot of hours sitting in a chair! This leads to increased aches and pains and ultimately… absenteeism – every employer’s worst nightmare..

The case of back pain

When comparing traditional seating options to ergonomic chairs, the former almost always fails to give you a maximum amount of comfort. The worst part is that you can’t adjust the lumbar support, which will definitely lead to increased back pain. Rosi Incorporated, an office system provider in the United States says, “annual losses of over $81 billion dollars are being reported just due to pain. That’s a staggering amount considering much of that could be prevented by re-examining your office ergonomics. Using poorly designed office chairs causes stress to the whole body, as you have to constantly compensate for lack of support.” Converted, that’s about R10 billion lost each year!

The common causes of back pain, as The Ergonomic Physio, a team of workplace ergonomic consultants, explain are:

  • A slouched posture – you move towards the front of your chair, slide forward and slouch back into your backrest, due to no or little back support.
  • Leaning forward – When you lean forward, you tend to pull more forward as you want to be closer to your workspace, however over time your muscles fatigue, leading to increased pains and aches.


Why decreased productivity occurs

Being comfortable in the workplace leads to increased productivity levels. If you’re experiencing discomfort, however, it becomes impossible to focus on your job. If you can’t concentrate at work, your productivity levels will decrease substantially.

study by Topaz Furniture suggests: “An adjustable chair combined with ergonomic training can actually lead to a reduction in orthopaedic damage. Further research has found that employee productivity can be increased by as much as 17.5% simply by providing them with the right chair and training.”

Ergonomics, Quality and Style: Is your office chair a hit or miss

So, what can companies do to help?

The answer lies in purchasing ergonomic chairs and business furniture! It’s in furniture and how this affects your staff and your overall bottom line. We suggest looking at more ergonomic seating and focus on the wellbeing of your staff.

How chair differ per industry… and why

Your boss might view purchasing ergonomic chairs as an unnecessary cost, but it’s important to explain the long term benefits and highlight how non ergonomic chairs impacts negatively on a company’s bottom line.

The benefits of ergonomic chairs include:

If you need help with purchasing the right ergonomic chair for your business, read: “How to select the best work chair”.   


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