If you are the typical nine to fiver, you probably spend the majority of your time sitting. You may take frequent breaks to stretch and walk around, but if you are not sitting in a comfortable office chair, you will probably feel sore at the end of the day. Whether you are working long hours from home or in an executive office, it’s important to have the most comfortable chair to help keep your back intact.
Fortunately the days are long gone when a comfortable office chair was likened to sitting on a throne with a large rigid seat and backrest, upholstered in plush leather.
A comfortable office chair is one that ensures a good posture when sitting at a desk. The consequences of sitting on the wrong chair.
8 Key requirements for a comfortable chair for home or office
1. Seat Height Adjustment
The office chair seat height should be easily adjustable. A gas height adjustment lever is the easiest way to achieve this.
A seat height adjustment range between 41cm and 53cm should work for most people. This allows you to have your feet flat on the ground and your thighs slightly sloping downwards towards your knees. In a perfect world, you should be able to achieve this posture without a footrest. A height adjustable desk may be part of this ideal solution.
2. Seat Width and Depth
The seat on the office chair should have enough width and depth to provide comfortable support. A width of 43cm – 50cm is standard. The depth of the seat (from the front to the back of the seat), should allow you to sit with your back against the backrest while leaving a gap between the back of your knees and the front edge of the seat that is approximately the size of your fist.
To provide greater comfort, office chairs with seat depth adjustment are becoming very popular. Shorter people often perch on the front of the seat, getting no support from the backrest. If you are short, you may need to reduce the seat depth. This will allow you to use the backrest correctly and reduce pressure on the back of your thighs. If you have long legs, seat depth adjustment will allow you to support your thighs correctly.
3. Seat Foam
The comfort of your seat should not be determined the moment you sit down. Sitting on a chair with soft, thick foam might initially feel like heaven on earth, but after sitting all day you may feel quite different!
A comfortable office chair that is used for long hours must have a moulded foam seat. Just like a car seat, this must provide firm support where needed, and not result in excess pressure on the thighs which inhibits blood flow to the lower legs.
For exceptional comfort, a seat made with dual density foam may be the answer.
4. Seat Tilt Adjustment
An adjustable forward and backward tilt of the seat should be a standard feature on any Orthopaedic chair. Typically the tilt is limited to a forward slope of about 50. The purpose of a forward sloping seat is to ensure that your knees are below the level of your hips while you are sitting. Why is this important? Find out What actually happens when you sit.
5. Adjustable Lumbar Support
Lower back support is very important in a comfortable office chair.
The lumbar spine has an inward curve and sitting for extended periods of time without proper lumbar support leads to slouching, resulting in excessive stress in the lower back. A comfortable ergonomic office chair should have a lumbar adjustment so that it correctly supports the inward curve of your lower back. Why do I need a chair with adjustable lumbar support?
The most comfortable executive office chair, especially if you are going to use it for long hours, will have a backrest 30cm – 48cm wide. It should be adjustable in angle and height (if the lumbar adjustment cannot be height adjusted). It should be able to support the natural curve of your spine, again with special attention paid to proper support of the lumbar region.
Both mesh and upholstered backrests are popular, and really it’s a matter of personal choice. Mesh chairs are more modern with their slim design and stylish looks. A good mesh backrest moulds itself to the shape of your back and allows your body to breathe. Upholstered chair backrests are often not as comfortable in a hot climate, especially if you don’t have an air conditioned home office. Do modern mesh back office chairs give you the best back support?
7. Adjustable Armrests
Office chair armrests should be adjustable. They should allow your arms to rest comfortably and your shoulders should be relaxed. Your elbows and lower arms should rest lightly on the pads and your forearms should not be on the armrest when using a keyboard. Armrests can help or hinder – find out why.
A headrest can add to your comfort if you need additional neck and/or head support.
Headrests are particularly helpful for people with neck and shoulder problems, and they allow the muscles in this area to relax, thereby increasing the blood flow.
The most comfortable headrest on an executive office chair can both rotate and adjust vertically.
Headrests are also great when taking a few minutes to lean back to relax, for example while talking to a colleague or on the phone.