What is the right HOME OFFICE chair for me?
COVID-19 struck and my boss said, “Congratulations, you can work from home!” Working from home sounds grand, but are you equipped with the right chair? Do you even have an office chair in your home? “No problem”, I said, “I will use the dining room chair, bar stool or the typist chair from the kids’ bedroom!” Days later my lower back is killing me, my shoulders are aching and my backside is numb. I never thought that sitting for the whole day was such hard work. Does this sound familiar? What actually happens when you sit?
COVID has ensured that working from home, either full-time or part-time, is here to stay. 5 Requirements for Hybrid Work. This means that we need to set up our home office accordingly. This is what coronavirus will do to our offices and homes – BBC.
My dad always said that you need the right tool for the job, so two questions come to mind. Firstly, “do you have the right chair for you home office”, and secondly, “What is a good sitting position in your home office?“
The range of office chairs is huge, but how do you choose the right home office chair?
To try and make your choice a little easier, let’s start by looking at the amount of time that you spend sitting on your chair in your home office every day. To simplify it, consider 3 categories, namely:
How many hours per day do you sit in your home office?
Once you have an idea of the time spent seated on your chair, then you can start looking for a suitable chair. Make a note of the actual time spent on your chair over a period of a week….I think the results will astound you! 9 Great ideas for your home office.
1. Sitting less than 2 hours per day
If you sit in your home office for less than 2 hours per day, it probably means that you might be dropping in to check your emails, doing some banking or browsing the web. You are on and off your chair in short spurts throughout the day.
For such an application, you really do not need a “sophisticated” office chair at home. What I mean by “sophisticated”, is a chair with an adjustable back support, height adjustable armrests, and a swivel mechanism that you can lock in a number of angles to suit your personal requirements.
- A solid seat that when you sit down will support you. This should be at a height approximately 25-30cm below the top of your work surface. What is the correct ergonomic height for my desk, computer monitor and home office chair?
- Even having a backrest is not an essential item as your core should be able to support you for your short seated periods.
Popular home office chairs for sitting less than 2 hours per day
2. Sitting 2 - 5 hours per day in your home office
Now things are starting to get more serious and you could well end up sitting for longer than an hour at a time. I must point out at this stage, that if you are sitting for periods longer than an hour, it is advisable to change your position after 45 minutes. Stand up, walk around and take in some fresh air! This forces you to use different muscle groups which in turn gives your “seated” muscles a chance to revitalise by stimulating the blood flowing through them. The ultimate ‘how to’ video guide of exercises and stretches for workers at home and in the office.
The chair you need for this situation is quite different to the one that you would use for sitting less than 2 hours per day.
- A chair with a backrest and a seat so that when you sit down your back touches the backrest of the chair. You must be sitting in an upright position with your shoulders back. The Perfect Home Office Setup.
- Height adjustability. You must be able to raise or lower your chair to a position where your elbows are more or less the same height as your desk. What is the correct ergonomic height for my desk, computer monitor and office chair?
- Armrests. Ideally these should be height adjustable so that you can raise the armrests to a position where they support your elbows and take the pressure off your shoulders. What are the best armrests for my office chair?
Popular home office chairs for sitting 2-5 hours per day
NOTE: If during this 5 hour period you sit for multiple periods that are longer than an hour at a time, I would suggest you consider a 5 hour + chair below.
3. Sitting in your home office for more than 5 hours per day
Sitting for periods that accumulate to more than 5 hours per day requires a chair that will offer you the best support. A chair that is highly adjustable so that it can be set up to match your body is essential. Why a fully adjustable office chair is important. Not only do you need to consider your chair but you also need to consider your workstation as a whole. Sitting correctly in your chair becomes null and void when you need to be a contortionist to access or view the required material on your work surface! Best practices for ergonomics in the workplace.
- An adjustable backrest. You must be able to position the backrest to where it offers the greatest support for your lower back (lumbar) area. A good quality mesh back chair will have an adjustable lumbar support built into the backrest. Modern mesh office chairs.
- Height adjustability. You must be able to raise or lower your chair to a position where your elbows, when placed at your side, are more or less at the same height as your desk. What is the correct ergonomic height for my desk, computer monitor and office chair?
- Height Adjustable Armrests. After you have set your chair to the correct height, adjust the armrests to a point where your elbows are resting on the armrests and your forearms are in line with the top of the desk. You should automatically feel less tension in your neck and shoulders.
- A synchronous or free-float mechanism which allows you to tilt backwards and to lock the chair in a tilted position. This opens up the angle between your torso and thighs which improves blood circulation in your lower back and core. What is the difference between office chair mechanisms?
- The chair must be fitted with a 5-star base with wheels or castors. This allows you to easily move in and out of the working area in your home office.
- A headrest. Not as critical, but it does come in handy when you are taking a break and want to rest your head. Also a good guide to let you know whether you are leaning forward. By sitting upright and feeling the headrest with your head, you know you are sitting up straight and are aligned with your spine. Your spine must support your head…..not the muscles in your neck and shoulders as they do when you slouch. How to adjust your chair for the correct sitting posture.
Popular home office chairs for sitting 5 or more hours per day
The longer you are sitting in your home office, the more important it is to have a chair that can be adjusted to your body. The more adjustable features a chair has, the higher it’s price. Can you justify the price? If the chair, together with your skeleton is not supporting you, then what is? If your muscles and ligaments are the primary support, then you are putting extra strain on your body. While this may not have a negative impact in the short term, in the long term it may lead to health-related issues and medical bills. Chances are that these will be more costly than a decent chair! Can I buy Karo office furniture online and avoid the retailer?
Lastly, the chair in your home office cannot be seen in isolation. You need to have a look at the total layout of your work surface, remembering that when you are seated, you do not want to be stretching or leaning for anything. 9 Tips to correctly set up your study chair and desk in your home office. What you require must be at your fingertips, up close and personal. What are the health benefits of a document holder?