The variety of modern office chairs available in South Africa is huge. Most office furniture retailers offer ranges that include breathable mesh back chairs as well as fully upholstered ones. Some sellers claim that their chairs are the most comfortable for your home or office, while others state that theirs offer unbridled luxury. Without exception, all sellers state that their chairs provide the best support for your back. Obviously, these statements cannot all be true. So….what are the advantages and disadvantages of modern mesh office chairs and do they give you the best back support?
The universal rule of seating:
“The comfort of any chair is subjective and depends on the user. When it comes to office chairs, there is no, and never will be, a one size fits all.”
The modern office chair
Modern office chairs, whether executive, task or visitors, increasingly feature a mesh backrest. Mesh back chairs first appeared in October 1994 with the release of the Herman Miller Aeron chair. Ironically, this chair was originally intended for use by the elderly in their homes, and not for the office. The secret history of the Aeron chair. Nevertheless, breathable mesh back chairs thrived from then on, and today most office chairs are of this type.
1. Advantages of modern mesh office chairs
a. Improved ergonomic support for your back
A traditional office chair has plywood or plastic shell that is covered in foam and upholstered with fabric, vinyl or leather. The support provided by these chairs depends on the contoured shape of the shell and foam. Because the contoured shape of the backrest is not adjustable, these chairs will only suit a specific group or range of users.
Modern mesh office chairs “mould” themselves into the shape of your back, which makes them more supportive and comfortable than an upholstered chair. By doing so, they can help to improve posture and reduce aches and pains associated with musculoskeletal disorders. The consequences of sitting on the wrong chair.
In addition to moulding themselves to suit the shape of your back, these ‘breathable’ office chairs typically have an adjustable lumbar support. The greater adjustability of mesh chairs ensures that they can be set up to provide better back support for a broader range of users.
For greater luxury and comfort, most mesh office chairs have an upholstered seat that provides ergonomic support for your thighs and buttocks.
Traditional upholstered office chairs act as insulators trapping heat between your body and the chair. This can result in uncomfortable sweating, especially in a hot climate. Mesh office chairs use a breathable membrane that keeps you cool, comfortable and dry.
c. Stylish and modern
Mesh office chairs are modern and stylish. Manufacturers have focused their designs on creating chairs that have tremendous aesthetic appeal for both home and office use. While many of the original mesh office chairs were fairly bland, modern versions like the Alya, are state-of-the-art in their design.
d. Easy to clean
Spillages and general maintenance are easily handled in the case of mesh chairs. Most wipe down quickly and easily with a damp cloth, making expensive shampoos and treatments a thing of the past.
Modern, good quality mesh chairs retain their shape well and are extremely durable. They are usually more resistant to wear and tear than fabric upholstered office chairs.
f. Modern office chairs offer greater value for money
Mesh is more cost efficient than fabric or leather upholstery. Because it is usually more durable than fabric upholstery, modern office chairs offer greater value for money.
g. Environmentally friendly
Mesh chairs are environmentally friendly as they are manufactured using significantly less material, and in most cases, these materials are easily separated and recycled. Because the foam and fabric in traditional upholstered office chairs is glued to the plywood or plastic shells, the materials are more difficult to separate and recycle.
2. Disadvantages of modern mesh office chairs
a. Less choice in design
As the popularity of mesh office chairs grows, there are a limited number of colour options available, typically black or grey. Although some manufactures offer a series of bright colours, they are often more expensive and may not fit in with your home or office décor.
b. Sagging of poor quality mesh
As with most products, quality does not come cheap. Poor quality mesh is prone to sagging, which not only makes the chairs less comfortable, but also reduces their aesthetics in your home or office.
Modern mesh office chairs offer greater luxury and comfort compared to their traditional counterparts. Because the breathable mesh moulds itself to your back, it provides greater ergonomic comfort and support for your back. Add the adjustability, aesthetic, environmental and value for money benefits, and these chairs become the obvious seating solution for your home or office. Remember however, that the comfort and support of any office chair is subjective and depends on the user. There is no one size fits all.