Ergonomically designed workspaces are crucial to the health and productivity of office workers. This means that office furniture is a significant investment, especially for medium to large organisations with large numbers of desk-bound employees. Choosing the right office furniture upfront can save you a lot of time, money and headaches in the long term.

The last thing you need is to be replacing 100 chairs every year, due to heavy wear and tear.

If you’re concerned that you’re replacing your office chairs very regularly, read on – we’re going to unpack the life cycle of a chair and teach you how to make your office chairs last longer.

How often should you replace your office chairs?

This really depends on the chair (and how well it’s looked after). A chair can last you anywhere from six months to ten years or more. The goal is to get as close to the ten year mark as possible, ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your investment.

Three things that impact the lifespan of a chair:

1) Inferior quality components

The number one culprit of shortening the lifespan of your office chairs is poor quality materials used when manufacturing them. Cheap materials can cut

your chair’s life expectancy down to as little as six months. Chairs that constantly need to be replaced are not only bad for your budget, health and productivity, but they’re detrimental to the environment as well.

To avoid falling into the ‘disposable chair’ trap, make sure you buy your office chairs from a reputable supplier. Well established, quality chair manufacturers use SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) approved materials which are environmentally friendly and tested for strength and durability.

A good chair manufacturer uses moulded, automotive quality foam to ensure maximum comfort and durability. They also put their fabric through rigorous abrasion (or rub) testing to ensure that the fabric can withstand years of wear and tear. Below is an example of how the Martindale Abrasion Testing works:

Warranty and repairs

Another major benefit of buying your chairs from a reputable supplier is that your chairs come with a warranty. Yes, just like cars, your chairs need to be serviced occasionally to ensure that they’re in tip-top condition. A manufacturer’s warranty also gives you peace of mind, knowing that if your chair breaks or needs a part replaced, parts are readily available (and will be replaced at no cost).

Cheap suppliers, on the other hand, can’t guarantee product continuity, which means that if you do need to replace a chair, you may have to replace it with an entirely new product. This can interfere with the general appearance of your office space, with a scattering of chairs in all shapes, colours and sizes

2) Fit for purpose

Using the wrong type of chair for the job also decreases its lifespan.

Let’s use the car analogy again. A BMW 7 Series Sedan is a beautiful, luxury vehicle. However, if you take it off-road to a 4X4 track, it’s going to be in trouble because it wasn’t designed for that purpose. You can’t accurately judge the quality of the car based on its performance in an inappropriate environment.

The same applies to your office chair – you can purchase the most expensive chair on the market, but if you’re using it inappropriately, it’s going to wear out much faster than it would in the right environment.

To ensure that you’re buying a chair that’s fit for purpose, we recommend you perform a needs analysis to tick all the important boxes. If you’re not sure how to perform a needs analysis yourself, contact us. Our team of experts are happy to help you find the perfect chair.

3) The user’s habits and sense of ownership

Finally, the user’s habits can also affect the lifespan of a chair. For example, a person who regularly swings on their chair will experience wear and tear more rapidly than someone who sits properly. Chairs that are in high-traffic, public areas will also experience rapid wear and tear.

Generally speaking, staff members who like their chair (and feel a sense of ownership over it) are more likely to take good care of it. Chairs that look attractive and are comfortable to sit in for long periods are far more likely to be well looked after, and therefore have a much longer lifespan.