Invest in the best office chair in your budget, especially if you will be spending a lot of time in it. It is not just about comfort, but also about your health and longevity. As they say, sitting is the new smoking, so you need to minimise the ill effects of sitting long hours simply by investing in the right ergonomic chair. A good ergonomic chair makes it easier for you to do your work while supporting your back and neck, and not adversely impacting your health.
What features to look for in an ergonomic chair?
Adjustable Height: You should be able to adjust the seating height of your office chair to your own comfortable seating height with a gaslift underneath the seat. For optimal comfort, you should be seated so that your thighs are horizontal to the floor. Look for a pneumatic adjustment lever to let you bring the seat higher up or lower.
Tilting Backrest: You should be able to tilt backwards your backrest in a way that suits your work.. A locking mechanism helps in holding the back in place in upright or in multiple tilt positions depending on the mechanism. Some premium chairs also come with backrests which can be adjusted in height. If your budget allows, you can look for this feature.
Lumbar Support: A curved backrest on your office chair will give your back the comfort and support it needs. Ergonomic chairs have to be shaped to match the natural contour of the spine. Most good office chairs will offer good lumbar support. Premium chairs will have adjustable lumbar support which is a good option to look for. The lower back should be supported in a way that it is slightly arched all the time so that you don’t slump as the day progresses. Good lumbar support is required to minimize strain on the lumbar discs in your spine.
Sufficient Seat Depth and Width: The seat should be wide and deep enough to let you sit comfortably. Look for a deeper seat if you are tall. Some premium chairs come with adjustable seating depth. Ideally, you should be able to sit with your back against the backrest and have approximately 2-3 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of the office chair.
Breathable Material and Sufficient Padding: A material that allows ventilation of air is more comfortable when sitting on your chair for long hours. Fabric is a good option, but many new materials offer this feature as well. The padding should be comfortable to sit on and it is best to avoid a seat that is too soft or too hard. A hard surface will be painful after a couple of hours, and a soft one will not offer enough support.
Adjustable Armrests: Get an office chair with armrests to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders. The armrests should be adjustable as well, to let you position them in a way that lets your arms rest comfortably while making you less likely to slouch.
Adjustable Headrest: A headrest is preferable but not a must. Usually it is adjustable to suit your body type. The headrest provides support to your neck and helps avoid neck pain when working for long hours.
Easy to Operate Adjustment Controls: Make sure all adjustment controls on your office chair can be reached from a seated position, and you do not have to strain to get to them. You should be able to tilt, go higher or lower, or swivel from a seated position. It is easier to get the height and tilt just right if you are already sitting. You will become so used to adjusting your chair that you will not have to make a conscious effort to do so.
Swivel and Casters: The ability to move around in your chair adds to its usefulness. You should be easily able to rotate your chair so that you can reach different spots in your work area for maximum efficiency. Casters give you easy mobility, but make sure to get the right ones for your floor. Choose a chair with casters designed for your floor, whether it is a carpet, hard surface or a combination. If you have one that isn't designed for your floor, it may be a good idea to invest in a chair mat.
Apart from the above features that you can look for in an ergonomic chair, please note that the best practice to avoid back pain and neck pain is to take frequent breaks in betweek work, and not be constantly seated on the chair. Ensure that you get up and move around every one hour at the least, and stretch your arms, legs, neck and back.This will go a long way in improving your health and lifestyle.