What Makes a Chair Ergonomic?

by Professor Ergo on January 10, 2009

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What makes a chair ergonomic? Its pretty simple!Lots of office chairs look nice but not all are ergonomic and if you want to work in comfort, it pays to select a chair that can be adjusted both to fit your body and the way you work. But what makes a chair ergonomic?

All chairs should have these minimum requirements in order to be considered an ergonomic chair:

– Seat Height Adjustment – You should be able to adjust your seat height so that your knees are a little lower than your hips and your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor.

– Seat Pan Depth Adjustment – seat slide – This allows you to adjust the depth of your seat so that you have 1-4 inches between the front edge of your seat and the back of your knee to allow for both leg support and blood floor.

– Back Rest Height Adjustment – The ability to adjust your chair back allows you to position the contours of the back cushion for optimal back support.

– Swivel Base – ability to turn while seated

– Back Angle Adjustment – This allows you to fine tune the back for a comfortable position.  We recommend you change positions throughout the day or leave the back angle unlocked and rock at will.

–  Back Tilt Tension Adjustment – The tension knob lets you adjust the pressure needed to rock back in your chair.

– Arm Support Adjustment – At a minimum, chair arms should be height adjustable.  Optimally the arms are also width adjustable and/or offer a pivot so you can place the arm pads where they support you best while typing.

– Quality Casters – Often over-looked but this is important as your entire body weight is supported by one to two casters when entering and exiting your chair.  Cheaper casters break often.

– Stable Wheel Base – minimum five spoke caster base

– Lumbar Support – The lumbar support needs to be adjustable to place in the correct position.  Sometimes this is accomplished by changing the chair back height.  Ideally the lumbar is independently height adjustable.  On some chairs, the depth and/or pressure of the lumbar support is also adjustable.

– Headrest Adjustment – A headrest is not a requirement for an ergonomic chair, but if you have a headrest, it needs to be adjustable so it will fit you right.

– Intuitive, Easy-To-Use Controls

– Encourages Posture Changes – You’ll be more comfortable over a long work day if you change positions occasionally.  Movement helps increase blood flow and alertness and prevents DVTs. This can be as simple as getting up and taking 5 minute mini-breaks during the day, but rocking or changing your back angle every so often can also help.

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Written by Professor Ergo

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