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I have a bad back… is it my office chair?

Oct 9, 2018

Our first response to that would be to answer your question with a question; is it an ergonomic office chair? 

But that might make us sound a bit nerdy, and we’re not osteopaths or chiropractors anyway. However, the chicken-and-egg relationship between bad backs and office chairs isn’t something to be overlooked if one does struggle with back pain. And investigating ergonomic office chairs is a good idea.

What makes ergonomic office chairs different?

Ergonomic office chairs are specifically designed to improve posture and reduce the risk of back problems. But how?

First off, ergonomic chair designers fully acknowledge that one size never fits all. Weight, shape, arm length, leg length, torso length… all these factors affect how well a chair will ‘work’ for someone. And if an employee isn’t comfortable, they are likely to be inefficient and less productive; so it pays to think about office chairs for your staff carefully. Ergonomically designed office chairs are therefore built to be adjustable in many ways to ensure that, regardless of weight, shape, and leg length etc., an individual can sit and work comfortably.

However, there’s more to it than that. Ergonomic chair designers also recognise different work roles require different types of adjustment. If someone is up and down, and in and out of their office chair all day, that’s a different work style to someone who literally sits and types from nine to five. If someone else sits talking on the phone, regularly swivelling from one shelf to another to grab information, they will have a different office chair requirement to someone who just sits in meetings every morning.

So what exactly should one be able to adjust in an ergonomic office chair?

Key features of ergonomic office chairs

  • The height of the seat should be adjustable
  • The width and depth of the seat should be proportioned to support properly
  • The padding of the seat and the back should be enough to maintain comfort over extended periods of time
  • The back should include lumbar support for the lower spine
  • The backrest should be adjustable vertically and in a backwards/forwards direction
  • The arm rests should be adjustable
  • The chair should swivel (though this may not be required for certain job roles)
  • The base should be splayed in a five star shape for good stability
  • Perhaps it’s time to give those bad backs the support they need?

So, bearing in mind there are office chairs out there that have been specifically designed to provide the necessary support for a bad back, it makes sense to use them. The other thing to remember is that they’ve been ergonomically designed to help prevent problems too. So even if your staff aren’t complaining (yet) prevention is better than cure.

At CamHam, we offer a great selection of ergonomic office chairs; we know they make a difference to the effectiveness of a workforce. If you’d like to find out more, please do just give us a ring. It’s one of our favourite topics…

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