If you’re working from home these days (more like for the past six months), and the whole sitting-in-front-of-your-laptop-for-hours-on-end thing has been really wearing on you, it’s maybe time for you to invest in an ergonomic chair.
What the heck does “ergonomic” even mean? Glad you asked! “Ergonomic means relating to or designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment,” says Candace Morton, doctor of physical therapy at ProRehab Physical Therapy. When it comes to chairs, that means it has modifiable settings to best fit your posture while performing seated tasks. “Some adjustments can include the height of armrests, tilt of the seat, and modifiable lumbar curvature along with chair height,” Morton explains.
She says finding a chair that properly fits your body is imperative to help decrease the potential for conditions induced by poor posture including sciatica, hip pain, low back pain, neck pain, and cervical headaches. Ouch! So if you’re a person who spends about six to eight hours a day sitting at a desk and are starting to experience any of these signs, you might want to consider swapping your office chair.
What happens if I don’t use one?
According to Morton, bad posture could reduce the natural inward curve of your lumbar spine, which affects it’s shock-absorbing powers while you walk, sit, or do any upright activity. And if your shoulders aren’t hitting the right place in the chair, you might also feel pain in your neck and shoulders.
What should I look for in an ergonomic chair?
Michael Escobar, regional director at Fit For Work, a job safety consulting firm, says support and sturdiness is key, but below are some features he recommends:
- A minimum of five legs for stability
- Seat that supports the lower, middle, and upper back
- Comfortable seat back and seat pan (i.e., the flat part you sit on) padding
- Height adjustability for the seat pan height and seat back
- A breathable chair covering
- Adjustable lumbar support
- Adjustable armrests
- Adjustable back rest angle
- Adjustable seat pan depth
- Adjustable seat pan angle
Escobar also emphasizes that you take frequent micro-breaks and stretch over the course of the workday to maintain your blood flow. So make sure you’re not glued to your chair the whole time, even if it is supportive! And if you want to look into other ways to make your work life more comfortable, Morton recommends other ergonomic accessories like specific keyboards, mice, and standing desks that will help promote the right posture. Now that you’re basically an expert after all this info, here are 10 ergonomic office chairs that will transform your WFH setup.