This post starts a series I’ll be writing about home office ergonomics. Today we’ll start with the humble office chair.
Pictured above is my office chair – Herman Miller Aeron. It’s the second one I’ve had in about 12 years and I love it! I’m a tall guy, so having a “Large” option is a necessity. I also like the mesh design so it never gets hot in the summer months. But it’s not cheap, so it might not be the correct solution for you. And that’s fine. This series isn’t meant to convince you to spend large sums of money to tailor your home office to support your needs.
So let’s jump in by talking about important considerations when purchasing or identifying a chair for your home office. They include:
Base: You want a base that allows for sturdy movement within your work area. Typically this would be a five-point base with castor wheels. If your only option is a dining room chair, make sure the base will support movement so that it won’t topple over when reaching for something on your desk.
Seat: It should be padded, not have sharp edges that cut into your legs, wide enough to fit your posterior, and be vertically adjustable so that your knees are at a 90 degree angle when your feet are flat on the floor.
Backrest: The backrest should be padded and provide adjustable lumbar support. If your chair doesn’t have lumbar support, use a small pillow or rolled up towel as an alternative. The lumbar support should be positioned slightly below your belt line.
Armrests: They should be vertically adjustable to provide support for your arms while also allowing your shoulders to be level and relaxed. Armrests need to be located close to the body so you don’t have to splay your arms to use them. I prefer my armrests to be on the same horizontal plane as my office desk.
Headrest: It’s not required, but I’ve become a big fan over the years. The headrest on my chair (see above) is an aftermarket addition. It allows for vertical and horizontal adjustment. I’ll often adjust it multiple times in a day to suit my fancy.
Chair Mat. The chair mat should be large enough that it allows you to move within your work area without rolling off. Also, make sure it’s appropriate for your flooring (thick, medium, low pile carpet; hardwood; etc.).
Don’t Forget to Stand Up! The average office worker spends too much time sitting. Make sure to get up and move around every hour while working. Get that blood flowing; perform some light stretches. Your body will love you for it.