People are like snow flakes – no two are exactly the same.
Every human body is unique and while your boss may not always recognize that you are indeed human, and comfort at your desk is important to productivity, your body knows – especially your back.
Choosing the right ergonomically designed office chair for your needs is a priority, but you will also need to make sure your new seat is properly adjusted. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your adjustable office chair is set up as good as can be.
Seat Height Adjustment
Seat height is adjustable on almost every office chair. Somewhere under the seat, usually on the right hand side, you will find a lever. To ensure your chair’s seat height is properly adjusted, make sure that your chair is lowered enough for you to place your feet flat and firmly against the floor. Your legs should form a 90° angle. You may need to adjust your chair’s seat height periodically if you wear heels while you are working as this will add height and cause your legs to not form that necessary 90° angle.
An easy way to get a good starting point for seat height is to stand up, facing the chair, and raise or lower the seat until it is just about the same height as your knee caps.
Back Height & Depth Adjustments
Back height adjustment allows positioning of the lumbar support, if the chair has that, to alleviate back stress. If your chair has built-in lumbar support you will want to adjust your chair’s back to have the curved part matching with the curve in your lower back. This takes some trial and error to get it right, but when you get it you will immediately notice the improvement, especially if you suffer from lower back pain. There is usually a knob located on the back rest that can be loosened to move the back bar up or down, and then tightened once you find the best position.
The back rest depth, or its position forward or backward in relation to the seat pad, may also be adjustable. To find the ideal front to back position for your chair’s back rest, sit on the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Check that the clearance between the front edge of the seat and the lower part of the legs is about 2 inches.
Tilt tension adjustment allows the user to control the ease with which the chair reclines. This adjustment usually is made with a knob that is located under the seat. You will want this to have just enough give that you can move, lean, and stretch comfortably. Too loose and you will feel like you are tumbling over backwards at times. Too tight, and you will feel like you are fighting to stay in your chair all day as it pushes you forward.
Most ergonomically designed office chairs that have tilt tension control will have tilt lock control, too. Tilt lock control allows you release the mechanism to recline in the chair, and lock you in place when the lever is pulled up when your chair is in the upright position.
If your chair has arm rests, they are probably adjustable, up and down. The best adjustable office chairs will have additional adjustments including width, pivoting, and forward/backward position. Your arms should not be resting when typing, as that slows the blood flow. However, having the ability to adjust arms up and down can help prevent this.
Sit upright with your arms hanging by your sides. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and adjust the armrests’ height until they barely touch the undersides of your elbows.
Don’t Have Enough Adjustments?
Not every body conforms to a basic office chair, and comfort does improve productivity and well-being. If your chair does not come equipped with these adjustments (except for maybe adjustable armrests) consider shopping for an ergonomically correct office chair.
President at Office Chairs Unlimited – I have been in the furniture industry for 20 years, and I’m an expert (just ask me) on all things furniture. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.