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The Lowdown on Office Chair Ergonomics | Hurdleys

THE LOWDOWN ON OFFICE CHAIR ERGONOMICS

Most of us tend not to consider our posture, when working in an office environment and sitting for long periods of time. But the importance to your overall health of a good posture on your office chair, should not be underestimated.

The importance of an ergonomic chair

An ergonomic chair is one that is ‘designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment’.

From the choice of chair, through to set-up of the chair, and how you sit in it – it’s quite simply essential to get it right. And you should be comfortable!  Many of us spend a lot of time sitting down working each day in front of a computer, so it is critical that we are comfortable and with the right level of support for your body.

Whilst it may go unnoticed initially, sitting in a chair that is not ergonomically aligned for your body can cause you problems and discomfort. It’s good practice to ensure the ergonomics of a new chair are correct before you start using it, and to check an existing chair every few months making small adjustments where needed.

 

How do I know if my chair is NOT set up properly for me?

In a nutshell, if you’re noticing anything from niggles and mild discomfort through to strong pain and persistent issues in your back or body, it’s time to take a look at your chair set-up. Here are some common chair-related issues to be aware of:

  • Lower back pain: This is typically due to a lack of lumbar support.
  • Knee pain: You may be sitting too low in your office chair.
  • Upper back and neck pain: You may be sitting too far forward.
  • Wrist pain: Look at where the chair arms are sitting, or how far away from your body you’re reaching for your mouse or keyboard.

If you’re noticing notice any of these issues, there’s a good chance you’re either:

·sitting incorrectly in your chair,

·sitting in a chair that has been set-up incorrectly, or

·sitting in a chair that is not a good enough quality to provide you with the support you need and deserve.

 

Ask the Hurdleys team for advice, or, many workplaces have OSH-trained people who can assess your set-up for you and change your chair settings to improve your comfort and support levels.

what are some common bad habits to avoid?

There are other bad seating habits to be aware of – and they creep in to our daily lives very easily. Check yourself and make some small adjustments now you’ll avoid niggles becoming issues down the track. Awareness is key.

Perching

Do you often rest your feet on the base of your office chair, or tuck your feet under you? It’s a common habit, but not a good one –this position restricts blood flow throughout your legs; you probably don’t need us to tell you that’s not a great idea.

Lack of circulation on any part of our body over a prolonged period is not going to be good for us. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground (make sure your chair is at the right height to allow you to do this), and you’ll notice a boost in comfort.

The perching movement can also pull your spine away from the back of the chair which we don’t want to do.

Really need to have your feet resting on something while you work?  Look at buying yourself a footrest good option for you – (and, as luck would have it, Hurdleys sells some great footrests!)

Hunching forward

When we’re deeply engrossed in our work, it’s all too easy to lean right forward, with our spine far away from the back of the chair. This will almost certainly cause back and neck issues over the long term. For optimal support, make sure your back stays in contact with the chair. You may have to adjust your chair back position to get this feeling right, but it’s really important.

If you’re not hunching forward and still find yourself fighting back pain, it’s time to look at your overall seating position, or it could be that your chair is not ergnonomic enough and you need one with adjustable lumbar support.

Where’s your computer screen?

When you’re sitting in your chair, do your look down (or up) at the computer screen? If so, there’s a simple fix – your chair height (or monitor height) needs to be adjusted. You want your feet on the floor and your eyes looking straight ahead at your monitor – this will keep your neck aligned and your spine supported – ahh the serenity.

If raising or lowering your chair means your feet are too low on the ground or high off the ground, then lower or raise the monitor height instead. You may need to play around a little bit to get things just right, but your body will thank you for it long-term.

If you don’t have an adjustable monitor, there are options: take a look at Hurdleys range of adjustable monitor arms or check out the very cool Deskalators, (like a desk-top standing desk). In the short term a stack of books or a cardboard box can help. 

When was your last break?

Let’s be real – sitting all day in an office chair is never going to be great for our posture or our energy levels. Take regular breaks, 5 minutes every hour is perfect (you can set a timer on your phone to remind you if it helps). Simply stand up from your chair, do a small stretch, have a walk around, refill your water jug, whatever it takes. Get some sunshine if you can too.

You’ll return to your chair with more energy and your body (and mood) will thank you for it.

 

Can I improve the ergonomics of my chair myself?

It’s always a good idea to get a trained professional to take a look if you’re not sure – but you can certainly check a few things yourself, including:

Seat height adjustment:

  • Your arms should be in line with your desk and feet should sit flat and comfortable on the floor.
  • If your feet are not in this position and you are unable to adjust the height of your desk, look at getting yourself a footrest.

Back support adjustment

The back of your chair should be adjustable to provide optimal support to the lumbar region of your spine.

  • Generally, this should match the contour of your back and support your spine as you move throughout the day.

Seat width and depth

  • An ergonomic chair will have a seat slider; this adjustment will determine how much support your legs receive.
  • If your seat is too far forward, the knees will be subject to excess pressure.

Aside from the aspects mentioned in detail, several other ergonomic elements of a chair need to be adjusted to your requirements to optimise your seat posture.

 

Hurdleys Office Furniture, your friendly ergonomic experts :)

Healthy workers are happy workers and at Hurdleys, we are proud to support workforces all around New Zealand.

With four decades of experience in the office furniture industry, we’re proud to call ourselves ergonomic experts! We have many sizes, colours, materials available, with or without armrests and headrests, along with accessories such as footrests available too.

We’ll help you are sure to find the best chair for you and your individual needs, or the needs of your team.

Choose the right chair for you

Every day spent sitting on an inadequate chair can be detrimental to the body. Put your health first by choosing to work with the support of an ergonomic office chair.

 

The Hurdleys team are here to help, your ergonomic specialists.

Browse our collection or visit our showroom now.

 

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