Choosing an office chair – the 5 factors you must consider
Purchasing an office chair is an extremely important investment for you, your business, and your employees. An office chair should never be as simple as choosing what looks good, or what’s on sale. Yes, aesthetics and price are factors, but if you ignore the other key aspects, you’ll soon regret it.
With an average of 40 hours a week sat in an office chair (that’s approximately 1900 hours a year!), the average office worker in the UK will quickly rack up a large portion of their life sitting down. So, it’s no surprise that the number of employees suffering from posture related injuries has been a huge issue for businesses. This all leads to lost work time, poor health, and - most important of all - lost revenue. To remedy this, we have gathered all of our expert knowledge and 19 years of experience to pick out the 5 factors you must consider when buying an office chair.
The first question you need to ask yourself is how will the chair be used? Before you say it, yes, we know you’ll be sat in it, but why, when, and for how long? By asking these simple questions, you can eliminate many options from your search straight off the bat. Will it be used by telesales staff who will work for 6+ hours at a time? Or maybe only for a few hours a week during a board meeting perhaps? These answers give you an indication of how ergonomic, comfortable and durable your chair needs to be.
Another key aspect of this question is asking who will be using the office chair. For example, if you have a team who tends to shift or ‘hot seat’ throughout the week, then a chair which can be adjusted and customised is hugely important, as it needs to be comfortable for a variety of body shapes and sizes. What’s perfect for someone 5’3” isn’t necessary comfortable for the 6’6” rugby player in the office.
This leads us on to adjustability. Perhaps the most important aspect when it comes to choosing the right office chair: ensuring that you can adjust it to match the user’s individual body shape. Posture is everything, especially when sitting down for long periods at a time. Bad posture, brought on from a bad chair, will always lead to health problems. From leg problems, back strain, carpal tunnel and even spinal issues, the problems can quickly mount. This is not only inopportune for the employee, but can mean high staff absences to put a strain on company resources over time.
Some areas to look for specifically when dealing with adjustability are:
- Chair height
- Seat depth
- Lumbar support
Office chairs, especially those for staff working long hours, need to be as comfortable as possible to minimise health issues and keep motivation and productivity levels high. Ergonomic office chairs are excellent options for those really looking to get the most out of their employees. This ensures minimal strains, increased blood circulation and proper body support.
Employee health is important, but having an office or workspace full of ugly or outdated furniture can cause an eyesore for those having to see them on a daily basis. This is especially true if customers or clients will be in view of your seating regularly. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than spending time and effort in making your brand look professional and modern, then having your old worn-out office chairs let you down at the final hurdle. Choosing seating which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing is the sweet-spot.
Having said that, looks aren’t everything. Comfort is very much key (which you should have gathered from our warnings of spinal issues and carpal tunnel a few paragraphs back). The material an office chair is made from determines both what it can look like, and how it can feel to use. Take a leather, executive style office chair which looks like it belongs at the head of a fancy board room. Yes, it may look good from a distance, but if it starts to give you back ache after half an hour, then it probably isn’t worth the time or money buying it.
Mobility is something which is usually overlooked in office chairs. The key questions you need to consider are things like; do you need to move around easily in your chair? Is office space lacking? Do the chair arms hinder your limited workspace? These sorts of questions will help identify the importance of mobility with your new office chair. Take a tightly packed office space, where desk space is limited. Everyone having wheeled operator chairs with large, fixed arms could cause a lot of headaches as people spend more time clashing into draws, desks and each other while navigating the office. This is where is workplace flooring can be taken into account, as heavily carpeted floors may be hard to move on, whereas a laminated material may be ideal for free and agile movement.
The elephant in the room is always price. A chair can promise to eliminate back problems, be indestructible, and even do your work for you (ok, maybe not the last one), but if it comes with an unrealistic price tag then it is all for nothing. The key to this is to consider making a budget, with some wiggle room for any extras or additional costs from shipping or installation. What’s important is to not take the short road and look for something which will ‘do the job’ for a few weeks, before inevitably falling apart or causing aches and pains. An office chair is not just a generic piece of furniture, and investing in the right one can more than make up for its price through providing an effective working station, reducing injuries, and enduring the day-to-day use in a busy office environment.
Office chairs are an essential piece in every workspace, ensuring that employees are comfortable, happy, and enjoying their work. Ensuring that a chair is truly considered a part of the workspace, and not just a quick mandatory purchase is essential, and investing in the right product can guarantee you’ll be providing your company with the right tools to get the job done, time and time again.
For more guidance on investing in the right office chairs for your workspace, speak to our furniture experts on 01924 88 88 00, or send us a message and find out how we can help you.