Choosing the best ergonomic chair for your home office in 2022
When you are working from your home office, it is important to have a good ergonomic chair. This is especially true if you are going to be spending a lot of time in that chair. Not only will an ergonomic chair help keep your body healthy, but it can also increase your productivity. In this blog post, we will discuss the different features that make an office chair ergonomic and provide some recommendations for the best ergonomic chairs for home offices in 2022 depending on your priorities. Let’s start!
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Am I now working from home?
Many people have been given the flexibility to either work from home full time or have a hybrid work schedule where some days during the week they could work from home and some days come to the office. Although this change has left people wondering how long this arrangement would last, surveys done by major corporations say that probably it is here to say. Let’s face it, not having to commute and deal with traffic is such a blessing and some people have found they are more productive because they can focus better by not being distracted by their coworkers.
Many of us were not prepared for this type of work arrangement and either purchased an inexpensive chair from Amazon or decided to use a dining chair or work from the sofa and thus slowly but surely the discomfort began.
Why is an ergonomic office chair so important?
An ergonomic office chair is important because it helps you maintain healthy posture and alignment while sitting. It also provides good back support, neck, and shoulders to help prevent pain and fatigue when you are in a sitting position for long periods of time.
“Ok Mom, I’ve heard that 100 times already!”
Right, but what you might not have heard is that when you sit for prolonged periods of time, you are putting tremendous pressure on your lumbar spine disks. Think about it, while sitting your spine is supporting the top half of your body which is a lot of weight, and because the lumbar L1-L5 discs are curved, they are being compressed which without proper support will eventually lead to back pain.
Chairs that don’t offer good back support could cause the user to have poor posture and cause you to slouch or slump which causes the spinal ligaments to overstretch and strain the spinal discs. And that is why having a chair that has good ergonomics is important.
What are the different features of an ergonomic office chair?
A good ergonomic chair will allow you to adjust the seat height and depth (seat slider), lumbar support, adjustable armrests, back tilt, and headrest (optional) to ensure that you are comfortable while sitting for long periods of time.
Let’s break down what each feature does for you:
There are mainly four types of chair mechanisms found in ergonomic chairs, Synchro-Tilt, body balance, multi-function, and basic. The synchro-tilt mechanism is one of the most popular mechanisms and it allows the user’s feet to remain on the floor as they tilt backward and allows you to lock your chair in multiple positions. The body balance mechanism does not let you lock your chair but in exchange, it promotes active seating and gives you the ability to find the perfect tilt naturally without locking your chair in a certain position. You can find this mechanism in all Humanscale chairs. The multi-function mechanism gives you full freedom to adjust the seat tilt and back independently and you can lock your chair in multiple positions. This mechanism is found in specialty chairs for people had had back surgery and already have back problems.
All ergonomic office chairs offer this feature. If you are sitting on a chair that is not height adjustable, then you are sitting on the wrong chair. Make sure that your legs are at a 90-degree angle and that your feet are flat on the floor. If they aren’t, then you need to adjust the seat height.
This is also an important feature to have because you need to make sure there is a 2-3 inch gap between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees. Not having this gap could reduce the blood circulation in your legs which could lead to varicose veins.
Lumbar support is one of the most important features to have in an ergonomic office chair because it fills and gives back support to the curvature of your lumbar region to relieve pressure on your lumbar discs and help you support the weight of your upper body. This feature has a direct connection for you to maintain good posture. A good ergonomic office chair will be designed to have either adjustable lumbar support or be designed with an ergonomic back curvature to support the natural shape of your spine.
Adjustable armrests are also an important feature to have in an ergonomic office chair because they allow you to adjust the position of your arms while sitting. This is important because it helps to reduce strain on your shoulders and neck.
There is a misconception that the headrest is meant to support your neck all the time and it just isn’t so in most chairs. The headrest is used only when you lean back to relax or in some cases take a short nap (yes it’s a thing).
How to properly sit on your office chair
It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive top of the line adjustable chair if you don’t know how to sit properly in it.
- Put your bum all the way to the back of the seat. Not in the middle, not at the end, not almost to the back, all the way to the back!
- Make sure your legs and thighs make a 90-degree angle to ensure your feet are firmly on the ground and you are at the correct height
- Make sure there is a 2″ – 3″ gap from the edge of your sit to the back of your legs.
- Your arms should rest naturally on the armrests when needed. You don’t have to put your elbows/arms on the armrests all the time.
Is Mesh or an upholstered back better in ergonomic office chairs?
There is no magical office chair that fits all body types. This is a matter of personal preference. If you have back problems or have had back surgery, then you might want to consider an ergonomic office chair with an upholstered back because it will provide more support for your back. If you don’t have any back problems, then a mesh ergonomic office chair might be more comfortable for you because it is more cool during those summer days and able to dissipate body heat. This is not to say that a mesh back does not offer good support, the keyword is back vs lumbar. If you have back problems or have had back surgery, look for office chairs that offer good back and lumbar support. If you don’t have back problems then you only need lumbar support for your lower back area.
Is the seat cushion important?
You will find that medium to high-end chairs don’t have a fluffy plush seat cushion and actually are on the semi-hard to the hard side. This is because manufacturers don’t want you to sink in and affect the circulation on your legs. Also, these office chairs are made to last at least 10 years and so as you use them they will become a little softer. If your main priority is a cushy seat then check out the Strata Task Chair by 9to5 Seating.
Finding ergonomic office chairs that offer adequate support is important for those who sit in front of a computer for several hours. These chairs have many adjustable features that allow the user to customize the chair to their needs, in order to reduce the risk of developing back pain or other health issues. some of the most important features to look for when purchasing an ergonomic chair are lumbar support, adjustable seat depth and height, type of mechanism, and adjustable arms. Make sure the cushion is not too soft for you to sink in. Check out our Top 10 Ergonomic Chairs article for recommendations.