A chair may not, at first glance, seem to be the most important piece of office furniture in a room. However, many people spend long periods of time each day seated in front of a computer in their workplace or home office.
Choosing an office chair that supports better posture, provides ventilation, and allows for adjustments as the user moves through a variety of positions becomes integral to ensuring that the chair remains a helpmate and is comfortable. A few of the styles and attributes of popular office chairs will be explained and evaluated, and the decision-making chart at the end of this article can help you find the right office chair for your needs.
Computer Chairs Shine
In the early days of computing, most people just utilized whatever chair was nearest and handiest. As computerization has evolved into the element that underpins so much of work and life in the digital age, sitting in an appropriate chair during all that screen time now means more than ever. Computer chairs come with in a wide scope of choices such as:
Height: High-back allows for back support. Mid-back permits a bit more range of motion.
Upholstery: Leather-like, breathable mesh, mahogany, nylon, and fabric options abound, some with many layers of cushioning for added comfort.
Style: Managerial has armrests and easy mobility. Executive chairs provide slightly more curvature and further cushioning for the back of the legs.
Color: From multiple shades of brown, silver, black, gray, white, and even red, a computer chair can be found to match any office color scheme.
Whether selecting specifically for seat comfort, visual style, or simply how well it moves across carpeting, computer chair choices help determine much about the manner and speed in which office work gets done. With the average person spending so much time in front of a computer each day, having the right comfortable chair now contributes to more than just an aesthetic choice.
Mesh Chairs Mean Modern
As interior design trends skew ever more toward open floor plans and modern, sleek profiles all around, mesh office chairs have enjoyed a heyday of popularity. Their slim, minimalist look lends a bit of edge to any office appearance. The breathable mesh back may provide air ventilation to help keep cool and dry, and may lead to a need for less upkeep and cleaning.
Choosing a mesh office chair entails evaluating a number of factors unique to their particular design. Their flexibility and distinct ergonomics make them appealing options for workers who want something more resistant to wear and tear. Offering flexibility through adjustable back support and reclining capabilities, the mesh office chair is favored by many for its ability to morph throughout the day as best befits the user’s need. Featuring attractive price points compared to leather-like or fabric executive-style chair costs, mesh offers the additional bonus of being among the more fiscally conservative and high-quality seating options on the market.
Sitting in the Big Chair
The phrase “big chair” has long been a euphemism for CEOs and powerful company leaders. Today it takes on a more germane meaning aimed at serving those folks who simply have longer legs or more need for space. Manufacturers have begun to recognize that all bodies are not created with equal proportions, and the office chair industry has responded with a plethora of bigger, taller options.
Sitting in a chair that may not be suited to a given body type can result in discomfort, distraction from work, and general lethargy. In addition to greater weight capacities, options among big and tall office chairs now include features like unique cushioning, increased seat depth, and bonded leather backs for more lanky forms. Longer, lower adjustable armrests provide arm and shoulder support for taller people, and proportional high- and mid-back chairs support the back for those that may have lengthier torsos.
Explore Ergonomic Design
With some organizations operating with full-time ergonomics specialists on staff to regulate the employee comfort-to-productivity ratio, ergonomic computer chairs have been thrust into the limelight and continue to represent the forefront of intelligent office design. Early-boom Silicon Valley companies blazed the trail for the understanding that health and safety considerations for employees were every bit as important as the work being done; the length of time a worker could be expected to do that work was as important as any financial or personal detail.
So, what makes a chair ergonomic? Besides providing support, comfort, and adjusting to the needs of the sitter, an ergonomic chair must allow for dynamic sitting positions to effectively adapt to the movements of the user. Offered in a variety of mesh and fabric renditions, ergonomic office chairs, along with standing desk chairs, lead the trend toward greater comfort in the workplace.
Active Chairs Can Keep Your Body Moving
While some might at first find it a bit counterintuitive to seek out something called a “standing desk chair,” statistics indicate that sitting still for protracted periods of time is not beneficial to the body. Standing desk chairs address the need for a worker to have a place to hover between sitting and standing. These futuristic-looking designs have gained such popularity in recent years and can be height-adjusted to whichever degree of standing a user may need, from a simple lean to a full sit.
Active seating extends beyond the standing desk chair to balance boards and ball chairs as well. As more companies recognize the benefits of remote work for employees, careful thought about designing a healthier workspace becomes more imperative.
Gaming Chairs Help Generate High Scores
While the advent of high-powered handheld technology has meant that video games can easily travel anywhere with their players, a serious gamer can quite often be found at home desiring an equally serious chair. Gaming chairs differ from standard office chairs in that they are specially designed to extend the stamina of a player who may need to recline for an extended period of time. Hallmarks of this design include an especially high, reclining backrest and a thickly padded seat, often encased by a variety of soft fabrics.
Typically equipped with wheels and sometimes uniquely mobile armrests (both to promote the unusual frames of movement common to seated gaming), gaming chairs come in a range of electric colors. Variations exist with rocking capability, some with a “racing” design, while others focus entirely on ergonomics for the authentic skill set associated with gaming. As the gaming industry continues to grow and monetize at astronomical speeds, the right gaming chair becomes an important decision faced by every serious gamer.
Folding Chairs Are Not Just for the Company Picnic Anymore
All folding chairs are not created equally, nor are they now just the province of informal family gatherings. Today, folding chairs can come equipped with helpful armrests, padded seats for long-term sitting, and rolling casters that lend a great deal of versatility to their daily use in the workplace. They can also be stored easily without taking up too much valuable space in both open and traditional office settings.
Traditional folding chairs can be purchased in packs of four and come in an assortment of professional colors that will not detract or distract from any office decor. What has also evolved are the many different materials from which folding chairs are now being constructed. Besides the old, foundational metal, options such as vinyl, resin, and plastic can offer lightweight nesting as well as gentler support when seated for longer periods of time.
If quantity is a concern, folding plastic chairs can be purchased in bulks of up to 40 chairs to a package. If comfort takes center stage, cushioned options come in wood, metal, and acrylic, complete with all manner of linen, vinyl, and leather seat cushion designs.
What’s the Right Chair For You?
Just as no two human bodies can ever be identical, it follows suit that each body requires something different from a piece of furniture that can be expected to see daily usage. The inevitable fact remains that productivity, efficiency and overall comfort are all factors relative to the kind of chair a person chooses for performing any task, be that winning a digital game or composing a spreadsheet.
In this era, society has moved into a more sedentary style than in any preceding generations, with recent research indicating that the health effects from sitting for too long should be balanced with an awareness of how to make seat time more beneficial to the body. Hundreds of intelligent office chair options await any shopper looking to buy. Choosing the right one simply means deciding what elements of a work or play atmosphere are most important for overall wellbeing and maximum function while in that space.
To figure out the right chair for your needs, work your way through the decision-making chart below. You may be surprised at the style you end up with.
About the Author
Dana Miller is a freelance writer with focal interests in music journalism, Eastern medicine, and STEM subjects.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
The information does not constitute a medical consultation and cannot replace medical advice. Any information should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care provider. There are many possible causes for physical discomfort. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms or symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with your job or personal activities, consider seeking medical assistance.
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