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Guide to Ergonomic Seating


08.03.18
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When it comes to office design, one of the most vital elements which requires careful consideration is the choice of seating. Every year we spend more than 2000 hours sitting at work trying to achieve the greatest results and present ourselves in the best possible light. While the concept of workplace ergonomics is becoming increasingly prominent, many organisations are still unaware of its impact on employees’ mood and productivity levels. At Bureau, we are dedicated to providing innovative furniture solutions which truly influence people’s experience at work and raise awareness of workplace well-being. That's why we decided to put together our top tips for choosing the best ergonomic task chair.


Seat

Ergonomics is all about designing furniture and places to fit those who use them. Choosing a chair seat might seem straightforward at first, however, in order to be convenient for a wide range of users, it needs to meet several criteria. To begin with, adjustable seat height, width and depth are crucial elements of the ergonomic task chair to ensure that it is usable for everyone. One of the most critical components to be taken into consideration is the waterfall seat design which relieves the pressure off the thighs and legs and improves blood circulation. This feature is vital for individuals with a sedentary lifestyle and it could significantly influence users’ everyday seating experience.


Backrest

The second essential feature of an ergonomic chair is the adjustable backrest which should provide firm support to the back in order to maintain a good posture. Throughout the day, we tend to move and change working positions frequently and contrary to expectations, a fixed backrest only makes us slump into the chair. Tilt mechanisms with a free-floating function do not only provide greater flexibility in movements, but they could also reduce neck discomfort. Another recent innovation in task chair design is the weight balance mechanism which responds to individual body weight and offers a premium seating experience. Last but not least, lumbar support mechanisms offer the most comfortable sitting position for a correctly aligned spine and allow the muscles supporting the spine to relax.


Armrests

The next feature to take into consideration are the armrests which should also be adjustable in order to meet users’ needs and preferences. While innovation in this direction has been stagnant for a while, several brands have introduced models with armrests connected to the backrest instead of the conventional seat attachment. This allows our hands to stay with the body during recline which further contributes to the ultimate seating experience. While in the past armrests were not recommended for typists, nowadays they are seen as an integral part of every chair providing an essential postural support.


Mobility

If there is one functionality without which we would most certainly be lost in today’s office environment, that would be the swivel mechanism. It is hard to even imagine how confined we would feel without being able to move around the workspace effortlessly and how limited our daily tasks would be. Even though castors may seem like a small part of the chair, they can make a considerable difference especially with the large variety of flooring types available. Not to mention the long-term damage that plastic castors could do to floor coverings such as hardwood, tile, slate or laminate. To avoid scuffs and scratches, look for either the rollerblade castors or the ones with a rubber shell.


Upholstery

Lastly, selecting the fabric upholstery might seem like the most enjoyable part of the process, but it is also an essential decision which will determine the chair’s lifespan in the office environment. Firstly, the chair covers should have a non-slip surface and should be made from durable fabrics in order to withstand the heavy use. Secondly, the breathability of the covers is key and many organisations have already embraced the mesh fabric allowing air circulation. Finally, the high usability of the office chairs calls for washable covers or easily cleaned fabric materials which should all meet specified ignition resistance levels.


For a more detailed information regarding the features and benefits of ergonomic office seating, please visit the HSE website or refer to the Seating at Work Guide.

If you need help with the choice of the right ergonomic task chair for your office, do not hesitate to contact us and our team would be happy to assist you. If you are considering transforming your workplace, take a look at our case studies to get a better idea of our work. For more news and design trends, sign up for our weekly newsletter.