Expert’s Guide to Ergonomic Office Chairs

Working at a desk all day can leave you and your team feeling stiff, strained, and uncomfortable. However, you can remedy dissatisfaction in your physical work environment with a few minor changes around the office. For example, by simply purchasing ergonomic office furniture, you can increase comfort, maximize productivity, and reduce aches and pains for yourself and your staff. This is because ergonomics aims to help bring all your work tools to you, rather than forcing you to reach or stretch to get what you need. 

If you are new to the world of ergonomics and are in the market for ergonomic office chairs in Canada, you have come to the right place. Below, we answer some common questions to support you in selecting the best ergonomic office chairs that are adjustable for each user's unique needs.

Why Buy Ergonomic Office Chairs

Personal health and well-being are priceless, but we often take both for granted until we fall ill, kink our neck, injure our wrist, pull our back, twist our knee, or suffer from migraines. While some injuries are due to sleeping in an awkward position, lifting something heavy, slipping, or experiencing an accident, they can also be due to working long hours at a workstation that is uncomfortable and posture-unfriendly. 

Ergonomic office chairs (paired with an ergonomic workspace) aim to reduce strains and pains that result from repetitive motions, sustained poor posture, as well as distances and angles that stress the eyes and put pressures on the body. In addition to supporting physical health, ergonomic office chairs also contribute to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism, making them an investment that is worth every dollar.

How Ergonomic Office Chairs Support Spine Health

Ergonomic office chairs support spine health using adjustable or fixed lumbar (lower back) supports. Our spines naturally curve in our lower back (lumbar spine), but many standard office chairs do not offer a design that braces and reduces pressure in this area. Sitting for an extended time without adequate lumbar spine support can result in slouching and increased strain and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, making adequate back support a critical factor in ergonomic designs.

How Ergonomic Office Chairs Support Hip and Joint Health

Ergonomic office chairs keep all parts of the body in an ideal alignment. By adjusting various seat settings in an ergonomic chair, you can minimize strain on the hips, knees, elbows, and wrists. In addition, these adjustments help reduce the need to sit incorrectly in a chair, reach, stretch, lean, or increase movements – all of which can put pressure on the joints and muscles.

How Ergonomics Increase Employee Productivity

Employees who feel pain or discomfort at work as a result of their workstation, are more likely to call in sick, get up from their workstation often, and take time away for medical appointments. Staff who are uncomfortable are also less likely to put in extra hours at the office. Additionally, they may suffer mental health challenges and struggle with motivation, simply because sitting down to work is painful!

For these reasons, a small investment in ergonomic office chairs can significantly increase your team's overall health, job satisfaction, and productivity, allowing you to get more done, increase profits, and retain your best employees.
Read our post about how ergonomic office chairs and workspaces increase employee productivity and satisfaction to learn more about this topic.

Key Terms in Ergonomics

Before we cover more about selecting and setting up your ergonomic office chair, there are some key terms you will need to understand. Familiarizing yourself with these terms below will make it easier to identify which adjustable chair features will work best for you and can help you know what to ask for when discussing your needs with a salesperson.

We cover some of the basics below, but you can learn more in our post about the elements of ergonomic chair design.

Understanding Seat Height, Angle, Width, and Depth

Seat height

Adjustable  seat height helps promote comfort and correct posture by allowing the user to raise or lower their chair. Ideally, users should aim to form a 90 degree angle by resting their feet flat on the floor and aligning their thighs parallel to the ground.

Seat angle/tilt

Seat angle and seat angle tilt features allow the user to increase the angle between the upper body and thighs to reduce pressure on the lower spine and improve posture in the pelvis. Ideal seat angle is when the user can sit at a 90-degree angle or more and keep their hips and pelvis in a neutral position.

Seat width and depth

Seat width and depth adjustments allow the user to sit comfortably in their ergonomic chair while reducing pressure at the back of their knees. Proper seat depth allows two to four inches of space between the back of the knees and the front edge of the seat.

Understanding Armrest Height, Distance, and Configurations

When adjusted correctly, armrests can help reduce strain on the upper body and increase comfort. However, it is important to ensure that the armrests are not too high, too low, too close together, or too far apart for the user. Improper armrest settings can detract from the principles of ergonomics and prevent a user from sitting in an optimal position.

In addition to allowing height adjustments, many ergonomic chairs styles also offer options to adjust the width, angle, and length. Others will also enable the armrests to be flipped up and out of the way when needed.

Understanding Lumbar Support and Back Angles

Adequate support for the back is a crucial principle of ergonomic designs. Lumbar support provides an adjustable mechanism to maintain the natural curvature of the lower back.

Back angle adjustment also helps reduce pressure on the spine by opening the angle between the upper body and the thighs.

What to Look for When Selecting an Ergonomic Office Chair

When shopping for an ergonomic office chair, options for customization and adjustment are critical. The principles of ergonomics rely on features that allow each individual to tailor their workstation setup based on various personal factors. Therefore, a lack of features might indicate that an office chair may not be ergonomic for all users.

You will also want to find options produced with high-quality materials built to last. In addition, your final selection should complete the interior design of your office space and align with your personal preferences.

For more tips on selecting a chair design, read our post on how to choose the best ergonomic office chair for you.

How to Adjust an Ergonomic Office Chair to Your Unique Needs

Simply purchasing an ergonomic chair does not automatically make it ergonomic for every individual user. For that reason, you must adjust your chair accordingly and support your team in understanding the principles of ergonomic best practices.

Best practices include setting the height, angles, armrests, and lumbar support in a manner that maximizes comfort and reduces strain on all parts of the body.

To learn more, read our post about how to set up an ergonomic workstation.

Where to Buy Ergonomic Office Chairs in Canada

Are you ready to prioritize your health and the overall well-being of your employees? Do you want to feel better physically and mentally at work? Could a new suite of ergonomic office chairs ultimately improve productivity and your bottom line? If this resonates, you are likely ready to further explore ergonomic office chair options for your team.

At Office Seating, we offer a wide variety of ergonomic office chairs and stylish office furniture that will beautify your space and keep your employees and guests comfortable.

Browse our collection of Ergonomic Chairs or reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you find stylish, high-quality office furniture, including ergonomic office chairs for your space.