Choosing the right office chair

What you need to know:

Choosing a comfortable office chair does not only mean good health for one’s back, but also more concentration on their work.  And because most chairs are a long- term investment, it is highly advisable to choose those that offer comfort with style. 

Before you think of a chair for your office, be it home or work office, your goal should not only focus on having something to sit on as you work. Office chairs can be categorised in various forms; swivel or cantilever chairs.

Swivel chairs normally have wheels at the bottom. One can zip from place to place without having to get up. Key word is remain seated, yet mobile.

The cantilever chairs on the other hand are held erect and aloft by a single leg or legs that are attached to one end of a chair’s seat and bent in an L shape, thus also serving as the chair’s supporting base. They are immobile. These chairs come in two forms. They either come in low back or high back form.

While high back chairs support your back area up to the neck, low back chairs mainly do not exceed the shoulders.

Before buying an office chair 

Environment

The environment in which one’s office is situated may have a big impact on what chairs to choose. This ranges from the material to the colour of the chair.

Places in a dusty environment would be recommended to go for leather chairs rather than fabric chairs. Leather chairs are easy to maintain as compared to fabric chairs. If the place is in an enclosed environment, fabric chairs are a great catch.

Quinto Anyal, a sales executive at Malaysia Furniture, recommends leather office chairs for a home office especially when the house is full of children. Although they are prone to scratches, they can easily be redressed to look brand new. A dusty environment, Anyal says, also determines the colour one should choose for their office.

“Bright colours such as blue, red and peach among others can look dreadful when they are dusty. If it is fabric, it may take much to maintain and more so if the colours are bright. When a place is in an exposed area, it is better to use colours such as black or choose an easy-to-maintain- furnished kind,” he says.

Purpose

Before you buy that office chair, make sure you understand who is going to use it and also determine how long you want to use it in its due condition. While swivel chairs are great for their mobile features, with time, one may need to replace the gas pumps in which one may incur additional costs.

Anyal says most employers prefer cantilever chairs especially those with employees working long hours. Cantilever chairs are also recommended for a boardroom, conference halls, front desk or even guests because there is little chance of distraction due to their immobility.

 If one is looking for a chair that will help them, especially those with back problems, an orthopedic chair, also called an ergonomic chair would be the best choice for them.

“If you have discomfort in the back, the orthopedic chairs provide for the straight sitting posture. While these support the upper body up to the neck, they also have an adjustable back support with the headrests,” Anyal says.

He adds that most of his clients prefer meshed chairs because they have great aeration.  This protects one from the discomfort of moving with a patch of sweat on one’s back due to sitting for a long time in a chair on a hot day.

For reception or even the veranda, linked and lobby chairs are a way to go. While some linked chairs come in metallic form, others are furnished with rubber or fabric.

Where in the building to place the chairs will depend on the furnishing as well. While metal and rubber furnished chairs can stand the test of weather, fabric may not. This makes the fabric kind good for in-house.

Budget

One’s budget may either limit them or let them have the best they can out of office chairs.  Whatever budget, aim at striking a balance between expenditure and employee comfort for better productivity.

Anyal recommends heavy duty chairs because not only are they durable, they are also great for long sitting hours. They also cater for the issue of height. One can easily find low back seats or high back seats in the heavy duty chairs.

While high back chairs cater for height, there are also some that cater for people with back issues. They support the upper body all the way to the neck and also have a lumbar support to support one’s back.

While some chairs may be more expensive than others, some believe the higher the price, the longer the durability.

“You can actually save money by investing in a more expensive office chair that lasts a decade or longer, as compared to buying a $200 (about Shs720, 000) chair you have to replace every few years,” he advises.

Size

Weight

While some employers prefer lightweight chairs for easy mobility for employees, others may want heavy chairs for their own offices. Thick and heavy chairs elevate the ambiance of an office making it look rich and elegant.  “Executive chairs convey authority and command power with their tall, elegant backs, sturdy arms and premium upholstery (traditionally black leather). Short of buying a throne, sitting on an executive chair is a great way of signaling to everyone that you are in charge,” Anyal explains. One should always make sure the chair they have is proportionate to their height. While seated, one’s feet must be flat on the ground to allow easy flow of blood through the body.

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