Ergonomics – 16 Dec 2022

What you need to know when shopping for an ergonomic chair

There's so many different chairs on the market, it can be hard to identify which one is right for you. Help get clear on what you need with these 10 short videos answering common questions with Andy McRobbie, our New Zealand Sales Manager and Andrew Wilson, Ergonomist and Osteopath.

In this article, we share 10 short ErgoTalks videos answering common questions with Andy McRobbie, our New Zealand Sales Manager and Andrew Wilson, Ergonomist and Osteopath.

What should you look for when shopping for an office chair?

Let’s make this simple. There’s just three things to look for when shopping for an office chair.

  1. Comfy seat
  2. Back support
  3. Easy adjustments

The seat should feel comfy as soon as you sit on it with no pressure points and a rounded front edge that doesn’t interfere with circulation or tendons.

The backrest should have good pressure distribution with support all the way down your back to your pelvis, following the natural contours of your body.

The adjustments should be easy to reach from sitting, clearly marked and intuitive –
simple to understand and learn how to use.

 
What is a seat slider and do you need one?

A seat slider extends the depth of a chair. Most people don’t need a seat slider however if the following apply to you then it’s a great addition.

  1. You’re taller than average
  2. You have longer legs than average
  3. The chair will be used by more than one person. 

If a chair is used by more than one person then a seat slider helps to get the adjustment right for each person who uses it.

 
Does a High Back or a Mid Back make much difference?

High Back chairs are great for extra support if:

  1. You are tall 
  2. You have a long spine
  3. You like to lean back on your chair. For example, in meetings, presentations, or on the phone.

Always make sure the contours of the chair follow the curves of your spine and pelvis.

 
Does a High Back or a Mid Back make much difference?

High Back chairs are great for extra support if:

  1. You are tall 
  2. You have a long spine
  3. You like to lean back on your chair. For example, in meetings, presentations, or on the phone.

Always make sure the contours of the chair follow the curves of your spine and pelvis.

 
Why are Mesh Back chairs popular?

Mesh Back chairs:

  1. Look good in the home or workplace office
  2. They easily mold to the shape of your back without pressure points
  3. They’re breathable, helping you control your body temperature.

A high quality mesh with good tension will give you good lumbar and pelvic support.

 
 3 Lever chairs vs Synchronised chairs – what’s better?

3 Lever chairs are great if you have precise needs, giving you an extensive range of positions and adjustments to get your chair exactly how you want it for your posture and the tasks you’re doing.

The 3 common levers adjust:

  • Height 
  • Seat tilt 
  • Back rest. 

To get the backrest adjustment right: 

  1. Unlock your back rest 
  2. Mimic your working posture 
  3. Find your balance point
  4. Lock it in that position. 

If you have a chair with adjustments, it can cause confusion as to how best to set up your chair. It’s common that people either don’t use their adjustments or they set them up for poor posture. 

Synchronised chairs don’t require adjusting levers. They allow regular natural movements as your body balance changes. They help to stretch your muscles and joints and encourage good circulation, while still maintaining back support. This reduces fatigue, creates more comfort and boosts productivity. 

Buro Dynamic Intelligence™ Technology has made synchronised chairs more user friendly. The technology intuitively adapts to you by responding to your body weight and movements, without all the manual adjustments. 

Andrew’s a big fan, “I consider Buro Dynamic Intelligence™ Technology the most significant seating development in the last 10 years.” 

 
Should I purchase a sit-stand desk and stand all day?

We know that prolonged sitting causes serious health issues, but standing can be tiring and uncomfortable after an hour.  A sit-stand desk allows you to alternate between standing and sitting frequently avoiding the problems of prolonged sitting or standing.

For every hour of sitting, stand for 15-20 mins. Start at this and work towards sitting and standing for equal amounts of time – so sitting for 30 mins then standing for 30 mins.  

Take regular activity breaks. For example, moving away from your chair, walking, stretching, and interacting with others. 

The optimal workplace setup could be a sit-stand desk with a Synchronised chair as well as  a perching stool as a third option. That way you can sit, stand and perch. 

 
What type of chair and posture is best to ease back pain?

A Synchronised chair is best for back pain. A well designed synchronised chair like the Buro Mentor with Buro Dynamic Intelligence™  encourages you to change your posture regularly while providing great postural support. If you’ve got back pain, then your body benefits from regular changes in movement and activity.

Additionally, get an office ergonomic assessment. This will give you professional advice to ensure you’re making the best use of your chair and identify other hazards.

 
Which chairs are best for a range of daily activities?

When doing computer work set yourself up with optimal posture:

  • Place your attention forward
  • Reach your keyboard and mouse
  • Easily see your screen
  • 5 – 10° angle forward tilt at your thighs
  • 5 – 10° angle backward tilt of your trunk so you’re supported by your back rest
  • An angle of around 110° between thighs and trunk.

When in presentations, meetings or long calls give your postural muscles a break:

  • Lean into your back rest
  • Open your thigh and truck angle
  • Allow more breath flow.

You want your chair to follow and support you as you transition between these activities. A Synchronised chair with Buro Dynamic Intelligence™ will be able to follow you through the tasks.

When using your iPad or phone, put your device on a raised surface so it’s closer to your eye level to reduce neck strain.

 
Should I buy the cheapest office chair?

It’s difficult to sustain the effort required to maintain good posture for 8 hours a day. So it’s important to get the right chair that suits you, supports good posture and improves work efficiency.

At the most basic level a chair must be:

  • Comfortable
  • Adjustable
  • Support your joints in the right posture without pressure points during prolonged seating.

Ideally a chair is:

  • Intuitive to adjust
  • You can reach the adjustments easily while sitting
  • The adjustments are clearly marked
  • It has a 10-year guarantee.

As Andrew says, “Your health is too important to sit on any old cheap chair.”

 

To find an ergonomic chair that’s right for you, visit our where to buy page and purchase through a stockist near you.

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