In a study by Staples Inc., the office supply retailer, about 86% of office workers say their furniture causes discomfort, and more than half say that if they could make one change, it would be a better chair.
In a story from the Wall Street Journal, Mike Williams, product executive manager at a food-service company in Michigan, got a chair called “Think” by Steelcase Inc. this chair has become equally popular with his co-workers. In fact, one clleague in his group borrows the office chair whenever Williams is out of town. At meetings, when it’s Williams turn to stand and present, there is a fight over who gets to sit in his chair.
Fitting into the right chair
The office chair evokes stronger physical and emotional attachments than most other pieces of office furniture. Most office workers spend more time in it than any other piece of furniture. In fact, some people spend more time in their office chair than their own bed at home. Companies know a good chair goes far beyond good looks. Chairs are equipped with lots of features and backed by ergonomic research.
According to Humantec, an ergonomics consulting firm, a perfectly fitting chair has your back supported and your feet are planted on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle,. The chair height should adjust so your computer monitor is just below eye level and your wrists are straight when extended to the keyboard or mouse. Yet most employers take a one-size-fits-all approach to supplying chairs, then make things worse by failing to train people how to adjust them to fit.
Should you invest money into chairs?
Companies know the chair can be a big issue. About 10% to 15% of the office-furniture budget is typically spent on chairs, says Bryant Rice, a North American practice leader with DEGW, a workplace strategy consulting firm in New York.
The value of a chair goes much further than just aesthetic. Many studies have linked the value of a chair to health. A good ergonomic chair can help your back while you sit at your desk, even keep your legs, shoulders, and neck comfortable while you work.
One study says that improving the ergonomics of office chairs and other equipment increases productivity by an average 17%, (a review of 40 studies of office workers published in 2008 in the Journal of Safety Research). Workers tended to have fewer muscular-skeletal disorders, and a lower rate of absences and errors, the studies found.
I am not a chair expert but having sat in good chairs and bad chairs, I know the difference by how my back fees after a few hours of working at a computer. If your employees sit at a desk for extended periods of time, an office chair may be a perk they talk about daily. Sitting at a desk for 5 hours a day translates to 1,200 hours sitting in a chair. To put it in other terms, 1,200 hours is equal to 50 days and nights sitting down. With all this sitting, would the right chair make a difference in your life?