What Does It Mean If A Chair Is Ergonomic?
by Flora Liu on Dec 07, 2021
Ergonomic chairs are some of the upper-end office chairs and are also ideal for work from home. They offer several benefits in terms of health, posture, and productivity. These chairs can do a lot for you but will cost you a little more than your conventional office chair.
What's interesting is that an ergonomic chair isn't limited to office usage; these chairs can be used in your homes and nearly anywhere that requires you to be seated for extended periods. People also use them for better comfort. But before you purchase one, you need to learn a bit more about what ergonomic chairs exactly are, what features an ergonomic chair should have and what benefits they carry.
What Does “Ergonomic” Mean?
Ergonomic stems from the Greek words "ergon," meaning function, and "nomos," meaning laws/customs. Ergonomic, in simple terms, applies data, methods, and designs to optimize human performance in a system. It works in combination with anatomy, physiology, engineering, and statistics to manufacture designs that work in accommodating your strengths and abilities.
But What About Work Ergonomics?
Ergonomics have a separate domain for workplaces called "workspace ergonomics," these focus on the ergonomic solutions aimed to help individuals in the workspace bring better results. Poor workplace design can limit a worker's capabilities leading to stress, frustration, fatigue, and a chain of health issues but ergonomic practices can tackle them all. The ergonomic design aims to reduce the "incompatibilities" between work and worker for maximum productivity and optimize human wellbeing.
In the long term, ergonomics can help promote work efficiency, boost workers’ morale, strengthen a company’s loyalty and reduce the chances of injury at the workplace.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the term “ergonomic” generally entails, you can better understand what an ergonomic chair does.
What Is An Ergonomic Chair?
One of the best examples of the practical use of ergonomics in the workplace is an ergonomic chair or an ergonomic drafting chair. Ergonomic chairs aid in one of our biggest and fastest-growing health issues: sitting for extended periods.
Researchers have found that sitting in one place for long periods can affect your health in several ways. Biologically, humans are not sedentary creatures; we are built to walk and move around, not sit on one spot for hours on end. But our lives, no matter how much we deny it, are becoming more and more sedentary.
Most offices require you to work for eight hours a day, five days a week, and most of this time is spent seated at your desks and offices. The same goes for work from home model. Some call sitting the new "smoking," as it can lead to many long term health problems, including:
- Higher rates of heart issues
- Certain cancers
- Increased weight gain
- Poor blood circulation
- A decrease in your life expectancy.
- It will also affect your body's posture; as your body becomes accustomed to sitting for long periods, you will notice changes in your posture.
This is because sitting with poor posture puts a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, and ligaments, leading to quite noticeable changes in your posture when you stand or walk around. Poor posture from staying seated for too long can also lead to shoulder, back, and neck pain.
Ergonomic chairs are built to tackle this very issue. These chairs are built to support the human body and take into consideration your comfort, posture, and health. With these chairs, you can work as effectively and comfortably as possible and sit with a corrected posture. This can reduce the chances of workers feeling unwell due to poor posture-related pains, aches, and fatigue, not showing up to work, or generally being less productive.
What Features Does An Ergonomic Chair Have?
There are certain features that make a chair an ergonomic chair. An ergonomic chair comes with some basic features that help you feel a lot more comfortable when seated.
- Adjustable Seat Height
Most ergonomic chairs come with adjective seat height; while you may find this same feature in conventional office chairs, these can make all the difference. Experts recommend a height of around 16-21 inches off of the floor so that your feet are flat on the floor and your body is in a neutral position. Having a height that falls above or below the required amount may lead to slouching or improper posture.
The correct height should have you seated so your head is parallel to your screen, and your arms are parallel to the floor, so you don't have to slouch or tilt forward.
- Adjustable Seat Width and Depth
Your seat depth will control the stress on your thighs and knees. It is essentially the measurement of the front to the back of your seat cushion, whereas the seat depth is the measurement from your back cushion to the floor.
Ergonomic chairs help you adjust the space between your chair and your knees so you can fix the seat depth accordingly. The depth should be enough so you can sit against the chair and have 3-4 inches between the back of your knees and ergonomic seat cushion.
- Adjustable Headrest
Your ergonomic drafting chair will also include a headrest that may be adjustable. A headrest will help reduce the tension and strain on your upper torso and shoulders. Ideally, your headrest should stand directly behind your head at ear level and should be less than two inches from your head.
Ergonomic chairs with headrests will stop you from hunching or slouching. Instead of providing you the support needed to sit upward, they are also great to lean back into for relaxation or when you are taking a break.
- Adjustable Armrests
Armrests help provide the necessary support to your arms and hands and alleviate the stress on your back, neck, shoulder, and arms. With adjustable armrests, you can ensure that your body is correctly aligned; you can also adjust the width of your armrest to help your muscles settle better.
Essentially, your forearms should be at a 90-degree angle to your shoulders. This will also help ensure the proper blood flow around your arms, so there is minimum strain as you work. This is why an ergonomic desk and chair setup is best for office and work from home.
So, there you go; now you know all about what it means if a chair is ergonomic?