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How much is your cheap chair costing you? A quick guide to ergonomic office chairs

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right kind of office chairs for your work environment. We’ll take a look at the risks associated with poor posture and what to look out for when choosing the right chair!


Let’s begin with a (very) brief history lesson... 


The history of ergonomic furniture (or, ergonomic tools)

Ergonomics can be defined as any tool, equipment or furniture that makes accomplishing a task easier, safer, and more comfortable. Makes sense, right?


Anthropologists believe the notion of ergonomics began way back in the day when our species was actually developing. An early hominid who inhibited East Africa about three million years ago used tools that were ergonomically shaped in order to complete tasks (like hunting) easier.


Fast forward many (many) centuries to now, past the industrial revolution and through World War II, where we realised that without an ergonomic component, we mightn't be using equipment, tools and furniture to their full potential. Instead, we might be risking poor performance, human error, and injury. WWII was also the time we realised that these changes and improvements could be transferred to civilian applications.


A ergonomic office in the 21st century

The Information Age has been a pivotal part in modernising ergonomics, particularly fusing ergonomics with technology and electronics. This age refers to a time in recent history (from 1970 onwards) where we began adopting various technology into a public sphere and into modern society.

ergonomic office chairs

The risks associated with poor posture and stagnant sitting

The lumbar curve (the three vertebrae between the ribcage and pelvis) is a crucial part of the whole spine, providing support for the rest of the body, as well as movement.


So when you’re sitting, you need to - reciprocally - give it support. That little protruding cushion at the lower part of an ergonomic chair? That’s the lumbar support, and it’s designed to position you so that you can keep your spine in its natural position: that gentle s-shaped bend.


We all know this – every part of your body is dependent on your spine. It provides movement, support, protection, coordination and control for the rest of your body.


So what happens if you're wiling the days away in a poorly constructed office chair? Hunching, bunched up shoulders, and slouching will result is back pain (both lower and upper), neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and leg pain. So basically, a full-body pain-fest.


In reality, good posture is just as important to your health as exercise, nutrition and sleep, as well as avoiding substances like alcohol and tobacco. This might be surprising to some of you, but poor posture will result in both long- and short-term damage, both physically, in terms of the muscle strains mentioned above, and cognitively, like fatigue and poor concentration. 


And for those of you who eat at your desks, too (which we’re willing to bet it’s a LOT of you!), you’ll be displeased to know that you’re more likely to overeat, that that hunched position over your lunch is doing no good for your digestion, and finally, think of the germs. 


On second thought, if you’re a desk lunch-eater, maybe don't think of the germs...


Environmental microbiology profession Charles Gerba says that, in terms of bacteria, your desk is 400 times more dirty than... your toilet. If that doesn't get you up, away from your desk at lunch time, I don't know what will!


Ergomotion’s ergonomic office chairs

Every office is different, just like every human body! Would you buy sunglasses that are too big for your head and keep falling off, or shoes that are too small for your feet? Of course not!


So why would you buy office furniture that isn't customised to your needs? That’s why we manufacture chairs designed for all workplaces, and all individuals. Mesh, leather or fabric are some of the materials we can use, and we’ll create furniture that suits varying body types and weights, as well as personal preferences!


Now what?

1) View our full range of office, conference room, hospitality and restaurant seating here.


2) Get in touch with an ergonomics expert today by filling out our contact form!



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