Buying yourself or your company employees the best office chair used to be about going to the local office supplies company and choosing it from there. Thanks to the internet though, it’s now even easier to see what’s on offer thanks to myriad websites selling office furniture online. If you’re looking to save time and money this is perhaps the most efficient way to go for chairs and the best desks too.
However, buying an office chair – or lots of them if your company requires it, still needs to be approached in the right way. It’s easy to buy any old office chair, but if you or your employees are going to be sitting on it for long periods of time then it needs to be a good one. While everyone is looking to keep an eye on their budgets these days, it’s still vital to ensure office chairs are up to health and safety standards and fit the bill in terms of comfort too.
During the course of this feature we’re going to take a look at the five essential features of a good office chair. While some of this might seem like basic common sense, it’s surprising how frequently you enter an office and see seating arrangements that often leave a lot to be desired. People want to be comfortable while they work – why shouldn't they? So, read on for the essential features to look out for when you’re shopping for seating and check out our guide on how to buy an office chair…
No matter how good the office chair you’re buying, it’ll be a pretty pointless exercise if the ability to adjust it is limited. Therefore, one of the key things to look out for when buying a new office chair is adjustability. This means a whole raft of adjustment options, which should include the likes of a back tilt, forward tilt, seat tilt and upper back tilt.
On top of that, seat depth adjustment, back height adjustment, a recline lock and lumber adjustment are all good too. Adding to the flexibility of an office chair are obvious inclusions such as seat height adjustment and spring tension adjuster, and also arm rest adjustment.
Another factor that can be overlooked is the depth of an office chair. Buying one that is deep enough to fit the person is vital, although it’s an area that doesn't get much consideration – usually by smaller people not making enough allowances for the larger frame.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re too big for your chair with the result being an effect that makes you seem like you’re falling off the edge of it all the time. Equally, ensure that seats are adjustable enough to consider workers who might be smaller too, so that they don't end up feeling lost in a seat that’s too big for them.
You might think you’ve nailed it when it comes to selecting all of the features mentioned above. However, your office chair will also have to offer mobility, which means it should be easily movable. Many people working even the best desk jobs need to move around quite a lot during the course of the working day.
Therefore, you should buy an office chair with quality castors that can run on a variety of surfaces, from durable office carpets through to hard floors. Lookout too, for the ability to move the office chair full circle, with a smooth central mechanism that can rotate a full 306-degrees without a hitch. The ability to lock this is also a bonus.
While a lot of companies buy their office chairs with durability at the top of the priorities list, there’s nothing like having a little bit of comfort too. That’s even more so if you’re buying an office chair for yourself, so on both counts, see if you can get a chair with a quality but comfortable covering. At the top end of the materials tree there is, of course, leather, which can be really comfortable and durable too, though probably less of a wise decision in offices where seating is frequently shared.
Imitation leather might be an ideal compromise, while cloth can also work. However, the latter is also rather susceptible to staining. Therefore, if you’re buying office chairs for several employees that will see hard use, a wipe down vinyl covering might be the way forward. Try and consider if the seating will be breathable though as some artificial seat coverings can be hot, especially during the summer months.
It’s not just the external covering that makes a good office chair either, with the padding that’s underneath a big part of the comfort equation. Bear in mind just how long people spend sat on their office chairs, and factor that in to the buying decision. A decent office chair should feel supportive, but comfortable at the same time.
Nobody wants to sit on an office chair that feels like it is sinking all the time and, if such a thing should happen, either discard the chair or provide your workers with a means of boosting the support. There are numerous office chair aids that can hep provide posture support. Ultimately though, if you buy a cheap office chair and its padding starts to fail, then you’ll need to replace it; sooner rather than later. At the same time, make sure that you don't purchase office chairs that feel hard to sit on and make the working day seem a lot longer than it should be.
To sum up
So, there you have it; five ways to help ensure that you’re going to give yourself or your employees the best office chair money can buy. If you do your research carefully and shop around, it’s possible to do all this on budget too. Sure, an office chair and other furniture needed for the workplace is never cheap – unless you really skimp, but it can be money well spent in terms of keeping people happy, their morale up and boosting productivity too.
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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.