What Is A Kneeling Chair And Why Is It A Healthy Way Of Sitting?

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I've created the short video below which takes a look at what a kneeling chair is and why it makes a great alternative way of sitting.

What is a kneeling chair?
Quite simply a kneeling chair involves a different way of sitting.

The name is a little misleading because although it looks like you are using your knees to support your body, this isn’t the case. In reality it’s your shins that rest on the pads. And depending on the type of kneeling chair and the way you are sitting your weight distribution typically would be 60% on your bottom with 40% on your shins.

So why does this make sense?

Why is it a better way to sit?
In a kneeling chair your body is able to adopt a much healthier way of sitting. This is because your whole body is in an open posture allowing much better circulation, muscle use and weight distribution.

It also places your back in a natural healthy position too. Are there any drawbacks with kneeling chairs?

Are there any problems with kneeling chairs?
When people first make the change from a standard office chair to a knee chair they often find it challenging to begin with. This is due to years of sitting in normal chairs which leaves your core muscles underused and flabby.

As a result it’s often necessary to build up these muscles again. So, you may well find to start with you can only sit in a kneeling chair for short periods. It’s for this reason I recommend you keep your old chair to begin with and switch between the two while you get used to this new way of sitting.

One other thing you need to avoid is being tempted to buy cheap replica versions of classic chairs like this Variable Balans. They may look the same, however the reality is they are vastly inferior and have serious quality problems. Here’s where you can read a Blog post about this problem.

So let’s summarize

  • A kneeling chair is just an alternative way of sitting where you use your bottom and shins to support your body.
  • A kneeling chair is a healthier way of sitting because it opens up your body allowing better blood circulation and muscle use.
  • To begin with it's a good idea to alternate between your old chair and a kneeling chair

Further information
For more information about kneeling chairs and which one is right for you, be sure to visit http://www.officechairadvice.com/kneelingchairs

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Why do small businesses often get chairs wrong when doing an office refit?

Imagine you've decided to give your bedroom a makeover. It's been several years since it was decorated and the carpets and fittings have been there longer than you care to remember. Probably top of your list would be to buy a nice new comfortable bed, especially if you've not been sleeping so well lately. After all a good night's sleep is pretty important isn't it? Especially if you've had a hard day at the office and it's more of the same tomorrow.

So you've enjoyed a perfect night's sleep in that new bed. However it is quickly forgotten when you get to the office and sit down in that clapped out old office seat.

After barely 30 minutes you're starting to fidget as the discomfort grows. Give it another hour and your neck and shoulders are killing you. Unfortunately this is a far too common scenario in lots of small businesses.

So what is it about office chairs that so many small businesses just don't get?

Why do small businesses overlook the importance of good office chairs?
When it comes to the time to refit the office more often than not new chairs are the last thing to be considered. Sometimes they don't even make it as part of an office refit. Why is this?

Unfortunately, the closest many small business people get to seeing new office chairs is walking around the local office supplies warehouse. There they sit rows and rows of great chromium plated brutes and all seemingly great value. Well here's the thing, most of these chairs can be summed up in a single word. Crap.

Oh sure, they feel comfortable when you sit in them for 5 minutes. What wouldn't after the wrecks back at the office. Theses sorts of chair are made to meet a price and so corners are cut with cheap components especially the ones you can't see.

Because people only see office chairs for sale is in these types of outlets they simply they know any different. And yet in larger corporations this is far less likely to happen. What's the reason?

How larger corporations better understand why staff need good chairs
Larger corporations and multi national companies generally provide the workforce with high quality chairs. How come they are better informed?

First, they employ facilities people whose job it is to find out about what is available. Often they will spend time evaluating suitable products and maybe have a select number of people in the office test competing products.

Second, because they are such large businesses they get the benefit of bigger budgets to spend on the right equipment.

Third, they are aware of the huge costs that can result if a member of staff lodges a complaint that poor equipment resulted in them suffering RSI (repetitive strain injury). In recent years large organizations have become much more aware of this sort of risk and taken steps to minimize it.

Lastly, leading chair manufacturers and their distributors make a point of targeting large companies. As a result the companies are much better informed of what is available and the benefits to staff productivity and wellbeing. Small businesses frequently get stuck with the other end of the market.

Why weak and ill informed sales people are bad news for small businesses undertaking a refit
Frequently small businesses turn to their office supplies company when it comes time to re-equip the office. On the face of it this seems like a natural thing to do. And yet far too often office supplies sales people obsess over price and how they can be the cheapest, instead of providing the client with the right answer. Because so much of what they handle is price orientated they end up selling everything around price. Value and quality get lost in the plot. Here's how it should work.

When undertaking an office refit the single most important furniture component to consider is the office seating. Think about it, it's where your staff will likely spend 8 hours everyday.

If you want to get the best out of them they need the right tool for the job. They need to concentrate on getting their work done, not worrying about the pain that butt busting chair is inflicting on them.

The problem is the office stationery supplier is rarely equipped to advise on the correct quality of chair. It's time to copy the big boys.

Calling in an office interiors specialist makes a lot more sense
As an alternative to using an office supplies company, small businesses would be far better doing a little research to find an office interiors specialist.

Take time to seek them out. Meet with them and discuss your aims and see if they seem qualified to carry out the work. Ask them for references from satisfied customers, call them up and see what they have to say.

Most cities have these sorts of knowledgable companies who can give expert advice on not only seating but all areas of office fit out.

True, you may have to spend a bit more to get what is truly right for your staff. In fact the cost of proper seating may come as something of a shock. Nonetheless, it will almost certainly be a lot cheaper than a costly legal wrangle ending in compensation for a work related health issue.

There's also a good chance a specialist might save you money by suggesting a better way of achieving what you're trying to do.

And if things are all going over budget, why not do the job in phases? Better to get the right equipment first time instead of having to ditch it and buy again in 18 months time.

One final thought. When next undertaking an office refit, involve your staff. Ask them what is the most important thing to them about the proposed refurbishment. If they have got lousy chairs don't be surprised if a new chair is top of the list.

And that doesn't mean getting them another dodgem on wheels. Just like that comfortable bed what's needed is a proper ergonomic office chair.

Let's recap on what we've covered here.

Summary

  • Small businesses often attach little importance to their office chairs
  • Large corporations know the value of providing the correct seating to staff
  • The local office supplies company is rarely qualified to advise on a refit
  • An office interiors specialist has the knowledge to provide the best advice
  • Buy the right equipment once, in phases if necessary
  • Involve your staff you might be surprised at what's important to them

What next?
Here's where you can find a short video on the 5 essential features needed on an office chair.

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Is Your Office Chair Foam As Hard As Concrete? The Overload Factor

If you were in the business of making springs then you would know all about overloading them and the risk of permanent damage to them. Springs are designed to support a given weight.

Provided you don't exceed the designed weight load the spring will happily jump back to its original shape, time after time. However as soon as you overload one it will distort and never recover its original shape.

The foam in an office chair acts a lot like a spring, it bounces back to its original shape as you get out of your chair. Only some foams don't play ball.

Why all office chair foams aren't created equal
Most people never give a second thought to the foam in their office chair. It sits tucked away under the upholstery and yields gently as you sit on it, so what's the big deal? After all it's only a piece of sponge how complicated does it need to be? The reality is the foam in an office seat is critically important to your long term comfort.

“When I sat in it in the office supplies warehouse it felt good to me. In fact it was loads better than my old chair which was as hard as hell.”

Unfortunately sitting in a demo model in a showroom for a few minutes is absolutely no guarantee that the seat will retain its springiness for any length of time.

Foam quality varies enormously. Cheap chairs are often made with foam that is little better than the sort used in packaging. Whereas quality ergonomic office chairs will have high quality foam. Often they use two different densities of foam bonded together and molded to support the user correctly.

What makes office chairs seats become uncomfortable?
This invariably arises in low cost office seating. Unlike metal springs the foam doesn't just fail from a single overloading. Instead what happens is that it gradually deteriorates over time through repeated use. The bad news is we are usually talking of a few months rather than years.

And this is why it's so easy to be lured into a false impression about the comfort of an office chair. Of course it all feels great when you try it out. It takes more than a few quick sessions of sitting by showroom visitors to expose its true colors.

It's only when you start using it for hours at as time that the foam gets put through its paces and its shortcomings become apparent. Over a period of a few months cheap foam starts to breakdown as it tries to support a load it was never designed for. It rapidly loses all its resilience and ends up flat and hard.

And don't think that this won't happen if you are lightly built. It will, only it might just take a bit longer.

So what's the answer to the problem?

Why is it so difficult to know the quality of an office seat's foam?
Although seat foam is covered by fire regulations in most countries, it's ability to retain its springiness doesn't come under office seating standards. Consequently you have to rely on the honesty of the supplier to use a foam that is fit for the purpose.

And just because a chair has a rating for supporting users up to a given weight limit doesn't mean a thing when it comes to the durability of the foam. The rating refers to the load that the pneumatic gas lift will carry.

Where does this leave us then?

How to avoid getting stuck with a hard as concrete chair
As there are no simple ratings for office chair foam durability it makes it difficult for buyers to assess the quality of a seat's foam. Here are some common sense tips to avoid those hard as concrete chairs.

First, avoid all chairs costing less than $100. These sorts of chairs are all about meeting a price point and often the temptation to cut quality to the bone on things like the foam is too great.

Second, check the manufacturer's specification to see what they say about the foam they use. Does it refer to it specifically? Is any level of quality implied, maybe the fact they use molded foams with two densities of foam.

Lastly, here's a simple rule of thumb. What's the guarantee period for the chair? In other words how confident is the manufacturer in its product? After all only a fool would guarantee a product any longer than it will last. A minimum 5 year guarantee is usually a good indicator that decent quality foam is used in a chair.

Putting it all together
Let's quickly recap on what we've covered here:

  • Foam used in office chairs varies enormously in quality
  • It's easy to cut corners on foam grade as there are no performance standards
  • Low quality foam quickly breaks down with repeated use
  • Avoid chairs under $100 the risk of low quality foam is too great
  • Check to see if the manufacturer has anything to say about its foam quality
  • Use the guarantee period as a guide to foam quality and go for a minimum of 5 years

Further information
Here's where you can find more about specific chairs which use high quality foams.

What's been your experience with seat foam? Feel free to comment below.

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Herman Miller Semi Annual Sale On Its Office Chairs Starts Friday June 1st

What's the deal?
Herman Miller is holding its twice yearly sale starting Friday June 1st when you will be able to get an extra 15% discount off its leading chairs.

As well as the extra discount and free shipping, during the sale some online suppliers are also offering no sales tax and free returns. So you really can try out the product risk free.

How long is the sale on for?
It all starts on Friday June 1st and ends on Monday June 11th so time is limited.

Where can I find more about the best chairs on offer?
The links below will take you to a brief overview of some of the top chairs on offer.

These review summaries also include links to our full review of each chair. And from Friday links to where you can get these great deals.

So if you've been thinking about changing your office chair for something better, be sure to check out the great prices while the sale period is on.

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Why You Need A Proper Office Chair Once You Reach Fifty

In this article we're going to examine why people over fifty need to take a different approach to their office chair. We are taking a look at the following 3 points:

  1. What changes once you reach fifty?
  2. Why are some chairs not suitable for people of fifty or over?
  3. What must you have on your office chair?

 

So let's begin by considering what's different about your needs at fifty.

What changes once you're in your fifties?
If you have spent most of your working life in an office it's likely you have spent at least 25 years sitting in office chairs. That's an awful lot of sitting. During this time your body will almost certainly have adopted some bad postural habits, especially if you haven't always had a good chair. Maybe you're starting to notice some aches and pains? And even if you're not it's likely you will in the next few years.

Could be you're a fitness fanatic however it still makes sense to minimize any damage caused by having the wrong chair. And if you don't do regular exercise you definitely need an ergonomic office chair designed to take the daily strain sitting inflicts on the body as it ages.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking all office chairs are the same. They're not, and the wrong one can cause long term damage.

Why are some chairs not suitable for people of fifty or over?
When you were in your twenties pretty much any office chair probably seemed OK. Back then you just needed somewhere to park your butt and because your body was young enough to take the strain it likely wasn't a major problem.

Over time what was once acceptable becomes something to avoid. What do you need to steer clear of? Pretty much all cheap office chairs should be avoided because quality always comes last.

Things like the foam padding, it's usually little better than packing foam grade and after a couple of months goes flat and brittle.

Chairs that don't let you adjust the tension for your body weight. Without it you'll always find yourself fighting to get your chair to do what you want and as soon as you relax it starts working against you again.

Chairs with fixed arms particularly ones having fancy curved shapes. Unless you're very lucky all they do is push your arm and shoulder muscles into the wrong position. Not to mention the discomfort to the underside of your arms from the hard plastic.

So much for what is unsuitable, what should you be looking for?

What must you have on your office chair?
The most important feature is the ability to adjust the depth of the seat. Why? Because it allows you to set the correct distance between back and seat for your leg length. With a fixed seat you will end up with what the manufacturer thinks is right for you and usually it's anything but.

Adjustable arms are essential to properly support your arm and shoulder muscles. Padded tops will make them a lot more comfortable too, so go for this if it's available.

Highly adjustable arms often include extra features like:

  • The ability to swivel the arm pads inwards and outwards to fine tune support
  • Being able to alter the side to side width, this can really help to line them up to match your shoulder width
  • Front to back movement for more accurate positioning of the arm pads

Tilt tension adjustment lets you set the chair to recline with the right pressure for your body weight. So when you lean back the chair moves safely and smoothly with you.

An ergonomically shaped chair back that either adjusts or has some form of independent lumbar adjustment to ensure your spine is properly supported.

All these essential features will help to take the pressure and strain off your body

Won't all these features cost a fortune?
It's likely that a chair with all the right features will set you back at least $400 so there is a significant cost involved. However when you look at the alternative of continuing with poor quality chairs which may save you money in the short term, what will the long term cost be?

Imagine you require medical help from say a chiropractor, you could soon end up having to spend an awful lot more. Is it really worth the risk?

Summary
Let's quickly recap on the 3 things we've covered here:

  1. Once you reach your fifties things start to change as your body ages
  2. Cheap chairs that seemed fine in your twenties no longer cut the mustard
  3. A properly featured chair provides the correct support you need


Here's where you can find a summary of the right sort of office chairs for the over fifties.

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Why Spending $600 On A High-End Office Chair Is An Investment

You would have to be insane to spend $600 on an office chair. But have you ever thought that you spend as much time in your office chair as you do in your bed? And that you invest enough in your bed to ensure that you only replace it every 8 – 10 years?

If you are spending a third of your life in the office and a third of your life in bed, it makes sense to aim to be equally comfortable in both of these important places.

How much will I have to invest for a proper ergonomic office chair?
To get the true benefits of a quality high-end chair you need to budget for an outlay of $400 or more.

Humanscale freedom chair

Humanscale Freedom

And it's quite possible to spend double this amount depending on the features and finishes you go for.

If you've only ever bought cheap chairs in the past then it may require quite a mind shift to take the plunge.

However when you consider how long a real chair will last you, it all represents good long term value for money.

No more rushing out to buy another $100 chair because the last one you had just gave up the ghost.

And as soon as you have proper chair you will notice some immediate advantages.

What benefits will I gain by investing in a high-end office chair?
Because your new chair is carefully designed to give excellent support hour after hour, you'll find yourself getting more done. With a poor quality chair you tend to find as the day wears on you start feeling worn out. Things all start taking longer to complete as you shift and shuffle trying to get comfortable.

You will notice this doesn't happen in a good chair, so you are able to keep going all day and keep up your work rate. All of a sudden that initial outlay will start to make perfect sense as your productivity increases. Nonetheless you still need to select the right model

How can I be sure it's a good investment?
Just because a chair costs a lot of money doesn't mean it offers great value. If it was that simple all you would need to do is shell out your hard earned cash. You need to think about what you like and don't like about your chair.

Some will like the idea of a mesh chair like the Aeron because it allows good air circulation when you're sitting. So if you tend to sweat easily this could be a good choice for hot summer days. And yet if you are of a skinny build, you could find its firm upholstery doesn't give the comfort you need. You would likely be much better served by a well padded chair such as Steelcase's Leap chair.

It's worth spending time reading product and user's reviews to gain valuable feedback on what's likely to work best for you.

Then there's the acid test. What's that?
Before you commit to a particular chair take time to look at the warranty offered with it. This is important because it shows the manufacturer's confidence in its product. Quite simply it's how long the maker feels its chair ought to last as a minimum.

After all what chair maker would guarantee a product for twice as long as it felt it would last, warranty claims would likely cost a fortune. Look for a minimum of 5 years, many manufacturers offer a lot longer than this. Take Humanscale for example it Freedom chair carries a 15 year warranty, there's value and confidence for you.

Let's recap on what we've covered in this article

  • Working long hours in the office every day needs the right tool for the job
  • You need to budget a minimum of $400 to get a good chair
  • Working comfort and productivity will increase significantly with the right chair
  • Take the time to research what's going to be best for you
  • Apply the acid test and heed the manufacturer's confidence in its product

So, if you spend long hours daily in an office chair and don't have the right seat it's time to look beyond cost and go for value instead. After all you wouldn't sleep on a bed made of old planks would you? So why tolerate a chair that feels the like this?

Further information
Here are links to where you can find a summary of some excellent quality chairs that offer great long term value.

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Why Buying A Branded Office Chair Makes Sense: Beware Of Deception By Description

Brands are powerful in office chairs, just like they are in many types of product. However it's important you don't get suckered into buying the wrong thing.

When you shop at the supermarket for your favorite brands you'll often see the supermarkets own version side by side with the real thing. And if you're not careful you can end up buying the look alike because they made it look almost identical.

This happens with chairs too, the only difference is you won't see the genuine article and copy sitting side by side. Even so you still need to take care to make sure you don't get misled.

How chair names and descriptions can be misleading
Sometimes unscrupulous vendors will give their products very similar sounding names to the branded chair or use words like ‘type' or ‘style' to create the illusion that you're getting the same quality as the real thing. They're trying to take advantage of the branded product's reputation. You need to be careful and watch out for these sorts of tricks.

One of the commonest terms you see used with office chairs is ergonomic. The reason it's used so freely is it gives the impression of quality and comfort. And yet there is no laid down definition of what an ergonomic office chair is. Consequently it gets added to the description of loads of really poor chairs. And because people assume it bestows magical properties on any chair which includes the description ‘ergonomic' they take it at face value and end up buying and regretting it.

This must be very frustrating for those manufacturers who do take the trouble to produce a chair that is good quality and comfortable and worthy of being described as ergonomic. So be careful of chairs labeled ergonomic. Whilst many of them are great chairs a lot aren't. Sticking with well known brands makes sense.

How do office chairs gain brand recognition?
Any supplier hoping to develop an office chair into a respected brand isn't going to do so by turning out a poor product. Creating a brand that's going to last and become popular means it's got to be well received by potential buyers. This is best achieved by offering a great chair that performs well and offers long term value for money.

Early movers who are amongst the first to buy an as yet unproven product are soon going to shout up if things aren't right. With the Internet and the popularity of social sites like Twitter and Facebook anything that isn't what it's cracked up to be will soon be discredited.

On the other hand if the product is excellent those same channels will greatly speed up its acceptance and conversion into a brand that can be trusted. This is why the major players take so much care to do everything they can to get things right. By getting broad acceptance for a chair half the job of selling it is done.

Why buying a branded office chair is a good idea
Building a successful brand can take years so any supplier who has done so will want to make sure they don't risk jeopardizing it. Look at one of the best known brand names in office seating the Aeron chair. Launched in 1994 it's still one of the most popular chairs on the market.

miller aeron

Herman Miller Aeron

It wasn't always like this though. Did you know when it was first developed Herman Miller sounded out the market and the feedback was pretty negative. However Miller bit the bullet and introduced it anyway and it soon became accepted. With over a million Aerons sold worldwide it stands to reason it must have a good bit going for it.

Major suppliers often spend years and millions of dollars to make sure that their new brand will perform as people expect. Steelcase's took 4 years to develop and test its Leap chair to make sure everything was right about it

Other companies like Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture also take great care of their brands to make sure their users are happy.

Summary
Let's recap on what we've covered here:

  • Beware of look alike products with similar names
  • Recognize that ‘ergonomic' when applied to an office chair means very little
  • Brand recognition is rarely built around a poor product
  • Buying a brand name ensures a good level of quality

Remember just like supermarkets some suppliers will try and create their version of a brand, usually at a fraction of the quality and price. Here's where you can find more about some of the most popular office chair brands from the likes of Herman Miller, Steelcase, Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture.

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How To Tell If Your Office Chair Is Killing Your Productivity

If you asked office workers what most affects their productivity chances are their office chair wouldn't be at the top of the list. For many it's regarded as somewhere to park their butt as they go about their daily tasks. And yet if it isn't up to the job it can end up being a huge drain on your productivity. The thing is this isn't always obvious. In this article we're going to look at the problem in 3 stages.

  1. How your office chair can sap your productivity
  2. How to check your chair is set up correctly
  3. Why replacing your chair maybe your best option

Let's get started.

1. Is your office chair a productivity drain?

It's often not obvious that difficulty in concentrating may be due to your chair. When you have a poor chair that doesn't support you correctly it soon starts to cause discomfort. Unfortunately this lack of comfort tends to get worse as the day goes on.

Typically people find problems begin after they have been sitting for more than an hour or so. Frequently changing position in an effort to get comfortable is a give away indicator that your chair is causing problems.

So if you find that your concentration levels start falling away during the day there is a good chance your chair is the culprit. It may be that your chair isn't set up properly so begin by taking a few minutes to run through the basics.

2. Checking your chair set up

Seat height
Start with the seat height. Make sure your feet are resting on the floor and that you legs are at an open angle. A lot of people advise an angle of 90 degrees between thighs and body. However this can cause tightness so try and open up this angle to around 110 degrees it will help your circulation and muscles.

Arm height
From there move onto chair arm position. Hopefully your chair arms adjust. You need to set them so your shoulders are relaxed when your lower arms are resting on the arm pads. If your chair has fixed arms which force your shoulders into an unnatural position it would be best to remove the arms altogether. At least you could then work a bit closer to your desk and use the top to support your elbows.

Chair back
Next adjust the chair back so that it gives good support to your lower back. And if it has a tilt tension adjustment make sure the pressure is set so you can recline comfortably when you want to relax.

Seat depth
If your chair seat depth can be adjusted make sure it's set to suit your leg length with about 2 inches from seat edge to the back of your knees.

If you've done all of this and there's no improvement there's every chance your chair is worn out. Either that or it doesn't have some of the necessary adjustments mentioned above. So where does this leave you?

3. Replacing your office chair may be the only answer

When you still can't get comfortable after running through all your chair's adjustments the only solution is to replace it. And it would be a mistake to just go out and buy a cheap chair thinking it will fix things.

It may bring temporary relief, however all the old problems will rapidly return if it doesn't have the adjustment flexibility you need. Unfortunately $100 office chairs just don't have the range of adjustments or quality of build to keep you comfortable for 6 hours or more a day. You need to look for a better solution to avoid getting caught with the same problem again

Let's quickly sum up the three points we've covered:

  1. Ask yourself whether your chair is taking your mind of your work
  2. Check your chair is set up correctly
  3. Consider replacing your chair if it is worn out or unsuitable

 

Further reading
In this article on how to choose an ergonomic office chair we look at the essential features you need. And here's where you can find a quick summary of quality office chairs that will support you comfortably and keep you working productively.

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Why Do People Rarely Adjust Their Office Chair? How To Lever Up Your Comfort.

What do I need to bother about with adjusting my office chair? Surely once the height is set that's it I can just get on with my work. It's only an office chair and all those levers don't seem to do a fat lot anyway.

Why do people only adjust their chair height?
Many people never get any further than setting the height of their chair. This is understandable because when you think about it apart from reclining loungers most chairs are fixed. Consequently people tend to feel that the only adjustment needed is to set the height of the seat.

Not only that all those confusing levers might mess things up so lots of folk work on the principle if it ain't broke don't fix it. Pity, because you can't do much harm and are probably sacrificing a lot of comfort by avoiding adjusting them.

Why it's not always obvious what the different levers do
A lot of the blame lies fairly and squarely with the manufacturers. They make chairs with 2 or 3 levers under the seat with no indication of what they do. Some do go to the trouble of adding an instructional graphic on the paddle controls and yet these can often be confusing and misleading.

And as for an instruction booklet apart from a few of the better chair makers these are as rare as hen's teeth on most office chairs. Seems crazy when you think how easy it would be to produce an instruction sheet or booklet.

HÅG of Norway gets it. Its chairs usually come with a booklet that can be stored under the seat for reference when needed. So how do you sort out all these controls and why are they important?

Which settings are the most vital to get right?
With levers under chairs each usually controls one or more functions. The one that most people are familiar with is of course the height adjuster. It's very straightforward push it down to lower the seat height. And lifting your body off the seat and pulling the lever up raises the seat.

Sometimes this lever also acts as a seat back control locking or releasing the back. Usually it's a case of pushing it in or out or moving it back or forward.

It's quite common for the seat back lock and release to have its own lever control. This often has preset locked positions, usually upright and maybe 2 or 3 locked reclining positions. Locked positions are best avoided as it's much better to let the back move as you move.

You may find another lever which allows you to vary the angle of the seat to the back. This can be useful to experiment with to get the setting that is most comfortable for you.

One lever you rarely see is for controlling the seat depth. It lets you slide the seat depth in and out to get it set to suit your leg length. Raising the lever lets the seat slide and once you have things how you want pushing it down locks the seat depth.

Another adjuster which is usually a knob controls the amount of tension required to move the chair back as you recline. The knob is normally under the front of seat and it is simply a question of turning it to increase or decrease the amount of body weight you need to apply when reclining.

Let's take a look at which controls are most important.

Which missing settings will cause you the most discomfort?
The single most important control is seat depth adjustment.Regrettably that's very likely not going to be on the majority of office chairs. So if you don't have it you will need do without it until you come to replace your chair.

Tilt tension is pretty important too. There's nothing worse than wrestling to recline in your chair or falling rapidly backwards as you sit back. If you have this adjustment take some time to adjust it for your body weight. It's worth the effort and will significantly improve your working comfort.

As previously mentioned release the seat back if it's locked. The preset angles most chairs come with become pretty uncomfortable after a short while.

As height adjustment is on every office swivel chair we can ignore it for this exercise.

Summary
Let's quickly run through the key points we've covered here:

  • Seat height isn't the only adjustment you need to set up
  • Set your chair's back to be floating and not fixed
  • Adjust seat and back angle if your chair allows it
  • Seat depth adjustment is essential for proper leg comfort
  • Tilt tension should be set to allow you to recline comfortably

You can find a quick summary of ergonomic office chairs here which include the vital controls needed for proper working comfort.

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Why Buying An Office Chair Online Makes Sense: The Hidden Costs Of Buying Offline

Many people fret about buying an office chair online. Quite naturally they feel that not being able to physically try out a chair before buying is a big problem. In an ideal world it would be nice to be able to test loads of things we happily buy on the net. Nonetheless we commit to buying all sorts of things from online stores without giving a second thought to trying them out first.

So why should it be any different for office chairs?

Why try before you buy isn't as simple as it seems
Lots of people will happily sit in an desk chair at an office equipment retailer for less than a minute and make a snap decision to buy.

It's likely they're looking for a new chair because their old one is worn out and uncomfortable. So it's only natural that whatever you sit in will feel great by comparison.

There is no way such an arbitrary test can possibly indicate whether a chair is right for you or not. Even if you sat in it for half an hour you still wouldn't know if it was suitable.

In reality you need to sit in an office chair for several days before you know whether it's right for you or not. The reason it takes this length of time to be completely sure is because your body needs to be comfortable with the way the chair feels. And the only way to be certain is to use it for many hours at a time.

It's unlikely you will get the chance to test a chair thoroughly without first buying it. So buying online makes as much sense as buying offline and it's a lot simpler too.

Why buying offline is a lot of hassle
At first it seems that buying offline makes sense. However as we've already seen a few quick minutes sitting in the display chair is meaningless in terms of knowing whether it's suitable for you. So you won't know if it's right until you tested it properly at work over several days.

Also you have to drive to go and buy the chair. Then you have the hassle of loading it into your vehicle and handling the delivery yourself.

And if the chair has to be returned then you have to box it back up, load it back in your car and use more gas to return it for a refund.

Buying online avoids a lot of these hassles

Why buying online makes sense
When you buy online it's far more convenient. For a start you don't need to be the delivery driver. Instead your chair gets delivered to your door by a service like FedEx or UPS. The only lifting you need to do is taking it out of the box and into your office.

Provided you approach your chair purchase online thoroughly it makes a great deal of sense to buy this way.

You will also have a far greater choice of chairs online than you will find at the typical office furniture store.

To begin with do some online research for suitable chairs to shortlist. Read reviews of chairs on sites such as this. Read customer feedback to see if there are any comments pointing out potential problems.

Once you've narrowed down to the chair you want the only other thing to check before ordering is what the return policy is.

Why a 30 day return period is vital
A good online store will allow you 30 days in which to return a chair if you find it's not suitable.

It's essential to have this sort of time to be really sure the chair is right for you. Depending on the type of chair you will likely want to fine tune the adjustments over the first few days. Then when you feel you have everything set properly it will give you the chance to try it under all sorts of conditions.

Does it still feel as comfortable when you've been sitting in it for 6 hours or more? Does it support you properly when carrying out different tasks such as typing, surfing the net, reading etc?

Also, think about the color of the fabric. Black or grey make a good choice as they will go with most color schemes. If you are looking to match the seat covering with your interior contact the supplier and ask them to send you samples of fabric. You don't want to find the color clashes with your surroundings.

If you do decide to return a chair bought via the web you’ll probably have to pay the return carriage, typically about $75. Although this seems to make online purchase more costly should you need to return you chair.

Compare the situation with an offline return. You have the cost and hassle of driving to the store again and lugging the chair in and out of your car twice.

Overall there isn’t a lot of difference between the two when you weigh it all up.

Some stores also charge a re-stocking fee so make sure you check thoroughly to avoid any nasty surprises.

Summary
Let's quickly summarize the key points we've covered here:

  • Sitting in a sample chair for 5 minutes is no way to know if it's suitable
  • Buying offline has hidden costs that aren't immediately apparent
  • The choice of chairs online is far more comprehensive
  • Insist on a 30 day return period so you can test the chair properly

Here's where you can find a quick summary of some of the best office chairs to place on your shortlist of potential chairs.

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