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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