How Office Chair Seat Height Causes Problems For Some Office Workers: A Resizing Moment

It’s easy to think that anyone should be able to adjust their office chair seat height to suit their needs. After all that’s what the gas lift is for isn't it? So why could it be a problem for certain people?

For the majority of office workers it won’t cause a problem. That’s because they fall into the category chair manufacturers call ‘average built.’ Broadly speaking this is anyone between say 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet tall.

As this height range covers the majority of people working in offices it’s only natural that chair makers design their seats to fit them.

What happens when you're not average built?
Depending on how far you fall outside the average will dictate how big a problem this is.

To be properly comfortable in you seat you need to have your feet resting squarely on the floor. Not only that you need to have your legs set at an open angle. The old recommendation of sitting at 90° isn't a good idea and probably never was.

You should aim to sit in a more open posture with the angle between body and thighs at 110° or more.

For two categories of people this may not be possible without a radical change to their seat.

Let’s move on to the first group this affects.

How short people struggle with seat height
The big problem for people under about 5 feet 5 inches in height is they often find their seat doesn't go low enough and they are unable to rest their feet squarely on the floor. This puts pressure on thighs and the undersides of their legs become painful after sitting for a short while.

And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a different issue.

The problem tall people face with the height of their seat
Tall people have no trouble resting their feet on the floor. The snag is in the angle of their legs. They end up like a partly opened penknife with knees and thighs angled up in the air. The tight angle they find themselves sitting at quickly becomes uncomfortable.

So what's the answer to these difficulties?
The easiest way of fixing these issues is to change the gas lift for one more closely matched to your height.

Good manufacturers offer alternative gas lifts allowing the chair to go lower or higher than standard.

Here’s a quick tip
Standing up measure from the floor to the middle of your knee. Note down this dimension and make sure any replacement gas lift adjusts an inch or so either side of this measurement. Provided you find a match simply changing the chair’s pneumatic lift will fix things.

Another idea for short built people is to use an adjustable footrest.

Further information
Here’s where you can find articles and ideas related to this problem.

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