How Do You Know You Are Sitting Unhealthily In Your Desk Chair? The ErgoSensor Detector

ErgoSensor Technology by Philips

Most people probably begin the day by sitting properly in their desk chair. However what happens is that as the day progresses and we get wrapped up in our work we let things slip.

Gradually we start to slump in our chair and before long our posture suffers as a result.

After doing this for a few hours our bodies get fed up and start protesting by sending signals in the form of pain.

Wouldn't it be great if instead of letting things go badly downhill we could instead receive gentle reminders that we need to sit more healthily?

Well Philips recently launched monitors with what it calls ErgoSensor technology which it believes will help address the problem.

What is ErgoSensor Technology?
ErgoSensor is an inbuilt piece of technology within the monitor and it's designed to track the following:

  • How long you have been in front of your screen, advising when to take a break
  • The position of your head and neck angle, picking up on when you start slouching
  • Sensing that you are the correct distance from your screen to avoid eye strain and slouching
  • Saving 80% of the power the monitor consumes when you're away from your desk

Another useful function for certain users is its SmartErgoBase. Unlike most monitors this allows users to set the bottom of the screen almost level with your desk top.

This will be useful for people who wear bifocals and other forms of progressive lenses. It could also be handy for short built people.

Further details
Here's a video explaining more about Philips' new ErgoSensor technology as well as further technical information.

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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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Why Are Some People Always In Such A Rush To Buy An Office Chair?

You're watching a movie, there’s a bank heist going on. The guy in the getaway car is sitting there, engine running, fingers drumming on the steering wheel. His eyes are twitching nervously, sweat slowly trickling down his neck and he’s thinking – “Come on guys, let’s get outta here!”

And soon out come the villains, running with the bags of cash they dump them in the trunk and wheels spinning they make their getaway…

The way some people buy an office chair has a lot of similarities, no of course they don't steal one, and yet they seem to want to get the transaction done as quickly as possible.

And they actually end up robbing themselves in the process.

Why is this?
Probably the biggest single reason is they just don't see it as important, after all it’s only an office chair they’re all pretty similar aren't they? Er no.

They figure they’ll just call in at the discount office supplies place, they’ve always got some deals going down on chairs, I'll grab me a bargain.

So in they go, sit in a couple of demo models for 30 seconds, pull some levers and turn a few knobs. A snap decision is made and away they go feeling relieved they got it sorted without any hassle and pleased with the $79 price tag.

Reality is the hassle comes later, in about a week’s time. Let’s come back to that later.

What pressures people into this way of picking an office chair?
Very often it comes about as the result of sitting in a totally worn out desk chair. They’ve been putting off forever replacing it because it still works, even though it’s as uncomfortable as hell.

But then it finally gives up the ghost, maybe an arm falls off, or the seat keeps sinking, or a wheel breaks off – whatever, now they have to sort it out and quick.

That’s when they make the rushed trip to get a replacement and very likely buy more of the same.

Why is this the wrong approach?
If you spend all day sitting in a desk chair then going out and simply buying the cheapest chair you can lay your hands on is definitely the wrong approach, here's why.

Working long hours in a low quality office chair is just another form of torture. These products are made to meet a price and the manufacturer will cut any corners they can to get there. Especially on the parts you don't see like the foam padding and the chair’s internal workings and fixings.

When you weigh up how long you sit each day it may even match or exceed the time you spend in your bed. Surely, you wouldn’t buy a bed in this way? Why is it any different with a chair?

Getting it right
When you need to replace your chair you should set aside time to research what you need. There are certain key functions you need and typically you will find less than half of them on sub $100 chairs.

Think about how much more productive you would be if you weren't constantly uncomfortable because what you are sitting in isn't fit for the purpose.

Recognize that you will need to spend at least a few hundred dollars to get the right answer.

And never make a decision after sitting for a couple of minutes in a chair. Why? Because it’s bound to feel great if your existing chair is worn out.

To properly assess a chair you need to sit in it for at least a few days to a week, before any shortcomings become apparent. So make sure whether you are buying offline or online there is a decent return period in case you need to return it, say 30 days.

Here's a quick summary of some quality ergonomic office chairs you might want to check out, if you are thinking of getting a new one.

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Buying A New Office Chair? Beware Of The Lure Of Decimal Point Syndrome

If you're thinking of buying a new office chair then you need to apply some thought to the process rather than just rushing out and buying some close out offer.

When you spend long hours sitting at a computer all day you absolutely have to make sure what you are sitting in is fit for purpose.

So the first thing you have to realize is that $50 won't hack it, I call this approach Decimal Point Syndrome because in truth you need to move the decimal point one place to the right and be thinking about investing more like $500.

Sorry if that's a bit of a shock, nonetheless it's reality. After all, when you consider you will probably be spending as much if not more time in a desk chair than you do in your bed it starts to make sense.

Seriously, I'm sure you wouldn't think about only spending $50 on a bed, unless you relish the thought of lying on a bag of springs stuffed with packing foam.

It's no different with an office chair, it simply isn't possible to get any level of quality for even a $100, at this price point every component in the chair will be cut back in quality to meet the price.

Why is it people keep buying these sub-standard products? I believe there are a number of reasons.

First, big name office product retailers are constantly promoting these types of chairs competing with each other to be the cheapest. And so without realizing it you become conditioned into thinking this is what you should be spending on a computer chair.

Second, these products often look good, frequently upholstered in leather which somehow seems to convince people it's a quality product, when in fact it's anything but.

Lastly, people don't very often get the chance to see and try a quality office chair in the flesh unless you go to a specialist supplier and they aren't exactly on every street corner. Consequently, you rarely get the chance to compare the good with the bad.

This is unfortunate as the difference in quality and comfort would soon become apparent.

A good quality chair needs to have certain critical features, I've distilled these down to 5 key essentials you must insist on when buying a new office chair. Here's a quick summary of ergonomic chairs worth checking out.

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Why People Overlook The Significance Of Having A Quality Office Chair

Anyone spending a large part of their job sitting in a desk chair and working at a computer needs to appreciate the importance of having a quality office chair.

And yet all too few realize why they should look beyond just dropping in and buying a new chair on their way home, especially when the one they have is so uncomfortable.

Why is this?

Price conditioning. I think one of the main reasons is we have unwittingly allowed ourselves to become conditioned by price. Likely the only time we see a task chair for sale is when shopping for stationery and stuff at the local office supplies warehouse.

There are always plenty of offers on chairs, usually sub $100 and so this sets the idea in our mind of what price they are.

Next is a lack of product awareness, nothing wrong with that we can’t all be experts in everything. So we see these glitzy chairs with their levers, shiny metal bases and often leather upholstery.

We start thinking these look great and this is just what the seller wants you to think. The only problem is they are rarely great, it’s nearly always a case of beauty being skin deep.

Price resistance. When people do come across a quality ergonomic office chair, one look at the price and the reaction is who in their right mind would pay this for an office seat?

After all it’s only for sitting on, true of course and yet if you stop to think about how long you do actually sit in your chair each day what do you get, 6, 8, 10 hours a day?

Ask yourself, would you be happy with a bed which only cost $70? Chances are if you work long hours at your computer workstation you may well spend more time in your chair than your bed. Does that start to make it important to get a proper chair? I think so.

Never tried one. Another reason for rejecting a quality office chair is most who do so have probably never sat in one and therefore aren’t in a position to make such a judgement. And I'm not talking about a quick couple of minutes in an office showroom.

It’s only by spending several hours or days that you will truly appreciate the difference between a quality seat and a budget one. It’s chalk and cheese.

Here's a useful article on the 5 essential office chair functions you must insist on next time you buy a new chair, if you want to achieve true comfort.

Summary

  • You need to get beyond price alone, quality first then the cost
  • Looks isn’t a good guide to quality, don’t be fooled by surface gloss
  • If you work long hours at your desk a quality chair is vital
  • You may well be amazed how much better you feel in a quality office chair

 

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Is Your Office Chair The Focal Point Of Your Work Area?

Your office chair is the key component of your work area set up. Everything you do flows from its relationship with the other key element which is you workstation or desk.

First, make sure you have your chair comfortably adjusted and positioned with your desk so you have a good upright posture and aren't leaning or lurching at an unnatural angle.

Next, you need to take into account the 3 elements involving the equipment and items you use when working, these are:

  • Primary Work Zone
  • Secondary Work Zone
  • Rarely Used Items

Let's take a look at each in some more detail.

Primary Work Zone

Imagine sitting in your computer chair with an arc immediately in front of you with a radius of about 12 inches (30 cms) from where you are sitting at your desk, this is your primary work zone.

It should include things you use often or for extended periods during the working day, so it will likely be your keyboard and mouse, pens etc. Arrange them so you can easily reach them.

Secondary Work Zone

This covers a larger area immediately beyond the primary zone extending the arc to about 20 inches (50 cms).

Items in this area should be things you will need occasionally and so may include items like your phone, copy holders, paperwork you plan to work with at some point during the day. Although having less frequent use they can still be reached reasonably easily.

Rarely Used Things

Anything you rarely use can be placed outside the primary and secondary areas. If you have a large desk it could be items like filing trays or maybe a desktop scanner.

Putting It All Together

For the next couple of days make a conscious effort to keep a close check on what you are and aren't using when working. Note them down and sort them into the categories covered above and then start re-arranging things so the most often used items are nearest to hand.

You'll find this will help you work a lot more efficiently in your desk chair and by minimizing stretching and reaching for things you use frequently working comfort will likely improve too.

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Are You Finding You Are Welded To Your Office Chair All Day? Time For A Break

Sometimes it can feel like you are super glued to you office chair as you beaver away at the ever increasing pile of jobs you need to complete, with head down as you plough on and before you know it a couple of hours just slipped by.

This is bad because when you finally do go to move out of your seat you find you are as stiff as a board and feel a bit like a half open Swiss army knife which your painful back and tired muscles swiftly signal as soon as you try to get up.

If this sounds like you then you need to start taking better care of your body before developing chronic posture problems, it's easy enough all it needs is to replace some of these bad habits with some good ones.

Here's a 3 point checklist of some good habits to develop.

Good Habit No: 1 – Taking Regular Breaks

The human body is made to move it simply isn't designed to remain in the same position for hours on end so become conscious of your body and listen to what it is telling you. Pain is a signal from the brain alerting you to something which needs fixing.

Make sure you get out of your chair regularly during the day, take a walk around the office grab a coffee or tea, and if possible try and get a minute outdoors and take some deep invigorating breaths of fresh air it will boost your energy and concentration levels. And if you work from home a quick stroll in the garden a few times a day will help clear the mind and re-charge your mental batteries.

Good Habit No: 2 Stretch And Move While You Are Working

Make a point of stretching frequently while in your chair, something as simple as stretching your arms and legs will aid circulation and muscle tone. If your chair is inflexible and you can't do this easily and has you fixed like a rusted hinge give serious consideration to replacing it, here is a quick summary of user friendly desk chairs worth checking out.

Good Habit No: 3 Doing Regular Simple Exercises Throughout The Day

Regular exercises throughout the day offer a huge benefit for your well being and working comfort. Ideally exercise every half hour certainly on the hour as a minimum, here are some simple office exercise routines for keeping neck, back shoulders and legs toned and supple.

So there you have it make a point of developing these good working habits as part of your daily work routine so they become second nature to you, movement is the key to keeping your body in shape and mind alert.

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Buying An Office Chair? Important Factors For Getting It Right

I'm often amazed at the casual attitude people take when buying a new office chair you see frequent posts and comments on Twitter and FaceBook about how they plan to call in at the local office warehouse on the way home to pick up a new office chair, treating it as though they needed some Corn Flakes for breakfast tomorrow.

OK if the chair is only for occasional use I guess it may not matter a whole lot and yet more often than not these people are full time desk chair users who desperately need something which will give them good support and comfort for the hours and hours they sit every day.

This laid back approach usually only results in disappointment within a few weeks as it quickly becomes apparent what they bought is actually a low quality seat, made to fit a price band so what seemed like a bargain quickly becomes an embarrassing liability.

So What Would Be a More Effective Way of Buying a New Office Seat?

It all begins with some research so check manufacturer's web sites and find out if there is a local office seating specialist you can visit and discuss your requirements with friendly, knowledgeable people.

Good ones will be happy to give you an approval period after buying to return the chair if it proves unsuitable. Often they will loan you a chair to try for several days to make sure it's right for you, because it really does take a few days to be sure.

Alternatively, find a good online store which has a good returns policy so you can be certain the chair is comfortable and supportive, the better ones will generally give you 30 days.

You will probably end up spending more via a chair specialist or online however you will quickly forget the extra cost as you appreciate the increased comfort and productivity it gives you. Here is a quick summary of quality chairs worth short listing.

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