What Is The Best Home Office Chair? A Bareback To Birmingham Moment

When I was about 14 years old, I used to enjoy doing a bit of woodwork. Somehow though despite my best efforts it never quite turned out as well as I hoped.

One day I was chopping out a mortise joint in a piece of timber. It was only softwood and yet it was taking some getting through. As I hammered away Don the local builder turned up to do some work at the house. Seeing me struggling he asked to look at my chisel and exclaimed: “Good grief, your chisel is so blunt you could ride bareback to Birmingham on that blade!”

Don went to the back of his van and got out one of his chisels. He gave it a couple of licks on a sharpening stone and soon I was powering through the wood. You see I just didn't have the right tool for the job. We’ll return to this later.

What is the difference between home office working and a regular office?
If you work from home full time then the difference between how you work here or a regular office will be broadly similar. Nonetheless there are some subtle distinctions.

One difference you're likely to find is that in a home office everything is a lot closer to hand. Chances are that all the equipment you use like computer, copier, shredder, phone etc. are all in the same room.

In contrast in the typical company office they may be more spread out. When you have copying to do or documents to shred the equipment well be located centrally so it involves a walk to use them.

The other difference is the likely absence of colleagues to talk to and attend meetings with.

Why is home office working potentially less healthy?
So when you think about the contrast between the two ways of working, home office working can be a lot less healthy. Why is that?

Well, with everything so close to hand you can end up getting a lot less exercise as part of your work. No corridors to trek down or conference rooms to walk to when meeting with co-workers.

This reduced level of mobility makes it even more important to select a good office chair, one that comfortably supports you and moves as you move.

It can be a big mistake to just decide on the spur of the moment that you'll nip to Staples and grab a close out bargain. That will all depend on how you work in your office at home.

How do you work in your home office?
You need to assess how you work in your home based office. Maybe you actually travel to work at your employers each day. And your home office is just somewhere you maybe spend an hour in the evening tying up loose ends or surfing the web.

In this instance the close out option is probably OK. Although if the chair you sit in at work all day is of poor quality then a better one at home will certainly help redress the absence of comfort you suffer each day.

Now, if you work full time from home either running your own business or working for an employer then you need to avoid cheap chairs altogether. The additional lack of mobility when home working we mentioned earlier most definitely needs to be compensated for with a proper ergonomic chair.

But I can’t afford to go spending $500 on an office chair
In reality you can’t afford not to. Just like my chisel, it’s all down to having the right tools for the job. Trouble is you can’t sharpen a bad chair. You have to replace it.
Let me ask you a question. What's the value of your time $30 per hour, $50 per hour, $70 per hour? Let’s say it’s $50 per hour.

So, if you were able to work more productively and comfortably for just an extra hour a week, 12 minutes a day that chair would pay for itself in 10 weeks.

And given that the lifetime of a good chair is probably 10 years the initial outlay becomes completely insignificant. Your return would be 100 times your original investment. Let’s see how to pick the right chair.

How should you choose a home office chair?
When you pick a new office chair there are 5 critical functions you need to insist on:

  1. Adjustable seat depth for optimal leg comfort
  2. Adjustable back height to allow the lower back to be correctly supported
  3. Adjustable Arm Height for ease of movement and minimizing the risk of RSI
  4. Pneumatic height adjustment to suit your body height and weight
  5. Adjustable tilt tension allowing each individual user to set the correct pressure

Although most chairs come with some of these functions, relatively few have all of them. Without these critical adjustments you won’t find it possible to remain comfortable in you chair for long.

Putting it all together

  • Full time home office working involves less mobility and affects you productivity
  • Realize serious home office workers need a serious chair for proper support
  • Put aside a realistic budget, the added comfort and efficiency will pay you back in spades
  • Insist on getting the 5 essential adjustments when replacing your chair

Here's where you can find a video and article on the 5 vital features of an ergonomic office chair. And here's a shortlist of qualifying ergonomic chairs that will support you comfortably and keep you productive.

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Home Office Chair Selection: Making the Right Choice

Do you spend several hours each day working at home in your office, or maybe work full time from home? If this is you then you need to be much more selective in the chair you use, because you don't want to end up with something which cripples you every time you sit in it.

Selecting the best home office chair depends on how much you use it. If it's just for occasional light use, say an hour or so a day then what you buy isn't too critical.

For people who spend significant amounts of time sitting at a computer their chair needs to be seen as a serious work tool, after all you wouldn't try to cook a gourmet meal for 12 on a disposable barbeque would you?

And it's no different with a chair, those long hours you spend sitting each day take a toll on your body and so it's vital you select a quality chair capable of giving you maximum comfort and support, especially when you have been sitting for many hours.

In the next post on selecting a home office chair I'll take a look at the kind of budget you will need to allow for to get a properly featured chair.

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