Top 7 Ergonomic Office Chair Mechanisms to have in the Workspace
By Amy Pedersen
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By now, most people are familiar with the term “Ergonomics” and understand that ergonomic office chairs and furniture are more healthy for the body because they help to maintain more natural positions that reduce stress to the bones, muscles, and nerves throughout the body. But chair companies and ergonomists often throw around terms related to the designs and functions of ergonomic chairs that the common consumer may not understand. Here is a list of some terms you may need to know.
- Seat Height Adjustability: This function allows the user to adjust the height of the chair to allow one’s feet to rest comfortably on the floor or footstool while still maintaining optimum distance from the desk and keyboard. Pneumatic adjustable features are easier to use than mechanical adjustable chairs.
- Seat Pan Angle Adjustability: This function generally refers to the ability the user has to change the forward-back angle of the seat. It allows them the choice of a fixed angle, rather than a free-floating recline. This function commonly allows for a forward tilt, in which the thighs slope downward. The main purpose of forward tilt is to open the angle between the trunk and thighs, inducing lordosis and reducing disc pressure.
- Height-Adjustable Armrests: This function, as the name suggests, allows the user to adjust the height of the armrests to suit the body of the person, this helps people avoid using chairs with too high or too low of armrests, which could result in elevated shoulders and pressure on the undersides of the elbows and forearms, or would require the user to slump or lean over to one side to use the armrest, respectively. This feature also allows for the armrest to be moved out of the way during some activities that may require lots of arm movement.
- Lumbar Support: This is one of the most important features of an ergonomic chair. This device is intended to prevent, as much as possible, the flattening of the lumbar spine that occurs to most people when there are seated. Lumbar supports usually work as a gentle curve in the backrest shape, and allow user to be seated more comfortable for a longer period of time.
- Backrest Height Adjustability: This function allows the user to change the height of the lumbar support area in the chair backrest, although this feature is often interpreted as the ability to change the height of the entire backrest. This function accommodates preference by different users regarding where and how the lumbar support curve contacts the back.
- Synchro Knee Tilt: For those users looking to work long hours in front of the computer and need the ergonomics beyond the standard task office chair, the synchro knee tilt can do perfect. Allowing the seat itself to recline at a angle seperate from the seat back, the knee tilt option allows the users eye level to remain constant when in the reclining position. This allows the user to also relcine with the spine in the proper position.
- Proper Seat Padding and Upholstery: When choosing your office chair, it is important to consider the upholstery when compared with the tasks performed in that chair. A doctor has different needs than the corporate executive and every knows that your office has a large reflection on your business itself, making it critical to choose the right padding and upholstery for your workspace needs. When choosing seating for long periods of time of for a variety of people, proper padding and foam is also necessary for the long haul and durability of the office chair.
© 2007 Sit On This Ergonomics, LLC.
Amy Pedersen has worked in the Ergonomics and Office Furniture industry for over 10 years and is owner of Sit On This Ergonomics, operating a number of ergonomic websites dedicated to Office Chairs and the practice of good Workplace Ergonomics.
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Article Submitted On: December 01, 2007