Best Computer chairs for Office
What exactly is a computer chair? Different people that use computers in different ways will give you varying answers. For a gamer, it might be a chair with car steering controls, built in joysticks on the armrests, or some of the new chairs that even provide haptic feedback. None of which help you much in the office environment. Since computers have taken over the office space what we see today as a “computer chair” and an office chair has become basically the same thing.
In the U.S. alone a staggering 77 million people make use of computers at work, that’s 55% of the total workforce and it’s growing every year. The only sectors with relatively few computer dependent workers are construction, maintenance, and other industries that have a lot of field work. Work that requires you to use a computer will more often than not force you to sit still for hours on end completing your tasks. It is very important that whatever chair you use it should be:
- Comfortable for long periods of sitting
- Stable and safe, like these ones from Jasonl
- Firm and supportive to relieve strain on your body
- Promote good posture
- Flexible and allow easy movement
To achieve some, or all, of these ideals there are a few features that should be present in any decent computer chair:
- It should be adjustable
- It should have armrests and headrests
- It should have wheels
- It should be able to rotate and swivel
A great bonus feature for a computer chair would be for it to consist of mesh fabric. Mesh fabric is breathable and prevents excessive sweat, is more durable than sponge and fabric, and is easier to clean and maintain.
Looking for ergonomically designed computer chairs is a must. Ergonomics is the study of how to make items more comfortable, safe, and productive. In the long run, making use of ergonomic furniture has significant productivity and health benefits.
All that we said above for computer chairs go for computer desks too. The wide use of computers in workplaces means that almost all desks will be able to support a computer, or at least a laptop. It’s true that desktop usage is falling year by year, among consumers and in the workplace but that drop is being caused by taking on thin-clients and laptops.
Thin-clients are much like the normal desktop computers we know but are usually much smaller or built as an all-in-one, which means the monitor and hardware are built into the same unit. Laptops have the obvious benefit of being portable. This means employees can simply unplug their computer and move into a boardroom for a presentation or take it home with them. Apple computers are a popular choice for all-in-ones or as laptops.
The adoption of laptops means that traditional computer desks that have a dedicated stand or rack for the processing unit are becoming rarer and rarer. The same goes for dedicated computer desks that have no shelves and are just large enough for a computer monitor, usually with a sliding keyboard and mouse stand. However, this doesn’t mean a desk meant to be used mostly in conjunction with a computer shouldn’t have some special considerations.
Although very few computer desks have them, it is still advisable that your monitor should be at eye level to dissuade the user from slouching or squinting. Ideally, the desk should be able to adjust in height so that elbows can rest comfortably on the surface when working with a keyboard or mouse. If the desk is too high the corners will press the forearms, cutting off blood supply. A desk should also be large enough to accommodate the laptop or monitor and have enough leg space in case a processing unit needs to be housed underneath and to avoid entangling wires.
Computer desk and chair accessories
You might be scratching your head at the idea that there could be accessories for something like a chair. However, there are many items you can buy to improve your chair, make it easier to use, and make your workday more comfortable. Let’s look at some:
- Protective mat: Whether your floor is made of wood, tiles, or carpet none of them are indestructible and the constant traffic of chairs moving over them will start to scratch, crack, or indent them at some point. Protective mats are meant to be placed either right underneath the chair’s wheels or in places chairs will move a lot. These mats serve a dual purpose: To keep the floor from being damaged by the chairs and to make it easier for the chair to move on carpets.
- Headrests: Some chair models have the ability to fit separately bought headrests. Of course, it is preferable to buy a chair with a headrest but sometimes these are expensive for something that isn’t used that often. You can also buy headrests that fit any chair through an elastic band or similar mechanism.
- Armrests: Just like with headrests above some chairs allow you to swap the armrests for more comfortable options.
- Seat cushion: If you feel that your chair’s seat doesn’t offer enough cushioning or becomes uncomfortable you can buy a seat cushion. These cushions are made to dissipate pressure and conform to your body. Some even make sure your bottom doesn’t get too hot!
- Lumbar cushion/support: Sometimes, even if you buy an ergonomic chair, you still lack enough lumbar support. There are many lumbar support cushions available that suit any type of chair. Just like seat cushions, look for products that conform to your body shape and prevent heat build up.
A good computer chair checklist
So let’s wrap that all up and put it into an easy checklist that you can use when looking for a new computer chair or when you want to add some accessories. We gave you a quick definition of ergonomics in the first section and you will make sure to include all ergonomic aspects in this list.
- Wheels: When you want the printer but don’t want to stand up. It is also not good for the back or body to shimmy a chair.
- Headrests: Add a way to support the neck by cradling the head when wanted.
- Armrests: Allow shoulders and neck to be relaxed yet supported. Keeps arms from resting too heavily on the desk.
- Swivel action: This is especially handy if you work at an L-shaped desk. As bad as sitting is, turning your upper body while seated is even worse. A swivel chair eliminates the need for this.
- Height adjustable: If you are buying an office chair for the home you can just buy a chair that suits your length. However, in the office there is no telling who will use a chair next. It is crucial that a chair is adjustable so that anyone can use it in the most ergonomic fashion. Your knees should be 90° with your feet on the ground, elbows should rest at 90°, and your lumbar should feel supported.
- Lumbar support: A crucial factor that plays a huge role in preventing a whole host of back injuries. Without lumbar support, you could suffer squeezed disks, a deformed spine, and disabling back pain.
- Sweat resistant fabric: Mesh is the most common choice but not always suited for executive chairs. Make sure whatever material the chair is made of is meant to be heat resistant and allow the skin to breathe.
- Lockable lean: For safety as much as for comfort. Allowing the chair to lock at a maximum recline angle keeps the occupant from falling over as well as reclining to an uncomfortable angle.