DESIGN & STYLE
Sit up and listen: How the right chair at work can improve your health
The perfect chair for your office space
It’s not uncommon for the modern workspace to look more like a lounge room – filled with sofas, coffee tables and cool armchairs. But while laptops, smartphones and tablets give us the freedom to work anywhere, it’s still a good idea to have a dedicated desk space to work.
When you have the right desk chair, comfort can help increase your productivity and wellbeing at work or home. Having ergonomic chairs (ones specially designed to provide you with optimal comfort and help you avoid stress or injury) help keep your body in the most natural or ‘neutral’ position while you work.
Boost comfort and productivity
Once you’ve picked out the right chair, maintaining proper posture while sitting comfortably comes naturally. Follow our quick steps to help achieve your most natural sitting position.
Adjust the height of your chair so your feet sit flat on the floor. Use a footrest, if necessary.
When shopping for your office chair, always search for ergonomic models with adjustable functions which provide greater comfort and support. While most fully-adjustable chairs are often suitable for many people, be sure to test drive it and imagine how it would fit in your workspace. Chairs with gas-lift adjustments are easy to operate and can be controlled while you’re sitting on it.
Ensure your knees are aligned with your hips and your back is straight.
It’s a scary fact, but 8 out of 10 people will experience back strain at some point in their lives. Prevent back stress by sitting all the way to the back of the chair and positioning your knees at a 90º angle. For additional comfort, look for chairs with foam seats and lumbar support.
Place your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from your body.
Working long hours at a computer isn’t just bad for your eyes, it also creates tension in your upper body. Set your screens at a comfortable distance to keep your neck and shoulders in a relaxed, natural position. Chairs with higher backs and headrests are ideal to prevent tightness in your head and neck.
Sit comfortably facing forward and adjust your screen to the centre of your gaze.
The top of your computer monitor should be 5cm-7cm above your seated eye level, with the screen tilted slightly for easier reading. To reduce glare, place your screens at right angles to windows and adjust curtains or blinds as needed. It’s common to experience eye fatigue (especially when you work across multiple screens) so don’t forget to rest your eyes by focusing on something in the distance.
Keep your forearms, head and wrists in a straight line when using the keyboard.
Before you start work, bring your body close to your workstation and make sure your keyboard is aligned to your body. Relax your shoulders, keep your elbows in a slightly open position and ensure your wrists and hands are straight. If you’re prone to aches and strains, be sure to choose chairs with armrests – they’ll help increase stability and reduce tension in your back, shoulders and elbows.
Lastly, pause and take breaks.
Having the ideal workstation and maintaining proper posture might still take a toll on your body and blood circulation if you stay put for too long. Remember to take 1-2 minute breaks throughout your workday to get up, grab a drink or a snack and do some stretches.