With a lot of the nation working from home during the current situation, many people are likely affected by aches and pains. Sitting incorrectly can cause back and neck pain, which are often the most common complaints from home-workers. This is due to a slumped position that can cause nerve constriction, as it means the spinea and other bones adjust and change their position. Bad posture while working can also cause joint pain, muscle stiffness and permanent slouching. Finding an excellent ergonomic home office chair is vital to staying comfortable and free from health risks while working from home. This section will provide guidance on what makes a chair ergonomic, how to sit correctly and other general tips.
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- What makes a home office chair ergonomic?
- How to sit in an ergonomic home office chair
- What is the best ergonomic home office chair for back pain?
- What is an ergonomic kneeling desk chair?
- Working in a home office chair: common mistakes
What makes a home office chair ergonomic?
An ergonomic home office chair should physically support the user to prevent health risks and injury. The following features ensure your home office chair is ergonomic:
Being able to recline reduces stress on the spine and sitting bones. You can angle your chair to correct your posture and prevent slumping forward.
Adjustable height is a key element of an ergonomic chair, as every worker is a different height. The right height is achieved if your knees are bent at 90 degrees and parallel to the hips, your thighs parallel to the floor and both the feet are flat on the floor. If the chair is too high, it can put pressure on the area behind the knee and hinder circulation. If it’s too low, the knees will be higher than the hips, shifting your body weight backwards and puts pressure on the sitting bones.
The back of your chair should be reclined to a 100-110 degree angle.
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Supporting the lower back is a vital feature of an ergonomic chair. Adjustable lumbar support that cushions the lower back is vital for long-lasting comfort. As the human spine curves inward, a home office chair should mirror that natural curvature. This feature pushes the lower back slightly forward, supporting the user’s posture.
The lumbar support needs to be adjustable to place in the correct position. Ideally the lumbar is independently height adjustable, however sometimes it is accomplished by changing the chair back height.
Armrests help to reduce tension in the upper body and allow the shoulders to relax. They support the user’s arms when they aren’t using them, helping to relax the shoulders comfortably.
However, armrests should not be used when typing. They can reduce overall arm movement, which can lead to strain on the forearms and cause repetitive strain injury.
Adjustable seat depth
When the seat is too long, we tend to lean forward. This can negate the purpose of the backrest, putting strain on the back and legs. The ability to slide the seat pan backwards or forward to suit the user’s leg length is therefore hugely important.
An efficient headrest helps to support the neck and shoulders, preventing you from leaning forward and slouching.
You should choose a chair with comfortable padding and breathable fabric, particularly if you are sitting for long hours.
How to sit in an ergonomic office chair
When working from home, it can be tempting to sit on the sofa or slouch, as you are working in a more informal environment. However, sitting correctly can help prevent the risk of injury and even improve your work performance.
The following tips can help ensure you sit in your home office chair correctly:
- Sit up straight and avoid slouching. Make sure your hips are far back into your chair. Your neck should be in a relaxed and neutral position.
- Adjust your chair, so your forearms are straight and level with the floor. This prevents repetitive strain injuries.
- Sit with both feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs. This is to allow correct blood circulation within your legs. Make sure your knees are in line with your hips.
The correct sitting position
You can read more about following the correct posture in our guide What is the correct ergonomic sitting posture?
What is the best home office chair for back pain?
If you suffer from back pain, you should choose a chair with effective lumbar support, as well as extra cushion or contour that helps you sit up straight. This alleviates pressure on your lower back.
What is an ergonomic kneeling desk chair?
An ergonomic kneeling chair positions you with an open hip angle with your thighs supported by one pad and your knees and shins supported by another. Ergonomic kneeling chairs are designed to engage your core as you sit. Although they have many health benefits, they are generally designed for short-term tasks that require reaching forward, such as short-term writing.
Working in a home office chair: common mistakes
- Sitting in a chair that’s the wrong height. Working from a chair that is the wrong height can cause you to either look up or strain your neck to look down. This can cause severe neck and shoulder pain. It can also lead to wrist pain if you are reaching up to type.
- Leaning too far forward. If you find yourself leaning forward throughout the day, you may need to adjust the lumbar support or use a cushion to provide back support.
- Sitting in a chair without back support. Sitting on a sofa or bean bag that offers no back support will leave you with back and neck pain, so ensure you use a chair with adequate back support. If you are working in a chair that doesn’t have back support, such as an uncomfortable kitchen chair, you can use a cushion to support your lower back.
Are you struggling to set up an ergonomic workstation at home? You can shop our range of ergonomic solutions here for extra support.