Many people spend a large portion of their workday in an office chair—and most are hunched over laptops in positions that strain the spine, promote bad posture, and lead to serious health problems down the line. Ergonomic chairs are designed with specific physical body dimensions in mind to support a healthy sitting position that increases productivity and decreases health risks.
A typical ergonomic chair will have several adjustments that help users to sit more upright. Some adjust seat height to provide proper alignment between the back of the knees and the front of the seat pan; others have a seat depth adjustment that helps to prevent compression of the legs. Some even have a feature that enables the user to recline, which can help relieve tension in the lower back and shoulders.
The back support on an ergonomic chair should be well-padded and wide enough to support the shoulder blades when viewed from the side. It should also be adjustable for angle and height to suit a variety of users. The best ergonomic chair will have an adjustable headrest that can be positioned to support the neck in various angles, depending on what work activities are being done. The armrests should be comfortable and provide good support for the elbows and forearms when typing or using a mouse.
Ergonomic chairs can be expensive, but they can make the difference between a painful day on the job and a life of pain and disability. Moreover, companies that invest in ergonomic chairs are more likely to attract progressive employees who appreciate being taken care of by their employers.
But just because an ergonomic chair has a sleek design doesn’t mean it can’t be affordable. For example, the Diffrient World—which combines a minimalist industrial style by designer Niels Diffrient with a host of feel-good features—costs under $350. Go-to home retailers from Pottery Barn to Room & Board stock it. It combines a stretch mesh panel that conforms to your back and a no-fuss lumbar support that’s part of the chair’s form with a frameless seat front engineered not to cut off circulation to the thighs and, bonus, it cradles you in a recline without any mechanical levers. It’s rated to hold up to 300 pounds. That’s a lot of support for a little money.