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Ergonomic Office Chair - Just A Waste Of Money Or Are They Truly Beneficial?

Nov 17, 2007
There's been a buzz going around for a while now about ergonomic office furniture. Given that top quality ergonomic desks and chairs cost a pretty penny, are there any actual health benefits to be had or is this just another way of swindling the un-suspecting business owner out of their hard-earned cash?

Most of us know that a happy worker is a productive worker. And to be happy a worker must at least be comfortable within their workplace but are ergonomic chairs that comfortable? And can the price charged for such a chair truly be justified as a necessary business expense?

When I first started in business around ten years ago, working from home as a software developer, I bought a purpose-made computer cabinet and sat in front of my screen on a dining chair. Now that was what I called uncomfortable. If I sat there for more than just a couple of hours, I'd have to take a walk to get my circulation flowing once more.

Money was tight and I couldn't afford an ergonomic office chair so I plumped for the next best thing: a typist chair. It cost me around fifty Dollars and I got around three and a half year's use out of it. During that time I was able to sit at my computer all day but toward the end of the day I did get terrible pains in my upper back/lower neck area. I thought that it was just an age related thing or occupational hazard.

When the typist's chair finally expired I decided to go the whole hog and I spent some of my hard earned money on an up-market ergonomic chair. It really was a tough decision to make but, having finally made it, when I took receipt and got the chair set up, the benefits were noticeable within the first couple of days. I no longer got the aches and pains in my back and I just felt, well, more comfortable.

Here are a few things that I found useful when deciding which chair to go for:

1) It needed to have a five-legged base with castors. This gave the chair stability when I was moving around and/or reclining.

2) The backrest had to have the ability to support my upper and lower back. This could have been achieved by either picking a chair with multiple adjusters built into the backrest or one where the backrest incorporated some flexible material that would shape itself to support my whole back.

3) It needed to have arm rests. Again, these had to be adjustable and wide enough to allow me to rest my arms in a comfortable manner whilst working.

4) The seat-squab had to be wide enough to give support to my nether regions.

5) The covering had to be made from a "breathable" material to allow air to get to my body and prevent me from getting hot and sticky.

6) The seat's height had to be adjustable to allow my feet to sit squarely on the floor whilst allowing my thighs to remain parallel to the floor.

Finding a chair that accommodated all of the above wasn't that difficult but I have to say that it did cost me more than I would have liked to have paid. However, once I'd taken delivery of it and had been using it for a while I began to notice how much easier my daily routine became and my productivity went through the roof.

Nowadays, I know I shouldn't but I can easily sit at my desk for up to ten hours every workday. I never get the annoying upper-backache that I used to. In fact I don't get any aches or pains at all. I can alter my seating position and the chair adjusts itself to suit me.

Have I any regrets about buying my ergonomic office chair? Only one. I wish that I'd have borrowed the money to buy it earlier instead of making do with that typist's chair for so long.
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