Anyone who has spent any time working at a desk knows that sitting for prolonged periods can put stress on the back, shoulders, arms and legs. In addition, sitting too high or too low can cause poor posture, leading to long-term discomfort.
If you don’t have a fully adjustable office chair, consider investing in one for your physical well-being.
The ideal office chair
Ideally, your office chair should have a seat that adjusts for both height and tilt, and does not put pressure on the back of your legs. The chair should also have adjustable armrests – as arm supports that are too low, or too wide, often lead to hunching of the shoulders. The chair should also have an adjustable backrest that is shaped to offer lower-back support.
How to adjust for your height
When your chair is adjusted correctly, you should be able to sit comfortably, using as much of the backrest as possible. To adjust your chair correctly for your height, use these steps:
- Start by adjusting the height of the seat. To do this, stand facing the chair and move the seat up or down so that its highest point touches just below your knees.
- Next, sit on the chair with your feet flat on the floor. There should be a gap of at least 5 centimetres between the edge of the seat and your calves.
- Next, adjust the backrest both backwards and forwards, as well as up and down, so that it fits comfortably into the hollow of your lower back.
- If the chair reclines, tilt it back slightly to help relieve tension in your lower back.
- To adjust the armrests, sit with your arms hanging loosely at your sides. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and adjust the armrests until they just touch the undersides of your elbows.
How to adjust for the height of your desk
First adjust your chair for your height, then check if you can sit comfortably at your workstation with your legs underneath.
If the desk is too low to fit your legs underneath and move them around freely, or you have to lift your torso or lean forward to place your arms on the desk, it is too high.
To fix this, adjust your chair so that when you place your elbows on the desk they are at a 90-degree angle. If your feet don’t reach the floor after this adjustment, use a footrest to raise them.