With the office chair we differentiate between the movement promoting active office chair and the back friendly standard office chair. The standard office chair therefore belongs to the "healthy basic furnishing" that must not be missing in any office and which should fulfil at least the following criteria.
Performance ability and working conditions are directly associated!
Our health and performance ability highly depend on the good design and appropriate use of the office chair. For example body postures that are assumed for any reason have effects on our thinking and perceptual processes (cognition), such as for example the decision formation or our attitude, and of course also on the emotionality. The back friendly standard office chair therefore has intuitive operating elements with which the sitting height and depth can be easily adjusted to the individual requirements. Furthermore, manufacturers bring much healthy movement to workplace with their office chairs. Seat and backrest are equipped with a synchronous mechanism and automatically follow the movements of the body. The synchronous mechanism combines a backward movement of the backrest with a lowering of the sitting surface in the back area that is adjusted to it - meaning a change of the opening angle. This finally leads to more comfortable sitting in reclining posture.
In addition all AGR tested standard office chairs have an effective downward suspension that ensures shock absorption when sitting down and thereby prevents spinal column compression. The sitting surface with integrated free-flowing, respectively forward adjustable seat inclination can also be individually adjusted in the depth. Height, width and depth adjustable armrests ensure relief of the shoulder and arm muscles (especially important with intensive work at the monitor). Also an individually or automatically adjustable backrest pressure, a balanced support through a high backrest and much more belongs to the basic equipment with a back friendly standard office chair.
Few but thereby helpful operating elements
A good office chair requires only a few but thereby functionally advantageous and well accessible operating elements. In combination with back friendly behaviour, e.g. frequent change of the working posture, this is an important prerequisite for health and performance ability at the office. The back friendly design of the entire workplace serves the employer and employee at the same time, which unfortunately is still not taken into account enough.
A back friendly office chair alone is however not sufficient. The totality of the office workplace, meaning the environment, lighting conditions respectively illumination adapted to the work, the size of the office desk, arrangement of the screen etc. must be considered and adapted to each other. Combined standing seat workplaces or an additional high desk represent an ideal supplement.
Counter chairs in the counter area
If you work at an elevated workplace in the counter area, permanently standing is very stressful. Therefore for this area special counter chairs have been developed. They basically fulfil the same criteria as standard office chairs, but have a significantly higher sitting position and a foot ring for comfortable support of the feet. If the workplace cannot be left for a longer period of time, the use of a separate footrest is recommended. This allows you to vary the sitting position additionally. Tip: Even a perfectly adjusted office chair does not protect against back pain. Hence include movement breaks as wells as many posture changes as possible in your everyday office life.
Office chairs in 24-hour use
Office chairs that are used at 24-hour workplaces such as control rooms must fulfil especially high requirements. On the one hand they must support an upright sitting position, allow changing sitting positions and optimum visual contact (viewing monitors) and on the other hand promote the necessary specific performance ability. Which is why these chairs must always also have an adjustable nape support. In addition, quality and robustness are important. Because they must also be suitable for individuals with high bodyweight and for the use in three shift operation.
The right way to sit on an office chair
All the technical solutions in the world cannot help if they are not put to good use and the chair is not adjusted to the individual needs of the user. Please therefore make sure you are familiar with the possible settings provided by your office chair. The manufacturer's instructions for use will help you. Good manufacturers and good retailers even offer their customers personal instructions and training. If you sit incorrectly for long periods of time, bending over or in a twisted position, this will hamper your breathing and digestion. Sitting poorly can cause premature fatigue, circulatory disorders or indigestion and backache, resulting even in more serious musculoskeletal diseases.
You should therefore heed the following points when sitting on your office chair
- Make good use of the whole seat: this is the only way to warrant supportive contact to the backrest.
- Adjust the seat height to exactly the right level: the elbows should have an angle of about 90° with the lower arms flat on the working surface. The knees should also be bent at 90° when the feet are flat on the floor. You will need a footrest if the working surface is too high and cannot be lowered any further. The footrest should have a non-slip surface and be at least 45 cm wide and 35 cm deep, with adjustable height and tilt.
- Adjusting the backrest: the curve of the backrest should support the spinal column in the area of the 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebrae on the level of the iliac crest.
- Dynamic sitting means frequently changing the sitting position. The mechanism should never be locked. This ensures that many different demands are made of the muscles, keeping them trained.
Power napping enhances performance and concentration
Some office chair concepts permit changing sitting positions right through to a lying position. These office chairs stand out with a very large opening angle that even permits a so-called relaxed position.
A few years ago, it would have been simply inconceivable to be lying down while working in the office. Not just because our office work would not have permitted this position but also because society simply didn't accept lying down as a possible position for working in the office. But today a lot can be down in a lying position with no great effort, using a mouse click, voice input or mobile touchscreens. It is not just the body that benefits from a lying position but also the mind as well. Findings from sleep research confirm for example that power napping while lying down demonstrably improves work performance and well-being. Those who integrate power napping in their life rhythm are verifiably more concentrated with faster responses and better performance levels as well as being more balanced, than those who prefer to manage without a horizontal intermezzo during the day.