If you work in at a desk, it’s really worth getting to know your chair. Most good office chairs have plenty of adjustment options, but many of us never bother to use them fully. The era of “hot-desking” hasn’t helped that situation. Sitting in a badly-fitting chair for a few hours may make you feel mildly uncomfortable, but doing so day in and day out will eventually cause pain and dysfunction that can affect you all the time. You may find you start to suffer with anything from low back pain, shoulder and neck pain, elbow and wrist problems, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis, even headaches.
So, take some time to get to know your chair. You may find it a hassle to get everything fully adjusted for the first time, but with a bit of practice, you’ll soon find it quick and easy. Look for all the levers, knobs and sliders on the sides, back, and underneath your chair, and fiddle around to get familiar with what they do. Here’s a quick-guide on what to aim for:
- If your desk is fixed-height, adjust your chair height to the desk, so you can work with your shoulders and elbows at 90 degrees. If your feet are off the floor, use a footrest.
- Slide the seat back or forward so that you can sit with your back against the chair back and allowing a small gap between the seat edge and the back of your knees.
- Adjust the back height so you get good lumbar support.
- Adjust the tension in the chair to allow a little bit of “spring” as you sit back.
- If the chair has arms, make sure they don’t get in the way of you tucking under your desk; slide them back if possible, or drop them out of the way and don’t use them. If you do use them, make sure they’re at the right height so your arms can rest on them without needing to hunch your shoulders.
So, love your chair and it will love you back. And you may just find you get rid of that niggling ache, too!