With more people than ever now working from home, its come to light that our home office chair and working set up may not quite be what we were used to in the office.
During the lockdown period we saw many social media posts of peoples DIY desks including dining tables, tool benches and even ironing boards becoming useful height adjustable desks!
Kitchen stools and dining chairs are now being used as home office chairs, whilst ergonomic office chairs have been gathering dust in empty offices. With many people still not returning to the office and with hybrid working models emerging, it appears we need to think carefully about how we are seated at home. Choosing the right home office chair thats comfortable and good at preventing muscle strain is crucial if youre sitting for long periods while working at home.
According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, adopting a healthy posture at your desk can prevent muscle strains in your back, neck, and other joints. The best home office chairs are built to support your body and therefore reduces aches and pains.
In this blog / guide we look at different types of chairs for your home office.
How do I choose an office chair for my home office?
There are many different types of chairs to consider including ergonomic chairs, task chairs, stools, saddle stools and stability balls. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages which we will touch on within this blog.
A stool or saddle seat
If your experiencing fatigue and discomfort from standing all day, there is a way to ease tiredness and backpain by using a specific ergonomic stool for your job. A stool or saddle seat allows you to sit, perch and move as you work. The higher seating position from a stool or saddle seat allows the thighs to slope downwards, causing the pelvis and lumber (low back) to stay in a neutral position, allowing the spine to achieve its natural curve.
Using a stool or saddle seat also encourages 'Active Sitting', which helps to strengthen the core and back muscles, all of which can lead to improved comfort and productivity in the workplace.
Advantages of stool or saddle seat
• Allows rest and recovery between standing periods.
• Encourages movement and Active Sitting strengthening the core.
• Easy to pick up and move around.
Disadvantages of stool or saddle seat
• Can feel uncomfortable as no lumber (lower back), head or arm support.
• Higher discomfort levels in the lower limbs, hips and buttocks.
• Difficult to sit on for long periods of time.
The stability ball became trendy in the mid-2000s with its supposed health benefits being based on two theories: Without a backrest, the user would sit upright with feet flat on the floor, ensuring proper correct posture and circulation. Secondly because the ball is squishier than an office chair, you must engage your abdominal and back muscles to stay upright.
In reality however, when using stability balls for long periods they can do more harm than good. Its quite easy to loose good posture and increased muscle activation puts more pressure on the spine.
Advantages of The Stability Ball
• Short term use can increase spine flexibility.
• Tones postural muscles and burns slightly more calories than an office chair.
• Can be used for fun workout during breaks.
Disadvantages of The Stability Ball
• More likely to slouch than if using a ergonomic chair.
• Increases strain on lower joints and vertebrae which can cause pain and spinal shrinkage.
• No back, head, or arm support.
Executive leather office chairs
If you want keep your home office looking sophisticated investing in a leather chair will score you some style points. Leather is a strong, durable material thats very easy to maintain. It can feel very luxurious and soft allowing one to ease in comfortably to work or to relax. Many Executive chairs are well padded on the seat, back and arms and are generally available in blacks, browns reds and creams.
Although these types of chairs look comfortable they do not offer as many ergonomic features as other types of office chair. Usually, the seat and back are one piece which means the seat and back cannot be independently adjusted in the way an office chair would.
It must also be stated that many of the budget leather executive chairs found online are often not leather but leather effect or faux leather. Some of these materials however replicate some of leathers qualities such as the grain and the soft touch feel, and the material is just as easy to clean.
We offer a large collection of executive chairs under £100 with the budget ones featuring faux leather material and executive chairs between £100 - £200 and Premium Leather Executive chairs which come in genuine leathers. The exclusive Panthera GT 8 executive chair is designed by Ray Carter and manufactured by the Nowy Styl Group. This chair boasts an array of ergonomic features and our money is on this one to become the executive home office chair of choice.
Advantages of Executive leather office chairs
• Stylish, instantly adding kudos to your home office.
• Comfortable as often feature padding and soft touch leather.
• Good for larger or taller users
Disadvantages of and Executive leather office chair
• Not as many ergonomic functions as similar priced office task chairs.
• Can be uncomfortable and hot in a warmer environment.
• Quite bulky and cumbersome.
Operator and Task chairs
Operator and task chairs are found in most offices and are the most basic type of office chair. They are generally less expensive than other premium chairs, but they offer some typical ergonomic features. Designed to aid the task of operator type professions, for example typists, their upright shape supports an ergonomic seating position for those working at a computer all day. Shaped to the natural s-shape of the spine, they encourage good posture and provide quality lumbar support, with back tilt mechanisms, back height adjustment and height and width adjustable arms.
Operator and task chairs are suitable for home office use because they are affordable and come with more ergonomic features than other types of chairs at a similar price point.
Advantages of Operator and Task chairs
• Inexpensive compared to other types of chairs.
• Provide basic ergonomic features, such as back tilt and seat height.
• Encourages good posture and reduces strains on the body.
Disadvantages of Operator and Task chairs
• Not as attractive as other premium chairs with a more office look than home style.
• Mass manufactured with less attention to individual or specialist ergonomic requirements.
• Designed with regular shift work in mind, could be uncomfortable for longer shift work or night shifts.
24 Hour Use Chair
Like the name suggests 24 hour use chairs are designed to be used round the clock 24/7. These chairs are fully certified and rigorously tested for extended periods of use, whether it is a call centre environment, security or surveillance work. Many 24 hour chairs feature contoured back rests to support the natural curve of the spine, promoting healthy posture while the deep curved seats helps to prevent aches and pains associated with being sedentary for long periods of time. 24/7 chairs include a vast array of ergonomic features, including height adjustment, back tilt, seat sliding mechanisms, adjustable armrests, padded head rests and weight tension control.
Advantages of 24 Hour Use Chairs
• Built to last and sustain long periods of heavy use.
• High weight capacity. Most 24 hour chairs have a maximum weight capacity of up to 150kg.
• Comfortable moulded foam with many ergonomic features as standard.
Disadvantages of 24 Hour Use Chairs
• Heavy and cumbersome.
• May not be suitable for other family members (small children) who also use or share the home office.
• Higher price point due to additional heavy duty componentry and padding.
Typically, office chairs are classified as ergonomic when they feature adjustable seat height, seat depth and lumber support. This means that you should be able to adjust the height of the chair so your legs are perpendicular to the floor and the seat pan should allow you to adjust it so that you are able to sit comfortably. Lumber support allows there to be ample support for the lower back so that your spine is in just the right position to promote good posture.
Ergonomic chairs should or typically feature the following:
An ergonomic chairs height is usually adjusted with a paddle lever just under the seat which operates the cylindrical gas lift. A chair that features seat height adjustment allows a user to place their feet on the floor.
Seat width and depth adjustment
Most people can fit in either an ergonomic chair or normal chair. Taller users will require seat slide which allows the seat to move independently forward away from the back. This ensures that the upper legs are fully supported whilst retaining permanent contact with the lower back (lumber) to the back of the chair.
Most chairs have some form of lumber support built into the foam of the back. An ergonomic chair however will allow for adjustable lumber support, meaning the lumber support can be moved up and down or pumped up to suit the individuals requirements.
Ergonomic chairs have arm rests that are adjustable either by height, width, or swivel. This ensures that the users arms are rested comfortably with the shoulders relaxed. Together with the hands, our arms compromise around 12% of our total body weight. As such, robust arms support in a chair is vital for offsetting that load from our shoulders and neck in the seated position.
Any conventional style or ergonomic chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of his or her desk without straining.
A good example is of an ergonomic chair is our Orthopaedica range of chairs which have been designed for many users and come in four different models Orthopaedica 90, Orthopaedica 100, Orthopaedica 200 and Orthopaedica 300.
Advantages of Ergonomic Chairs
• Ensures users body is kept in a safe and upright position to reduce stress on the spine, neck and hips.
• Adaptable to many different body sizes.
• Relatively inexpensive compared to higher end models.
Disadvantages of Ergonomic Chairs
There are few disadvantaged of Ergonomic chairs as they are solely designed to assist the body throughout the day. It appears that the advantages would certainly outweigh the disadvantages when choosing a suitable ergonomic chair for your home office.
• May not fit in with home decor styles.
• Can be expensive if requiring multiple functions.
• Will not completely cure ailments such as bad backs and posture but will help.
Mesh Office Chairs
Mesh office chairs combine a comfortable padded seat with a sturdy woven back, delivering durability and ventilation. Mesh makes these chairs ideal for workplaces and home offices in the summer months. Mesh office chairs come in a variety of colours which may be useful if trying to suit with or complement existing interior colour schemes.
Advantages of Mesh Office Chairs
• Breathability and Ventilation
• Easy to Maintain.
• Good value for money
Disadvantages of Mesh Office Chairs
• Not as comfortable or ergonomic as some other chairs.
• Mesh may not be as durable over time as fabric or leather.
• Not recommended for longer sitting periods over 8 hours.
In conclusion, it is important to note, that if you will be sitting for longer periods than usual, to upgrade to a chair which is comfortable and supportive in a wide range of positions. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality. The Eames inspired tan leather chair for example will look the part in your home office and is an excellent chair for short periods of sitting, but it will not support your body in the correct way for long periods of time.
We hope you have found this blog guide useful and if you would like to discuss any further options or are in the process of deciding on the best chair for your home office, please get in touch with a member of our sales team.