There are a lot of Americans who spend so long sitting at their office in front of their computers that many would consider it a form of torture — and they do so voluntarily! The office chair industry has provided a vast number of ergonomic and technological improvements to help make the idea of an all-day at the cubicle a survivable experience, but that doesn’t mean that every office chair is one you’d like to sit in for the duration. Which chair, then, is the best chair for long house at the office?
Rather than name a specific make and model, let’s talk about what attributes such a chair would need to have in order to be considered the ‘best.’ There are essentially four qualifications, only two of which need any real explanation:
- It has to fit within the budget.
- It has to look decent in the office environment.
- It has to be ergonomically correct.
- It has to be kinesiologically correct.
Ergonomics of the Best Chair for Long Office Hours
Sitting in one place for long hours at the office isn’t easy, but the science of ergonomics has been consistently trying to make it easier. Their basic ‘rules’ for workplace efficiency as regards office chairs boils down to:
- Correct Height: The chair should be adjustable so that your thighs and forearms are both parallel to the ground, with your feet flat on the floor and your wrists on your keyboard’s wrist rest. This means both the seat pan height and the armrest height should have several inches of adjustability on them.
- Lumbar Support: The lumbar curve of the lower spine needs to be properly supported. This means that the seat back (which has the support built in these days) needs to be adjustable upward and downward, and the seat pan needs to be adjustable forward and backward to ensure that your back rests snugly against the seat back.
- Thigh Support: The thighs should be supported while level with the floor — which means, depending on how your thighs are shaped, the seat pan should be able to be tilt a few degrees forward or backward.
Kinesiology of the Best Long-Day Chair
Kinesiology is a relatively new science — the science of how the human body moves. Kinesiology tells us, for example, that human muscles don’t do well when they’re locked in place for a long time: they need to move. That means that the ability to fluidly move with your body as you lean, stretch, and otherwise are active in your chair is a critical feature in the best chair for long office hours.
The best systems for such motion are the dynamically counterbalanced systems you can find in chairs designed to address back pain — when you move, they move with you without sacrificing support for your lumbar spine or the other elements of ergonomic efficiency. Those are the chairs you want to choose between for long days in front of your computer, wherever your computer happens to be.