When making the decision to invest in modern office furniture, you may find yourself at a crossroads along the way where you could be tempted to take a shortcut, thinking it won’t make much of a difference towards your design goals. For instance, if you’re investing in a bunch of standing desks, then maybe you can cut corners on chairs, right? If your employees are standing most of the time, then what’s the harm? Don’t fall into this trap! If you’re going to invest in your company and in your employees, then go all in and do it right.
Yes, standing desks are important. And yes, it means your employees will hopefully be sitting less. But as we’ve covered in other blog posts, the key to having a modern, productive office design isn’t just about identifying one magical idea and implementing it. It’s about finding the right balance between multiple ideas and tools. Therefore, proper ergonomic chairs are actually a complementary partner to go along with your standing desks, to ensure your employees are getting the best of both worlds, leading to maximized energy levels and productivity.
They say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And this makes sense. But what if something actually is broken and you just don’t realize it? If you’ve never used an ergonomic chair yourself, it could be easy to just stick with what you have and assume it’s normal to be sore after sitting and working all day. Well, it isn’t normal. And it needs fixing. So we’d like to break down some simple, and not-so-simple, reasons why going ergonomic is a must for your modern office plans.
Physical reasons why...
- Lumbar support
That subtle curve in your lower back needs all the support you can possibly give it, and traditional office chairs usually fall well short in this regard. If there’s a gap between your lower back and the back of your chair all day long, that’s not a good sign. This part of your body is crucial in terms of your overall health. Anybody who’s had a back problem knows, if your back goes out, just about everything else goes with it. This is a good starting point for showing how much of a difference the little things can make when considering upgrading your chairs. An ergonomic chair, especially one with a breathable mesh backing, perfectly cradles your lower back giving you just the right amount of support.
- Neck support
For so many years, office chair manufacturers seemed to think that people didn’t have heads. The back support went up to about your shoulder blades and then just stopped. That was it. End of the road. Good luck leaning back to ponder a thought in those chairs, as your body slows down, well supported, while your head continues falling back, pulling your neck with it.
Ergonomic chairs not only give you proper head and neck support, they also do so in a way that can be adjusted to support various seating positions, from leaning back to sitting upright. And this isn’t just for your neck’s benefit, it also plays a direct role in preventing shoulder straight as well. Mayo Clinic put together a nice checklist to go over once you get your new chair and workspace set up to make sure it’s adapting to you, not the other way around.
- Fully adjustable armrests
This one gets overlooked sometimes because it’s tricky to actually rest your arms while typing, but the way in which your arms rest and then angle in which they point towards your desk actually has a direct impact on neck, shoulder and wrist strain. And proper armrest support helps remind us of this throughout the day. Your arms won’t constantly droop and drop if you have the adjustable armrests in the right spot.
- A seat that really moves
Short people, we hear you calling! You need a chair that lets you plant your feet firmly on the ground, too! And hey, if you happen to be taller than the average Joe, you want a chair that will rise to the challenge and give you the proper support you need as well. Many office chairs are height-adjustable these days, but choosing one with a well-built air pump system is important.
How many times have you had an office chair that would take 10 years to slowly rise back to the height you want it at after you accidentally bump the level and it drops you to the floor? Or, even more annoying, a chair that ever-so-subtly sinks lower and lower throughout the day. You swear your keyboard wasn’t at eye-level when you started working this morning! We’ve been there. A good ergonomic chair won’t leave you hanging like that. And, not only will the seat be height adjustable, it will also slide and tilt to perfectly support your backside wherever you choose to place it.
- Additional tilt mechanisms
Can you imagine spending your entire day sitting in a chair that doesn’t move an inch? It’s just there, sturdy and reliable, but completely unsupportive and unwilling to adapt to your body. It’s hard to imagine any company would still choose these dinosaur office chairs over an ergonomic option.
A well-designed ergonomic chair might take some getting used to. You might even need to read the manual for two minutes or less. But once you customize it to fit your body and workflow, you’ll love it and wonder how you got anything done sitting on your old chair. With tilt mechanisms out the wazoo, it will adjust to your head, back, bottom, legs, arms and maybe even other body parts depending on how you choose to sit. It literally comforts you while you work.
MORE reasons why...
- Physical and mental health
The health benefits of ergonomic chairs are seemingly endless, and make a strong case that this is a worthy investment. A lack of lumbar support, for instance, can lead to poor posture that can then trigger all kinds of nasty ailments over time, from poor circulation, numbness and nerve pain to less obvious issues such as indigestion due to slouching.
And then there are the mental health benefits. Using an ergonomic chair isn’t just about reducing pain, it’s about all the things you’ll be better at, and enjoy more of, once you’re feeling good and energized instead of feeling sore and worn out. Whether it’s an important client meeting over lunch, or playing sports with your kids in the evening, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after making the change.
- Fewer sick days and better retention
It would be lovely to just give employees anything they want and have everybody be over the moon about it, but if you’re running a business, then the numbers matter. So here’s a thought: How much money does your company lose when employees go on leave for health reasons? How much money might you lose when employees leave your outdated work environment to join a more modern one and you have to continually find replacements and train them to get up to speed?
One recent survey found that 87% of workers want their employers to offer healthier work environments including sit-stand desks and, you guessed it, ergonomic chairs. That same study found that 93% of employees would stay longer at a company that provided these types of modern office tools. That’s a pretty overwhelming number, and it shows that investing in things such as ergonomic office chairs can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
- Productivity benefits
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: happy employees are productive employees! And pain-free, comfortable employees are bound to be happy employees, at least most of the time. This is one of those reverse-engineer scenarios. If ergonomic office chairs lead to happy, healthy employees and those happy, healthy employees produce better work because they’re feeling so good, then the reverse could also be true.
If you’re noticing a slip in production at your company along with employee morale that isn’t exactly bursting with positivity, then you could be noticing the signs that your office space is outdated and you need to invest in modern tools to get the results you want.
- Improved office image
A forward-thinking company is one that puts an emphasis on working smarter and using modern tools to produce the best possible work for their customers and clients. And when those customers and clients walk into your office, you want them to be impressed.
The beauty of ergonomic office chairs is that they’re not only practical, they look cool too! They’re sleek, smooth, and come in a variety of colors to give your office that wow factor. As they say, first impressions count. Make it a good one with the right chairs to compliment the rest of your office space.
- Look good, feel good, play good
This is an old adage often used in the sports world, but it can certainly be used in the office workplace as well. The right equipment helps you look the part, feel the part, and thus, perform at your best. As a roundup of our previous reasons why, if your employees like the look and feel of their office, then you’re going to get the most out of them. And not only directly in their work performance, but also in their overall attitude about the company they work for and how they project that attitude while out of the office.
Imagine a Sunday BBQ where one of your managers is hosting family and friends. Somebody asks them about work. What would you hope that the manager would say? You don’t want employees to feel like they need to act one way while at work, then feel like they can finally “be themselves” once they’re elsewhere and vent about all the things they don’t like about their company. You want them to be proud of where they work and to feel good talking about it. And it’s details such as investing in the right modern office furniture to show you care about your employees’ well-being that can make that difference.
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