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Why You Need An Adjustable Height Office Chair

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Jan 5, 2020
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What good is buying a sharp new outfit if it’s the wrong size? Well, the same goes for your office furniture. You can’t get the most out of a product if it doesn’t fit your needs. And worse, it may actually do more harm than good in the case of poorly selected office furniture. This is why it’s so important to invest in an adjustable height office chair that you can set exactly how you need it to offer the best support in any position, for any project.

Why does office chair height matter?

One of the simplest features of a modern office chair is also one of the most important. Being able to adjust the height of your chair is what determines how high you can rise and how low you can go! It would be nearly impossible to find the perfect height chair for everybody in your office, so finding a good quality design that is easily adjustable is the key. It sounds obvious, but we’ll look at why there’s more to it than the fun of pulling that lever and trying not to smile as you slowly sink down to the floor.

Modern and stylish adjustable height office chairs.

For all those lucky, perfectly average height people out there who fit into and onto most things, the importance of an adjustable height office chair may not seem like such a big deal. But for everybody else, it’s a huge deal. How can you focus on your work when your feet are dangling off the chair making you feel like you’re five years old? And how about our tall co-workers who must choose between either towering above their desk and monitors or sitting with their knees way above their hips in an average size office chair that won’t go up or down? This is no good. 

There are so many bad things that happen when your office chair doesn’t suit your body or your workspace. You can develop back and neck pains, or arthritis in your hands and wrists from working at funny angles, not to mention having issues with circulation that can lead to cramping and even brain fog, which certainly won’t help you keep on top of your work. Many of these problems creep up on you over time, which makes them all the more troublesome. You’ll sit at a short or tall chair the first day and think, “Ah, this isn’t too bad. Yeah, it’s fine.” But then a month later you notice your leg falling asleep before lunch. It’s happening! Don’t let it get to this point.

How high should an office chair be?

The answer is obvious: it depends. So let’s break it down. Are you working in a traditional office setting with standard height desks? Are you an artist or designer, working on angled or vertical boards much of the day? The variables could go on and on, so the right answer is to find a chair height that fits best for your body and workspace.

The most important part of deciding the proper height of your office chair is how your body feels when you’re sitting in it. That’s your starting point. If your feet are comfortably on the floor, your knees and elbows are both bent at about a 90-degree angle and your back and neck are nice and straight, then you’re on the right track. However, what if all of that is true, you’re perfectly comfortable in your chair, but your desk is still too high or too low?

If you find yourself in this situation then you might want to start exploring the idea of getting an adjustable desk to match your chair. The whole point here is that your desk and chair should be working as a team to adapt to you, rather than you trying to constantly adjust your body to adapt to your workspace. That’s what leads to health issues down the road.

A standing desk is the ideal modern office piece to help you get the most out of your adjustable chair. It lets you customize the exact height setting that’s perfect for you and enables you to be your most productive, and it also gives you the option to stand and stretch your legs throughout the day without losing momentum on a given assignment.

How do adjustable height office chairs work?

As we mentioned above, it’s fun to pull that lever and magically rise or fall in your chair. But what’s actually happening when you do this? And how important is it to consider the design and quality of this lever system when choosing an adjustable height office chair? 

Any chair that has that fancy little lever to adjust its height is also known as a pneumatic office chair. And the mechanism and system at work when making your adjustments is just as important as the comfy cushion and backrest that sits above it.

Choose an office chair with a high quality lever mechanism and gas cylinder.

It might be fun to pull the lever and drop down on purpose, but it’s really annoying when it happens all by itself because of a faulty mechanism. You’re trying to focus on your work but you’re getting smaller and smaller by the minute. Then you need to pump the lever and let the seat rise up, only to start the whole routine over again. Good luck getting your work done on time while playing out this scenario ad nauseam.

The main engine that drives a good quality adjustable height office chair is the gas cylinder located in the base of the chair. The air chamber inside the cylinder is connected to a piston, and when you pull that lever, the piston is activated and voila, the compressed air gets you moving. It’s simple science, but you want to make sure to invest in quality components from a reputable brand so that you’ll have a reliable mechanism that won’t let you down when you need it to keep you up!

Adjusting your office chair to the proper height

Let’s do a quick walkthrough on how to adjust your new office chair to the right height for whatever type of workspace you have with the goal of giving you the proper balance between functionality and support.

Step one

Stand in front of your office chair and get a feel for where the seat is in relation to your knees. You want the seat to be just below your knees so you can easily fall into that perfect 90-degree angle when you sit down, putting the proper pressure on your thighs and taking stress away from your knees while you work.

Step two

While seated, make sure your feet are flat on the floor. If you need to lower your chair to do so, then you’ll need to take a look at where your desk height is and decide whether it’s best to lower your chair or instead to get a footstool to put under your desk to ensure the best balance between the height of your chair and your desk. But, keeping your feet on the floor is important to reduce stress on other parts of your body.

A footstool or footrest can help to improve your posture while working.

Step three

Adjust the backrest of your office chair with the tilt mechanism to make sure you’re getting the proper lumbar and upper back support at your chosen height. Your back setting should feel natural like the chair is cradling you but not forcing you into any seated position that feels uneasy. Your lower back especially is part of your core and has strong connections to your hips and lower body, so think of this as the pillar and foundation of how you sit when you work. If you get this part set up right, with your hips at the proper angle, other parts of your body will thank you later.

Step four

At this point, when you sit at your chair it should feel natural to rest your arms easily at a right angle on both armrests. If anything doesn’t quite line up, make sure to adjust the armrests so they’re not in your way or restricting you, but so they’re there just underneath your elbows and forearms to support you when you need it. This will also help keep your wrists better aligned to reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if you’re in the same position for long hours.

Step five

If you work in a less traditional office set up or workspace and it’s impossible to work from a chair that’s set in the same position all day long, that’s cool too. In your case, these are just some basic steps to be mindful of so that your chair will be set up to give your body the proper support when it’s time to take a break from standing or leaning and go sit down for a while.

Choosing the right adjustable chair

We know when designing an office that there is a growing importance on how things look, along with the obvious need for a high level of functionality. That’s why we at Autonomous have dedicated ourselves to producing ergonomic office chairs that are both stylish and supportive, so you can create an inspiring modern workspace for yourself and your team.

Whether it’s our flagship ErgoChair 2, with its high quality height adjustable mechanism and multifunctional design, or our flexible Kinn Chair, which adapts to your every move, we have you covered with sleek, modern and functional designs for your business.

And if you ever have any questions about one of our office chairs or other smart office solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our product experts. They’ll be happy to help you out in any way they can and get you on your way to choosing the best office chairs to improve your office and help you work smarter.


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We build office products to help you work smarter.

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