THE 30-INCH VIEW® BLOG

Ergonomics done right.®
May 20th, 2014

The Most Important Adjustment on an Office Chair Is…

by J’ai Watson, AEP

J'ai Watson, AEPAn office employee typically spends more time sitting in his office chair than he spends sleeping in his cozy bed each night.  So why are we not more focused on purchasing office chairs that improve comfort, support, and productivity in the office?  The simple answer is…chairs are expensive.  A high-quality office chair, at list price, can cost anywhere between eight hundred ($800) and two thousand dollars ($2000).

These office chairs typically include features such as a pneumatic seat-height adjustment, a lumbar-support adjustment, a seat-depth adjustment, an armrest adjustment, and an adjustable tilt tension.  So what adjustment is the most essential if one can’t afford everything a high quality office chair has to offer?  The answer is a pneumatic seat-height adjustment.

A pneumatic seat-height adjustment is virtually standard on office chairs because a properly adjusted seat height allows your arms to extend straight out from the elbows to reach the work surface while your feet are fully supported by the floor.  Also, a pneumatic seat-height adjustment allows employees to raise the seat and use a footrest if their desk is too high and nonadjustable. Now, let’s discuss the second most important office chair feature.

The other most important (non-standard) feature of an office chair is a seat-pan depth adjustment.  This adjustability avoids the problem of individuals sitting too far back or too far forward in their chairs.  Mostly individuals of smaller or larger-than-average stature benefit from this feature.  A person of larger stature requires more seat-pan length, and a person of smaller stature requires less.  A person of smaller stature who sits on a long seat pan will experience pressure behind the knees, or will not benefit from the chair’s back support if he sits on the edge of the chair.  A person of larger stature who sits on a short seat-pan length will have inadequate support of the thighs causing higher contact pressure.

Tell us about your favorite office chair!