Office Chair Ergonomic Adjustments. Do you know what adjustments are available on office chairs?

This article details the main office chair ergonomic adjustments. Also factors to consider when choosing new office seating.

It is ideal to have as fully adjustable seating as possible. This will suit as many of the individual needs as possible.

1. Seat Slide

Seat slide is a good option to have for different upper leg/thigh lengths/bottom sizes. Some chairs allow up to 10cm depth adjustment.

 seat slide depth

2. Height adjustable arm rests

Height adjustable arm rests are beneficial, as long as the arm rests are not too far forwards. This is useful if the user is of larger build. If a petitie build the arm rests can interfere with sitting close to the desk. Especially if it is a curved front desk.

seat height range

Having a range of chair models with different seat pad widths can help suit different users builds. If the arm rest pads tilt inwards at the front, over the seat pad, this can overcome seat pad width issues for smaller build users. Very petite build individuals may still not be accommodated. Arm rests with adjustable brackets move the arm posts closer of further from the seat pad suit different builds, including larger builds.

3. Movement mechanism

The movement mechanism in the chair allows some variety of posture during use. This prevents static posture. It could be one of the following:

Synchro mechanism tilts the back rest and seat pad backwards (up at the front), together often on a ratio of 2:1.

Office Chair Ergonomic Adjustments movement angle

 

Often contract standard office seating has this mechanism. This may be problematic to those with low back pain, where more openness in the hip angle to the back angle is preferred. Also due to the knee being above the hip when reclining.

Therefore an Asynchro or Independent mechanism can be preferable. The seat pad can stay level/horizontal or move seperately. Or with a forward seat tilt lever (knee lower than hip) and a back rest lever to recline the back rest, which operate independently. This can help individual’s with low back pain and other discomfort, such as hip pain.

Knee below hip:

Office Chair Ergonomic Adjustments seat tilt angle

The mechanism considered to be ‘better’ on the market, is a ‘free float’, sometimes a knee tilt mechanism where open angles can be achieved with the seat and the back rest to be altered in angle but still being in some form of connectivity, to also allow independent movement and ‘free float’ or rocking together during use. Extra levers on the chair often allow these extra movements. This can help individuals with low back pain and hip pain.

Chair manufacturers describe the movement mechanisms using a variety of terms and so the detail above is what I have gleaned from working in this field, therefore more detail of individual model and seating ranges and their available mechanisms should be obtained from the manufacturer of any chairs you choose to consider, bearing in mind the principles detailed above.

4. Tensioner

On all chairs it is beneficial to have a tension wheel (+ and -) to adjust the movement resistance to make the movement more comfortable, (not too loose to gain no support from the back rest during its movement and not too stiff to cause the back to have to ‘work’ to gain any back rest movement).

Office Chair Ergonomic Adjustments tension wheel

 

Chairs which do not have a tension wheel are not generally designed to have the chair left in an unlocked mode during use, rather to adjust the angle and re-lock, but this can contribute to static postures and discomfort, as movement during chair use is generally considered beneficial for most individuals.

5. Lumber Support

The lumbar support range is designed to suit a range of lumbar heights (with back rest height adjustment usually), but sometimes this may not be suitable if an individual requires a very high lumbar (30cm) or prefers very low support (15cm) which sometimes is more pelvic area support preferred than the traditional lumbar support. They would require an alternative chair model in most cases, unless a supplier is able to offer a range of lumbar heights on different chairs in the range. Adjustable lumbar depth pump (air filled pump option or other methods) is good to have on chairs so that individuals can vary the amount of lumbar support.

6. Gas Stem range

The gas stem range is also important to allow individual to raise the chair sufficiently to the fixed desk height, so that their elbows are horizontal with the keys. Often a gas stem up to 55 or 57cm high sitting height is required, however, some suppliers can accommodate higher ranges and the chair movement still be fully adjustable.

7. Castor type

Wheel castors to suit the flooring also need to be specified. Hard castors for a carpet, and soft castors for a hard floor, to stop it from rolling away and being dangerour to get on/off safely. ‘Glide and lock’ or ‘Glides’ on chairs are often problematic, as once seated on the chair it cannot be moved closer to the work surface.

There are other seating options which may be required for more specialist individual circumstances, which would need to be assessed in more detail.

We hope this information about office chair ergonomic adjustments is useful. You may need a Workstation Assessment for further professional advice about your set up. This can prevent issues in the future or resolve issues you are currently experiencing.

A prevention assessment for no symptoms or minor/occasional symptoms, see DSE Workstation Risk Assessment. to fulfil the HSE DSE Regulations 1992

If you have ongoing health needs, you may need a more in depth review,  see Ergonomic Workstation Assessment. to also advise on reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.

Contact Us for further advice. Tell us your circumstances and we can advise what assessment will be needed.

Alison Biggs

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regime, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Healthywork Ltd does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.

Office Chair Ergonomic Adjustments

Leave a Reply

Interested in working together?

If you would like to work with us, or find out more about what we do, get in touch!

Contact Us

Recent Posts

Testimonials

AME

Alison has carried out 100s of assessments for AME some of which have involved multi disciplinary work with other stakeholders such as physiotherapists, computer technicians. Her work with the NHS and medical knowledge has brought an enhanced level of credibility to the work based employment assessment that she undertakes.

Clients trust her, she is diplomatic and highly professional at all times even when placed under considerable pressure to meet tight deadlines and juggle conflicting priorities.

Andy Taylor, Access Made Easy

Enable Therapy Services Ltd

Enable Therapy Services Ltd has used the services of Healthywork Ltd on many occasions over the last 18 months.

We have found their services efficient and their reports excellent.

They continue to be our first choice when requiring vocational related assessments/reports.

Ergonomic Assessments, Functional Capacity Assessments and Vocational Assessments provided in Glocester, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, West Sussex, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Shropshire and Avon.

Julie Kendall, Wetherby

Viridor Ltd

I found today’s assessment very helpful indeed, and am trying my best to keep my keyboard as close to me as possible – makes a big difference when I do, it’s even increased my speed and accuracy, lol.

Also, and more to the point, the pain in my back hasn’t got any worse today, and I haven’t used the wrist support, so having my arms supported (on arm rests) is clearly doing something for them already.

V. Jones Viridor Ltd

Capital International

Healthywork were very efficient and able to help us with several situations. If you need a fresh pair of eyes with a medical focus to look at an employee health issue, I would recommend them.

Jo Byrne, Central London

Survey feedback following a DSE Assessment

Well worth having a trained professional actually observe you at your workspace as small adjustments can improve comfort and health.

Sept 2017

Anonymous

David Higham Associates

They (the employees) were all happy with the work you did on the day you came in. Thanks a lot for your help. (Workstation Risk Assessments, November 2011)

Tine Nielsen David Higham Associates

Survey feedback following a DSE Assessment

It (The DSE Assessment) provided some invaluable advice and recommendations to help make my workstation more comfortable and prevent future injury.

Anonymous

Jan 2018

Anonymous

CRF Institute/Britains Top Employers

Our visit from Alison was an eye-opener. We thought that we knew what we were doing but every single team member learned something new. We learned how to use our equipment properly, we learned how to sit properly and we have all made adjustments to how we work since her visit. Everyone in the team has given feedback since that they are more comfortable in their daily work, and one person who has been in pain for months has changed her position and is now pain-free. Alison is friendly, easy to work with and great value for money. As manager, I thought that I would have to invest in a lot of new equipment but the reality is simply that we weren’t using what we had properly. I would definitely use Alison again and will write a workstation assessment into our on-boarding process for any new employees joining our team.

Eleanor Nickerson, Manager CRF Institute/Britains Top Employers

HEFCE

Healthywork Ltd have been extremely helpful over the last year and provided us with a very good service at very short notice.

The quality of their work place assessment reports and recommendations are extremely high. In addition, the employees involved have commented on the extremely helpful knowledge and support provided by the work place assessor.

(Assessments provided in Bristol and Central London).

Sarah de Vere, HR Manager, Higher Education Funding Council for England, based in Bristol
HEFCE

GMG Color Ltd

Ergonomic Assessment Functional Capacity Assessment Evaluation DSE Assessment Workstation Milton Keynes Cambridge Oxford North London - gmg

‘I contacted Alison a couple of months ago and she came up to see me and my team quite recently, Alison was very thorough with everyone, some people needed an hour with her others just 10 minutes, however everybody got something out of her visit, the visit was informative but not long winded and not rushed.

I was also very impressed with the level of information supplied for each individual after the visit, which has enabled me to order what was needed (however I could have done without the cost this involved!!).

Overall I would highly recommend Alison and Healthywork Ltd’. (June 2017)

Ian Probert
GMG Color Ltd