Healthy seating tips from Seaquest

1. Try to vary your seating posture. Re-adjust your chair if possible – getting up and out of your chair, walking around and stretching, breaks the monotony and allows your muscles to breathe.

2. Try to keep your back “straight” which actually means your spine will be an open “S” shape with an inward curve in your lower back or lumbar area. The chair back should fit into your back.

3. Keep your head in a position over your spine, your shoulders relaxed and avoid bending your neck. Try to keep your upper arms close to your body to reduce the cantilevered weight effect.

4. Avoid pressure points at the front of the seat on your under-thigh area by using a footrest or by sloping your seat slightly forward if this feature is in your chair.

5. Twisting your body and over-reaching for equipment and files may cause painful strains. Use the chair mobility features,  caster base and swivel functions, to move round your work area.

6. Seek help from qualified medical professionals and workplace health professionals if you experience prolonged discomfort.

Finding the right chair for the job and for you

Most commercial seating products including chairs are designed for specialist use. The most common types are work station or desk chairs, meeting room, reception areas and executive seating. The extent of the opportunities may be bewildering but once you start applying budgetary restraints and style then you will be left with much fewer products to asses for comfort and specific features to suit your needs.

As a simple guide:

1. The chair should fit the sitter, the lumber curve in the back should fit into the lordosis area of the back and the seat should allow sitting back without pressure under the lower thigh area (see 2, 3 and 4 above). The chair may have adjustable seat and back positions to achieve this.

2. The longer the seated period, the more levels of support and adjustability options are required.

3. If you are selecting a chair for yourself, consider your posture alternatives, does the chair allow you to sit up straight for desk or table based tasks? Will it allow you to recline if you spend a lot of time on the phone or in discussions with staff or clients.

4. Allow your staff to trial and choose their own chairs (within budgetary restraints) specially if they have medical conditions such as back complaints, muscular-skeletal abnormalities or their physiology is unusual. Seek medical professional support in the selection process.

5. If you are selecting visitor chairs consider the environment they are being used in. Do they need to fit under tables? Are they conveniently stacked or moved for setting changes. Are they generously sized and upholstered to suit all shapes and sizes. Do they complement the décor?

6. Before your purchase set budget levels so you can eliminate product not in the price range. Once you establish a shortlist, try products if possible in their intended location to ensure they fit both dimensionally and visually.