- Sit in a right posture
The most appropriate way to sit on a chair is to sit as close to your desk as possible. Make sure your upper arms are parallel to your spine and your arms are resting on your desk.
Now that you have adjusted your posture observe if your elbow is at a 90 degree angle. If they are not then adjust your chair’s height at the necessary level
If we talk about the knees then like your arms, make sure they are at 90 degree angle. After sometime if you find it difficult to maintain this posture then probably it’s time to visit the water cooler
- Too much height can hurt you
It has been found that when you sit for the entire day, your ankles are likely to swell by 6-8%. It may aggravate in people who are already suffering from circulation problem. In short, sitting in a chair set too high can increase the swelling of your ankles.
To ensure that you are sitting at an optimum height, you can slide your finger under your thigh near the front end of the chair. If you find it relatively easy then it means it is set at good height. But if you can’t even slide one finger between your thighs and chair seat, then you are probably getting a good view of the entire office. Some executive chairs do offer multiple position locking facility to suite different heights.
- Use a pedestal or a footrest
Nothing hurts your back more than dangling your feet all day long in the air and not properly placing them on the floor. In case you are short person and even the minimum height of chair is not sufficient enough to keep your feet on ground then you should better invest in a good pedestal or footrest. Using them will prevent you from experiencing pain in your foot. Many designer chairs nowadays come with an inbuilt pedestal to rest your feet on them.
- Raise your work desk/chair height
In case you are blessed with good height and you can easily slide your fist between your thigh and chair then you should obviously increase the height of your chair or your work desk. This will ensure that you don’t slouch or bend at an unnatural angle and sprain your back.
- Check the depth of your seat
Many people don’t consider the depth of chair (the distance between the front and back end of the seat) to be an important guiding factor while buying. But the fact is that it again affects the circulation of your leg. To find out if your chair has the right depth or not, you must first try to sit as deep as you can. Now try to slide a fist between your calf and the front end of your seat. If you can do it easily then it means your chair has good depth but if you can’t slide down your fist easily then it means your chair is too deep to sit. You can adjust the depth with the help of a pillow or towel by placing it in between your back and the backrest.
- Rest your back against the backrest
Backrest – The cardinal part of ergonomics. Even though everyone knows that this is ergonomically the most important part of any chair people often get it wrong while going for the right chair. Any ergonomically designed chair will provide the back support which will be just a little bit more than 90 degrees and has sufficient cushion to push your back towards the front end of the seat while in a sitting posture. This in turn prevents you from returning back to a slouching or bending posture. Typically the back of the seat should be 12-19 inches wide.
- Keep checking Your posture
Sometimes the chair has nothing wrong about it but it’s us who need to keep checking our posture every couple of hours. We should get into a habit where we consciously sit in the right posture and try avoiding postures which put undue strain on our lower back (lumbar discs).
- Adjust the level of screen
Now that you are sitting in the right posture, with your arms properly placed on work desk and your legs resting on the floor/pedestal it’s time to check if you have got the level of your computer or laptop right or not. To find out the right level close your eyes and open your eyes and look forward. Ideally you should be looking at the center of your screen. If you are not looking at it then you should raise the height of your PC or laptop with the help of a stack which will prevent you from straining your neck.
- Never underestimate armrests
Armrests are crucial in supporting your shoulders by taking extra weight from them. This also prevents you from bending forward towards the screen while sitting in the chair. Like the seat height the armrest’s height can also be adjusted to the desired level. You should raise them to a height where your shoulders feel a bit relaxed.
Probably by this time you are considering buying a new office chair or student chair. Irrespective of whether you are an employer or an employee you must invest in a good quality premium chair or professional chair. Apart from above discussed factors there are other elements like – material, castors, swivel system which play an important role while buying an ergonomic chair. Keep checking this space because we might discuss all these factors in length in a later blog.