What is Ergonomic Seating?

The term “ergonomic” is used a lot for everything from mousepads to keyboards and office chairs. While ergonomic is an important part of office life, a lot of people are still unsure of how this term applies to them, especially when it comes to ergonomic seating. So let's dig deeper into what ergonomic seating is and how it works.

Ergonomic chair design basics
A chair’s design can make it ergonomic or not. Whether you’re working from home or in the office, you’re spending a lot of time sitting at your desk every week. People spend over 1,700 hours a year in an office chair.

If your chair doesn’t promote proper posture or help you reduce stress on your body, it can lead to health issues in the future. Your time behind an office chair is likely increasing, so you can’t afford not to know the basics of an ergonomic chair.

Understanding the Term “Ergonomic”
When discussing chairs or seating, ergonomics is a science that is considered a biotechnology. Designers build these chairs with the goal of providing safe interaction and usage. In most cases, ergonomic seating helps:

  • Provide comfort
  • Promote posture
  • Add support

An ergonomic chair works with your body to reduce aches and pains associated with sitting for extended periods of time. If workers are sitting at their desks for longer hours, they need to focus on their posture and comfort.

What are ergonomic chair design basics?
When you’re sitting, there are a few main areas of concern:

  • Back positioning
  • Neck positioning
  • Leg distance from the floor
  • Foot positioning
  • Arm positioning

You need to keep your neck, hips and knees in a comfortable, proper position while you work. If you’re slouched over or have to look too far down or up to see your screen, you’ll be putting excess strain on your back and neck respectively.

The basics of an ergonomic chair ensure a few key things:

Neutral positioning

The right chair will keep your neck relaxed and your back straight. Slouching will be eliminated, and your neck will remain in a neutral position to reduce pain and discomfort.

Arm positioning
The position of a user’s arms is often overlooked, but it’s a vital part of the ergonomic movement. An ergonomic chair will allow you to keep your arms parallel to the floor. You'll also need to be an arm’s length away from the computer screen, which may require armrest repositioning or a higher desk.

Leg and feet positioning
Your feet should be flush on the floor, allowing your hips and knees to remain at around a 90-degree position. The back of your knees should come slightly off the edge of the seat, while your lower back should touch the back of the chair.

Legs should never be crossed.

Proper feet and leg positioning allows for adequate blood circulation to the legs. When it comes to a chair’s ergonomic features, it’s typically the adjustability of the chair that makes a difference in comfort and ergonomics.

What’s a fully adjustable office chair?
Customising your chair is possible when you have adjustable options. Each person’s arm length and leg length will need to be considered when creating ergonomic seating. A fully adjustable office chair is the only way for you to customise your seat to match your body.

What does fully adjustable really mean?

It means:

  • Back and seat angle adjustments allow for a more refined way to sit.
  • Back height. The height of the back of the seat can be adjusted to allow for more comfortable seating and adjust for taller users.
  • Lumbar support. Proper lumbar support is crucial for posture and is lacking in many chairs. A fully adjustable office chair will offer some form of lumbar support to keep your back in the correct position.
  • A seat slide may also be available to add to your posture support. The slide allows the seat to move forward or back to allow for proper leg positioning.
  • Height. Chair height adjustments allow you to keep your knees in an appropriate position to reduce strain and improve posture.
  • Armrest. Adjustable armrests empower the user to find a position that offers comfortable arm positioning. Ideally, your arms should be parallel to the floor.

A chair that’s fully adjustable is made to fit users of all sizes and promote the positioning to make long hours sitting at a desk more comfortable and less stressful. You may also find headrest adjustments or removable headrest options.

Tension controls are offered on some chairs and further add to the customisable, adjustable features only found in ergonomic office chairs.

If a chair may be used for different users, the option to adjust the chair becomes even more important. You need a chair that’s a good fit for you, and outside of having a chair custom built, adjustability is your best option for reducing pain and improving posture.

We offer ergonomic fabric office chairs and mesh office chairs that work to keep your posture correct, reduce the strain on your back and last for years to come.


About Century Office  
Century Office are a leading UK office and contract furniture supplier, with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. They provide workplace solutions and offer a tailored approach for architects, interior designers & facility managers for small offices to large corporations as well as educational facilities. 

Please contact Century Office on or telephone 08000 929301 for more information.

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