Standing up for sitting down: Why a good chair is key to a healthy and productive work life

Recent study finds that almost two thirds of Ottawa-based office workers feel their energy levels are low after sitting in their office chair
Your job isn't slowly killing you - your chair is

Workplace design is in a state of flux, as more businesses opt for open concept, communal workspaces and fewer single-occupant private offices.

Unfortunately for many office workers, the one thing that remains unchanged is that often they are sitting in the wrong chair for them.

According to a recent poll conducted by Leger and commissioned by ergoCentric Seating Systems, 57per cent of Ottawabased office workers sit between 5 and 8 hours a day and another 11 per cent sit more than 8 hours a day. It’s no wonder over half of those office workers (61 per cent) share that they feel discomfort after sitting in their office chair for an entire day.

Contrary to popular belief, desk chairs shouldn’t be treated as one size fits all. To ensure employees are physically supported and feel comfortable when sitting in their chairs during the workday, it’s important to offer chairs that can be customized and tailored to suit individual needs.

An ergonomically correct office chair plays an especially crucial role in ensuring your well-being at work. Not only can it help prevent workplace injuries associated with sitting (including back pain or discomfort), it can also help increase employee productivity.

ErgoCentric’s tCentric Hybrid™ office chair is fully customizable and strikes the perfect balance between great ergonomics and aesthetics.

Increase productivity

According to the poll, the majority of Canadian office workers (70 per cent) believe the office chair they sit in at work directly impacts their energy levels.

No matter how much time is spent sitting down in a single day, proper ergonomic chairs are essential to improve employee energy and productivity levels and shouldn’t only be reserved for those employees with back problems or other special requirements.

To ensure that office chairs and workstations are conducive to a healthy and productive work environment, it is imperative that employers follow the CSA Standard for Workplace Ergonomics that states employers shall have a person of competence involved in the recommendation of ergonomic equipment, such as an ergonomist.

It is also important that employees receive proper training from their employers to understand all the features of the chair. Teaching people how to properly adjust a chair to fit them can make a big difference in the user’s comfort, yet just 3 in 10 (34 per cent) office workers reported that their employer taught them how to properly use their office chair (38 per cent for Ottawa).

Prevent health issues 

According to the ergoCentric poll, 69 per cent of Ottawa office workers believe the office chair they sit on at work directly impacts their health, and they are correct.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety found that sitting on chairs that don’t adequately support your body type or needs can pose significant health risks that affect blood circulation, organ function and cause nerve damage. Not to mention, just overall discomfort – whether it’s your back, legs or neck – the wrong chair can make a person feel low on energy at the end of their workday.

It’s important to look for adjustable features that offer ergonomic support, such as: lumbar support with adjustable height and depth, adjustable seat depth and adjustable arms, to name just a few.

The tCentric Hybrid from ergoCentric, is an affordable and completely customizable office chair that can accommodate any body type and offers more adjustable features than any other office chair on the market. Some of these include patent-pending Airless Cushion Technology™, 5” of infinite back height adjustment, 3-way adjustable tCentric Armrests and air lumbar.

Through investing in ergonomically correct chairs and workstations, you can send the message to employees that health and safety is a top-priority for the company. It means the employer gets it and that they care.

Pam Grills founded ErgoPrime Inc. in 1998 and is a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist with over twenty years’ experience making workplaces healthier and more productive. She received a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology/Ergonomics from the University of Waterloo and has extensive experience in both industrial and office ergonomics.

Learn more at ergocentric.com.

Tips for a healthy workspace and a happier workday:

Sit, stand and move.

Try and get up from your desk for a few minutes at least every hour to give your body a quick break. Use this time to move around and stretch your neck, back and legs to relieve tension (and stress).

Invest in the right equipment.

It’s important to think about the ergonomics of your workspace. Work with an ergonomist to get yourself a proper ergonomic chair that fits your body and adjust it so you can sit  upright in an open (greater than 90 degree) position that supports your posture. And, ensure your feet are flat on the floor. Position your monitor at eye level, move your whole arm when you use your computer mouse, and keep your keyboard at elbow level to avoid straining your wrists.