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Types of Office Chairs to Suit Every Need

The humble chair has a roughly 5,000-year history. Chairs reflect the time, place, and culture they represent. “The way we choose to sit, and what we choose to sit on, says a lot about us: our values, our tastes, the things we hold dear,” Rybczynski writes in his book, Now I Sit Me Down. In the workplace, the different types of office chairs reflect task, culture, style, and comfort.

It is unclear exactly how many out of the 36.5 hours a week full-time UK workers spend sitting in a chair. However, it’s safe to say that most workers spend their time at work sitting down. Finding the right types of chairs for office workers can set the scene for high productivity, innovation, and comfort.

This comprehensive guide will give you a look into all the options available. Then, you can find the right types of office chairs to suit you and your business.

What are common types of office chairs?

  • Task/operator office chairs: These are the most common kind of office chairs you will find on the market. They are ergonomic, adaptable, and usually have a price tag ranging from 250 to 400 GBP.
  • Designer office chairs: These are pricier, high-end desk chairs, often with leather or fine upholstery. They can cost up to 1,200 GBP and sometimes more.
  • High-back office chairs: Typically designed to follow the natural curve of the spine and prevent slouching.
  • Executive chairs: Opulent desk chairs with high-quality fabric, padded arms, and tilting capability.

What kind of chair is best for an office?

Ergonomic office chairs, also known as “task chairs,” are the most popular type of office chair, and for a good reason. According to Cambridge English Dictionary, the term “ergonomic” refers to the way that furniture is made comfortable and effective for the people who use it. Frequently, you will see ergonomic chairs with high mesh backs, adjustable heights, tilt mechanisms, swivel capability, and wheels. These are all features designed to maximize comfort for those who are sitting for extended periods.

An ergonomic chair designed with lumbar support is not only a means of comfort. It can help prevent musculoskeletal disorders. These are a range of ailments caused by repetitive strain activities that affect bones, blood vessels, muscles, and tendons.

Mesh office chairs are prized for their breathability, making them an excellent choice for anyone who tends to get overheated while working. The backrest, lined with this net-like fabric, is paired with cushioned seats for comfort. Good mesh office chairs are also designed with ergonomics in mind. Some of them have a waterfall edge for better blood circulation and lumbar support to minimize lower back pain.

That is the textbook answer for what type of chair is best.

But not everyone will choose this kind of office seating. Some workers have a flair for stylish designs and are willing to compromise comfort. Some workers prefer leather chairs or upholstered chairs that enhance the aesthetic of their office setting. Office furniture comes in all shapes, colors, and materials.

The better answer?

Ergonomics is important. But employee preferences are more important. Their comfort will be an excellent predictor of workplace productivity. By applying employee preferences, you will create a healthy office culture built on honesty, communication, and genuine regard for employee well-being.

What to consider when choosing types of chairs

Choosing a chair is so much more than picking the nicest-looking or cheapest one on a website. Here are some crucial elements to consider:

1. Lumbar support: This is the part of the chair focused on keeping the lumbar (lower) region of the back comfortable and aligned.

2. Seat height: A seat height that ranges from 16 to 21 inches off the floor should be accommodating for most people. This allows users to have their feet flat on the floor and their bodies in a neutral position. Most office chairs on the market have an adjustable seat height.

3. Swivel mechanisms: Swivel capability can help with ease of movement. It can also help as a worker alternates between tasks.

4. Depth and width of seats: The typical width of a chair is 19 to 21 inches. The typical depth of a chair is 15 to 19 inches. But it is entirely up to your personal preferences and the comfort of those who will be sitting in the chair.

6. Armrest/backrest: Some chairs have armrests with padding for maximum comfort. In addition, the backrest may have a recline function for more relaxed motions. Typically, you will see these in larger executive chairs.

7. Seat material: Mesh chairs are flexible and have optimal breathability. Pleather or leather office chairs can have a certain elegance and are easy to clean. It’s all a matter of what works best for your work style, personal style, or company style.

8. Location: The chair should match the task you will be accomplishing while using it. It should also be an extension of its specific location, such as a conference room or waiting area.

After you have considered all these factors, you can begin your search for the right office chair.

Office chair featuring ergonomic design and mesh fabric
This is one of the many types of office chairs that feature ergonomic design and mesh fabric.

The case for unconventional office chairs

Most of the corporate world went into lockdown with remote work in 2020. The humble desk chair was frequently abandoned in a deserted office. Employees working from home were left to their own means of developing makeshift offices and temporary seating.

This expanded and carried over into a new model of remote work. Here, employees had complete autonomy over their choice of seating as they set up more permanent home office spaces.

Whether they discovered a new appreciation for standing desks or started working from gaming chairs, lots of workers found a new way to work that best suited their needs. Here are some chair types to consider if you want to create an environment that promotes inclusion and productivity:

  • Kneeling chairs: Short-term chair that is helpful for back pain.
  • Saddle chairs: Short-term chair that assists with posture and core strengthening.
  • Drafting chairs: Compliments standing desks.
  • Visitor chairs: Guest chairs often have padded seats, but they are not meant for long-term sitting. Depending on your company’s priorities, you can opt for fashion, function, or fun. You could even choose folding chairs that can be easily moved in waiting rooms or reception areas.
  • Balance ball chairs: Short-term seating for engaging and strengthening your core muscles.
  • Active sitting chairs: Help promote movements as you sit. These can also be helpful for those who have trouble sitting still.
  • Sit-stand chairs: Support your body whether you sit or stand. These typically look more like ergonomic stools than chairs.
  • Big and tall chairs: Helpful for users with large dimensions or heights.
  • Petite chairs: Helpful for users with small dimensions or heights.

Types of office chairs for everyone

When it comes to finding the right office chair, Sedus is a leading example of ergonomic and stylish solutions. Find out how Sedus can customize your shared office or home office to meet all of your company’s needs. With the right chair, you, your business, and your employees can start reaching their full potential.

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