Discourse on the Structure of an Office Chair


Specialized purpose and use

The office chair is something which can be seen in virtually every part of the office – cubicles, CEOs’ offices, conference rooms and even in the cafeteria more frequently than not. Wherever the area may be located, the purpose of an office chair is singular: to allow area occupants to sit down comfortably and in a healthy manner.

Contrary to what many who are unfamiliar with the office furniture business may think, an office chair is no longer just a piece of furniture, but rather a carefully designed and constructed specialty item. Behind each and every office chair, there is a process of in depth thought and science being implemented for the simple, but important reason, that an improperly designed and constructed office chair can be harmful to the user’s body, and ultimately to his/her health.

The principles of ergonomics are used with office chairs to give users the comfort and safety they expect and deserve. That having been said, you’ll find below, a few key points to look for when considering an office chair.

Chair height & width

Chair height adjustment – The height of an office chair should always be easy to adjust; and in order to do this, the chair must be equipped with a pneumatic adjustment lever. This lever should be installed in a way that will allow the chair user to move his/her chair between 16 and 21 inches off the floor. This is important simply because a person sitting in such a chair needs to sit according to the height of his/her table or desk; and therefore the chair should not be too high or too low as to cause its user to slouch or strain at the desk.

The important thing to remember is the sitter’s knees should be at a lower height than his/her hips, as the proper seated position will cause to be formed, a natural “double C” of the spine, and help to provide upright support for the body.

Chair width and depth – An office chair should always be wide enough to support users of all shapes and sizes. Normal chair widths will usually vary between 17 and 20 inches; but the chair depth area is that area found from chair seat front to chair seat back. Typically the office chair depth should be large enough for a sitter to lean back against the backrest with 2 to 4 inches differential between his/her knees and the chair seat.

Armrests, backrest & swivel

Armrests – Armrests are adjustable and will allow a sitter to rest his/her elbows, arms and shoulders in as comfortable a manner as s/he would like to.

Backrest – The backrest on a typical office chair will range between 12 to 19 inches; and like all other parts of office chairs, the backrest should be adjustable (flexible?) enough to move either forwards of backwards at the user’s preference.

Swivel – Working in an office requires employees to move about; from one computer, file cabinet or other piece of office equipment. Therefore, an office chair should provide a swivel at the bottom to allow users to move freely around their area(s).