We sit a lot...
For most people - especially those who work in offices - most of our waking hours are spent seated. People say that because we spend a third of our lives asleep, we should be doing so on a good mattress suited for our body type. But we spend a lot more time sitting, and probably a lot less time thinking about our chairs than we ought to.
Because when you own your throne, you own a whole lot more.
Ignoring your office chair could be harmful to the wellbeing of your business. For one, as Inc. highlights, “office furniture that is boring not just makes you lazy, it additionally will make you irritated and clumsy. […] surrounded with boring furniture, individuals oftentimes lose interest in work”.
Boring furniture is one thing. A lack of comfort is another. The fact is, as Milliken notices, “employees who aren’t comfortable in their chairs are more likely to shift around a lot and their attention will be focused on their discomfort, rather than on their work”.
Given the sheer amount of contact hours we have with our chairs, the potential for bacterial build-up is a little creepy (to put it lightly). It turns out, office chairs and phones are by far the most contaminated surfaces in your workplace. Think: we change our sheets once a week after 7 nights of 8 hours. When was the last time you cleaned your chair?
Either give your chair a clean yourself or organise to have the entire office done professionally. Everyone will appreciate it - especially this close to flu season.
It’s also important to make sure your chair is set up correctly at your workstation - and this is harder than it sounds. UCLA has some good tips to bear in mind:
This might require using risers for anything from your feet to your computer monitor or even keyboard and mouse depending on the desk. The important thing is not to compromise your body for sub-optimal furniture.
We’re long passed the days of being planted in one chair all day, however. Most offices now provide a variety of chair types - from lounge chairs in the reception area to stools in the kitchen.
You want to approach these non-traditional seating solutions as opportunities to promote other forms of seating and encourage employees to break up the monotony of sitting in the one spot all day. Breaking the monotony also has health benefits. As Scientific American found, going back to your chair “after a meal leads to high blood sugar spikes”, linked to obesity.
You definitely want to have at least some option for standing work in your office, and buying some stools or sit-stand options like the Muvman would be a good way to ease staff into the transition.
Consider replacing less formal seating with furniture that promotes movement as well. The Buoy is an example of such a chair; one that increases activity and boosts NEAT or “nonexercise activity thermogenesis” - the burning of calories whilst idle.
For objects on which we spend so much of our working life, our chairs demand attention.