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Do you know how to set up your office chair so that your back is protected? Find out here…

Anyone who works in an office already spends a large proportion of their lives sitting down. For most of us, we will spend around a third of our adult lives at work, making that a lot of time sitting at a desk. Sitting in incorrectly adjusted office chairs is one of the biggest causes of spine and back problems in the UK, so check out our top tips for making your workstation more comfortable, and keeping your back protected.

  • 90 degrees is the magic angle

When you are sitting in your office chair, with your upper arms parallel to your spine and your hands on your desk or keyboard, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. If they aren’t, your chair is either too high or too low for the desk.

  • Armrests can be a good addition

Having your arms supported can do a great deal to reduce neck and shoulder strain. They also make it harder for you to slouch forward in your chair, which is a good thing. Your armrests should be just high enough to slightly lift your shoulders, taking the weight off your shoulders and neck without making you uncomfortable. However, make sure they fit either under or over your desk, otherwise you could end up sitting too far back and having to lean and stretch to reach your working area.

  • Thighs should be supported

Ideally your thighs should almost touch the seat of the chair, with no more than a fingers gap between the thigh and the front of the seat area. If you are very tall and there is a larger gap between your thighs and seat, you need to raise up your chair to create a better angle at your hip and knee. Getting your chair to a better height may mean you are now too high for your desk; if this is the case, ask your employer for a taller desk or one with height adjustment features.

  • Don’t sit too high up

Sitting too high can cause fluid build-up in the ankles and could see you with swollen feet by the end of the day. When you are at the right height, it should be easy to slide a finger under your thigh at the front of the seat pad. If you can’t do this, you’re sitting too high and putting strain on your hips and lower back. If you find you cannot adjust your chair downwards enough without jeopardising the position of your arms and shoulders, consider using a footrest to boost your feet up and create a better angle for your hips.

  • Remember seat depth too

The seat depth is probably the least adjusted part of office chairs, with many people forgetting that this is changeable too. To adjust it properly, sit all the way back in your chair and see if you can fit your fist between the front edge of the chair and your calves. If you can’t do this, the seat is too deep. If your chair does not adjust in this area, you could use a back support or a cushion to bring yourself forwards in the seat. Not having enough space at the front of the seat can cause poor circulation and swelling of the legs and feet.

We sell a huge range of office chairs here at Equip4Work, many of which are ergonomically designed to allow maximum customisation and adjustment. If you’re not sure which office chair will suit you, talk to our friendly and experienced team for advice.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:04 am