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Office Chairs Buying Guide

September 1st, 2018

Office Chairs Buying GuideContents

Introduction

What are office chairs?

General Ergonomics

Office chairs safety tips

Questions to ask before shopping for office chairs

Choosing office chairs

Types of office chairs

General best practices when buying office chairs

Further information

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The humble office chair has evolved a lot over the years and there is now a massive range of options available. So much so that it can be a little bewildering if you’re trying to narrow down your choices. That’s why we’ve put together this useful buying guide, which will help you to make the right decision.

In here you’ll find an explanation of what marks out the office chair as being different from other kinds of seating. We’ll also give you the low down on general ergonomics and health and safety when using your chair.

The bulk of the guide will help you to make a decision of what kind of chair to buy; we’ll give you a handy list of questions to ask before shopping to help you narrow down your choice, break down the various factors involved in choosing a chair, and run through a comprehensive list of the different types of office chair available.

When you’re making your purchase, particularly if you’re shopping online, you need to make sure you are protected, so follow our best practice guide for choosing a retailer that is legitimate, trustworthy and reputable.

Armed with all the information in this guide, you’ll begin to work out what your office chair requirements are and narrow down your choices, making the task easier and ensuring that you get the absolute best product for your needs.

 

What are office chairs?

The humble office chair that many of us recognise, usually known officially as the operator chair, can be found in offices and workplaces across the world. Most commonly a swivel chair, with a base set on wheels or castors, they also have a number of key points of adjustment.

The main one to be found on most office chairs is the single load-bearing leg which contains a gas canister. Using a lever, the leg can be ‘pumped’ to increase, or released to decrease, the height of the chair, so that the operator can adjust it to the right height for the desk they are using.

Over the years since its invention, other ergonomic adjustments have been added, including adjustable seats that can move back and forth, adjustable arm rests that can be lifted and lowered and backs that can be reclined. Many of these adjustments were added to prevent repetitive strain injury, or the back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that are commonly associated with sitting for long periods of time, most commonly in the administrative and customer service roles that have proliferated in the latter half of the 20th Century.

Some models of chair have extra features, such as a headrest and lumbar support, which allow the operator to sit in them in comfort for even longer periods of time.

While the operator chair is commonly used in offices, other types of chair can be found too. These include draughtman chairs, conference chairs and stools. More recent advances have produced specialist designs called orthopaedic chairs, designed to promote back health and further reduce MSDs, or kneeler chairs, which solve the posture problem of many office chairs by having the operator kneel into the chair, supported by upholstered pads.

Chairs have also been designed for use in specific environments, like anti-tamper chairs which lock down the available adjustments to prevent children from hurting themselves, commonly used in educational establishments, or static dissipative chairs, used in electrostatic discharge (ESD) areas. These are usually blue chip or technology areas where operators work with fragile or very small electrical components that can be ‘fried’ or destroyed by the discharge of static electricity, such as builds up when clothing rubs against the fabric of a chair. ESD chairs dissipate the static electricity that builds up by safely ‘grounding’ it, or discharging it into the ground.

While there are many types of chairs available, most of them follow similar functions, and extra features are only useful for specific uses. Instead, when looking for a chair, the main focus should be comfort, ergonomic adjustments, material and build quality. We’ll look at these factors in more detail later in the buying guide.

Whichever you choose, it’s important that a new chair is adjusted to the specific requirements of the operator using them, as this ensures that the full ergonomic features of the chair are used to capacity. Thankfully, most office chairs are easy to adjust; just make sure you take the time to do so when your new chair arrives, following the advice we’ll give you later on.

 

General Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of the way in which we interact with our environment. Most commonly, it is applied to the way in which we use furniture such as desks or chairs in our workplace. As sedentary (seated and largely physically inactive) work has increased, so too has the incidences of MSDs and back pain, as well as tiredness, exhaustion and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).

These health problems can have a significant impact on the individual; they can mean time off work and loss of earnings, as well as hospital stays, convalescence times and physiotherapy. They also have a big impact on the workplace as a whole.

The benefits of better ergonomics

Musculoskeletal disorders account for an estimated 8.8 million lost days of work per yer in the UK, a significant number of which is attributable to poor ergonomics in the furniture we use. That’s an average of 16 days per person who suffers from MSDs; around a third of all sickness absence. Given that a large number of these lost days could be prevented with better, more ergonomically-sound furniture, it stands to reason that investment in better furniture can actually save your business money in the long run.

Badly designed furniture can also lead to reduced productivity in the workplace. As workers constantly shift around to get into a comfortable position, they lose focus, become distracted and over time, fatigued. Time spent trying to avoid muscle pain, or trying to cope with pain already being felt, impacts a worker’s productivity greatly. So, well-designed furniture can also give your company a productivity boost.

One of the latest trends in HR circles is the phrase ‘employee engagement’, which simply means pivoting the company focus to prioritise the worker more. Following the financial crash of 2009, businesses are starting to see the benefit of building better company cultures and improving the working lives of their staff. This is because employees who feel cared for have better morale, loyalty and higher productivity rates. Turnover is reduced too, cutting down on the high costs of recruitment and training.

Taking heed of what your staff force tells you about their uncomfortable working environments could make you a leaner, better performing, more competitive business over time.

Above all else, health and safety is a large part of ergonomics. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility and a duty of care to look after the health and wellbeing of your employees. You are required to take all reasonable steps to protect them from coming to harm during the course of their work for you and, if you have an employee who complains that their office chair is giving them health problems, you ignore this at your peril.

You could open yourself up to costly litigation if the employee ends up needing time off or treatment for MSDs, back pain or RSIs. While your insurance will cover this, there can be a negative impact on the morale across the rest of the workforce and, potentially, bad press too. If that’s not enough to convince you, better implementation of health and safety across the workplace can also lead to a better company culture, with productivity and efficiency gain to be had.

Key regulations to be aware of

As an employer, there are some key pieces of legislation you should be aware of that relate to ergonomics and the reduction of MSDs. This include the following:

Luckily, you don’t have to memorise these in their entirety; you just need to pay careful attention to which aspects of each apply to you and your business and make sure you implement them appropriately.

How to apply ergonomics

While we can give you some helpful pointers on ergonomics here, it’s worth pointing out that everyone is unique; what works for one individual might not be ideal for another. However, using ergonomics as a guide, there are some key things to be aware of when it comes to ensuring that you are comfortable and safe at work.

  • Your chair: When seated at your chair, your desk should come to elbow height. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and your legs bent at 90° at the knee. Your arms should also be bent at 90° at the elbow, with your hands resting lightly above the keyboard. Use the gas lift to adjust the height if necessary and, if your chair allows for it, adjust the distance of the seat closer to or further from the desk as necessary to be comfortable.
  • Backrest: Your back should be straight when seated in the chair, but not unnaturally so. Too straight can cause as much damage as slouching, so make sure your back is supported in its natural curve. Adjust the tilt of the back rest and if the chair has a ‘dynamic sitting’ function, you should consider using this; the backrest will move with you as you move on the chair, providing constant support. If you need extra support, consider a lumbar roll or support.
  • Armrest: Some people find armrests useful, while others don’t. If you have a chair equipped with armrests that you don’t need, replace the chair or see if the armrests are removable. If you want to keep them, make sure that they aren’t high enough to raise your shoulders, and ensure that they don’t prevent you from getting close enough to the desk without reaching or leaning forward.
  • Layout: Make sure that your desk is laid out in an appropriate way for your work. Everything should be within easy arms reach without you having to overreach or stretch to access those common items you use every day.
  • Monitor: Your monitor should be directly in front of you, and the top of the screen should be roughly level with your eyes. This will mean you don’t have to crane the neck up or down to view the screen. Use a monitor riser to achieve this, if necessary.
  • Keyboard and mouse: These should sit in your “primary reach” area, that is, the area directly in front of you that you can access without stretching. You should be able to reach the mouse without straightening your arm. A wrist rest can be used if you find that you have to angle your hands upwards to use the keyboard, as they should be level.
  • Telephone: Make sure you don’t have to overreach or stretch to reach the phone. If you use the phone a lot over the course of a day, ask for a headset, and never cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder.

 

 

Office chairs safety tips

When used properly, your office chair should allow you to work in comfort and safety, and should last you well. However, there are some safety tips you should be aware of when using your chair. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) advises that common injuries involving office chairs usually involve people falling from their chairs. This can happen for any number of reasons, but most commonly when they are used improperly.

We take a look at some of the key do’s and don’ts of operating your office chair safely.

DO

  • Make sure that your read the instructions and follow the guidelines for assembly to the letter. Make sure all of the components are in the proper place, and are attached in the right order, so that they are tight and stay together. (If you’re unsure about assembling the chair yourself, order one of the range of assembled chairs we carry).
  • Pay particular attention to the wheels or castors. These need to be fully inserted into the base of the chair or you run the risk of imbalance or collapse.
  • Try to choose a chair that has a 5-legged base as this will distribute your weight more evenly and is more balanced.
  • Perform general maintenance on the chair, usually every 6 months or so. That means re-tightening all screws and bolts, applying grease or oil if needed and checking that the gas lift cannister is fitted correctly and still functional.
  • When using the chair, always keep all the feet on the floor; don’t lean or swing on less than the full number of feet as the chair is liable to slip away from you.
  • General operator chairs come equipped with castors that are designed for use on carpets. If your workplace has a different kind of flooring, make sure that you choose a chair designed to work well on it without slipping. Talk to your retailer or manufacturer if you’re not sure (our Sales Advice Team is always on hand to help you).
  • Some chairs come equipped with tension control that is designed to compensate for a variety of bodyweights. Make sure that this is adjusted to your own frame so that any adjustments you make in the future are smooth and controlled.

DON’T

  • Lean back on your chair so far that the wheels or legs lift up off the floor. Doing so can cause the chair to slip out from underneath you causing you to fall or to hurt yourself on your desk. It can also put incorrect weight on the chair, causing structural damage that can lead to collapse, or can loosen screws or bolts over time.
  • Don’t sit perched on the front edge of the chair. Doing so can cause the chair to tip and you to fall. Make sure you follow the ergonomic instructions provided in this buying guide to ensure that you are seated comfortably at your desk with your full weight in the centre of the seat. If you can, adjust the seat of the chair back or forward to suit.
  • Chairs can be fire hazards due to the nature of their upholstery. Don’t leave electrical appliances on the chair, including charging phones, which can heat up and combust. Also, be careful around naked flames or when smoking cigarettes on or near your chair.
  • Check the specifications for the number of daily hours of use your chair is designed to withstand. If your chair is used continuously 24-hours a day and wasn’t designed for that purpose, it will become structurally weak and potentially collapse. Instead, you should opt for one of our 24-hour chairs. This are made from a more heavy-duty construction and can withstand repeated, regular use.

 

How to do a risk assessment

Part of ensuring good health and safety is carrying out adequate risk assessments of all potential hazards and implementing steps to eradicate or reduce them to acceptable levels. The Health and Safety Executive has some useful guidance online, but here are some basic steps to carrying out a risk assessment.

Step One: Check for hazards

It’s important to ensure that you check all seating in your workplace to make sure it is fit for purpose. That means checking for possible risks that could cause harm or injury. Look for seating that is old and damaged, or is outdated and does not allow for adequate adjustment.

Step Two: Decide who could be harmed

As an employer, you need to make an assessment of who could be harmed by inadequate seating. While the obvious answer is the operator of the chair, you should also consider others who may come into contact with it; for example, cleaners will probably need to clean the chair in the mornings or evenings, and they should be able to do so safely. As well, think about any homeworkers you have; you could also be responsible for their children’s safety around seating.

Step Three: Evaluate the risks

The key step in risk assessing is to decide whether a chair poses a health and safety risk to your employees. If you do spot any risks, take action remove, reduce or control the risk. This could come in a number of forms, such as replacing seating, repairing it or providing employees with training on safe use, handling and adjustment of the chair. If there is no risk present, you don’t need to do anything.

Step Four: Record your findings

If you have five or more employees, the law requires you to record any significant findings that result from a risk assessment. You also need to make sure that you record your health and safety arrangements in such a way that anyone in workplace is informed about hazards and ways to deal with them, safety representatives are able to use the information to carry out their duties and that the findings can be used to inform future, similar hazards.

Questions to ask

Some questions to ask when you’re assessing whether workplace seating is safe and adequate include:

  • Is the chair comfortable for the intended period of use?
  • Is there adequate support for the lower back?
  • Is all upholstery supportive and comfortable?
  • Are edges padded and shaped to avoid pressure on the thighs?
  • Is the chair fully adjustable for the individual using it?
  • Are armrests suitable and do they not impeded the user in bringing the chair far enough forward?
  • Are footrests required, available and suitable?
  • Are there any special seating requirements at the workstation in question?
  • Does the user have any specific special requirements?
  • Are there any task-specific requirements?

 

Questions to ask before shopping for office chairs

An important thing to consider when choosing an office chair is how you plan to use it. An adjustable chair, for example, is great for homes in which everyone uses the desk, for office work, homework and more. If you spend a lot of your day sat at your chair, something more ergonomic will help keep you comfortable and supported. Everyone’s workspace is different, so to help think about how you use yours, here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before you buy.

  1. How much space do I have?

When choosing your office chair, always think about your current working desk and the space around it. If the room you have to use is limited, opt for a smaller chair or stool that can fully tuck under the desk out of the way when not in use. Executive chairs are better suited to roomier spaces, due to their larger size and wide armrests, which are more cumbersome to fit under tables.

  1. Who will be using it?

The next thing to consider when buying a chair is who’s going to be sitting on it? If multiple people are set to use the chair, opt for something comfy with broad appeal, and easy height and arm adjustability so that it can be altered to seat people of all sizes. Executive chairs and task chairs are the better options for multi-person use, as they can be easily adjusted and their traditional shape is likely to please everyone. We recommend choosing a chair with padding and armrests to ensure maximum comfort for all. Another smart choice would be a drafting chair, which caters to different people and table heights with its handy adjustability.

  1. How long will it be in use?

Finally, consider how long you’re likely to use the chair at one time. If you think you’ll spend long intervals sitting down, an ergonomic and comfortable chair is a must. Task and executive chairs are a good all-round choice as they’re comfortable and adjustable, while keeping a traditional chair shape. If you’re prone to back problems, a kneeling chair is a great choice due to its ergonomic design. If you’re only likely to use the chair for short periods of time, your options are endless; but avoid stools if you need or prefer back support, and kneeling chairs if you want to keep the pressure off your knees

 

Choosing office chairs

Type

There are four main types of office chairs, with a range of variety within each type. These are:

Operator or Executive chairs: these have wheels and swivelling seats that allow the user to move from one task to another at their desk without getting in and out of their seat. They are padded and adjustable for ergonomics, with executive chairs usually having more luxurious padding and more adjustability. The seat heights can be adjusted, as well as other variable adjustments, which means these are good chairs for offices where multiple people may use them. They can be adjusted by each operator to suit their own specific requirements.

Draughtsman chairs: These were originally designed for work at draughting or sketching tables and are higher than operator chairs. They can be easily used at tall work surfaces, making them ideal for counter tops in retail or beauty, as well as many other industries. To accommodate the higher reach of the chairs, they have a built-in foot ring where the operator can support their feet. Many people like using these chairs because they are almost in a standing position, which can make them suitable for long periods of work.

Stools: Unlike the previous two types, stools are meant for more dynamic use, where the user will regularly move around. You perch on a stool as opposed to sitting, making them closer to draughtsman chairs, but they are usually not as high. They are good for storing under desks or tables.

Kneeler chairs: A more recent design, kneeler chairs are designed to improve the posture and take the strain and pressure off the lower back. They user kneels into the chair with their knees taking the weight, meaning you can work for longer periods without back pain. However, they are not ideal for those with weak knees, as they need to be locked for longer periods. They came with cushioning to protect the joints.

Adjustability

Almost all office chairs have some degree of adjustability, even if that is just the height. Many more models also have an adjustable back, while more expensive models will have far greater degrees of adjustability, including such features as tension straps. You get what you pay for here, but bear in mind that most users won’t need lots of ergonomic features. For the average working day, making sure you take plenty of short breaks away from the chair, standard models provide enough adjustability for long-term health and comfort.

Material

There are four main materials used in the upholstery of office chairs (bases are usually steel, but can sometimes be wooden). These are:

Leather: an executive, and slightly more expensive, material that is valued for its softness and rich feel. Leather requires maintenance to keep its quality, though, and can be uncomfortable to sit on in colder months.

Fabric: the more budget material available, it is available in a massive variety of colours thanks to dying. Fabric is comfortable, although there are increasing degrees of quality depending on how much you spend. The nature of this material means users can be prone to sweat in warm workplaces and, over time, may require extensive upkeep to maintain hygiene.

Mesh: one of the more recent material types on the market, mesh is springy and comfortable and, thanks to the many holes in the material, it promotes constant airflow, reducing sweat and being overall more hygienic than fabric.

Poly: varying plastic materials can be used in seating, and they are very hardwearing and easy to maintain. However, without upholstery, plastic can be cold to the touch, promote sweat and is uncomfortable for longer periods of sitting. These are best used for visitor or occasional seating.

Mobility

Some models of operator chairs, or more particularly draughtsman chairs, are fixed, while others have a base with wheels or castors. Castors are more suitable for office work where you may be required to carry out work at different parts of a desk, as this prevents the need for getting in and out of the chair too often. Fixed chairs are better for work at counters.

Types of office chairs

Next Day Office Chairs

Next Day is our range of office chairs with fast and free next day delivery included in the price. If you need your office chairs in a hurry, this selection is perfect for you, with everything from executive leather chairs to standard office chairs and visitor seating.

Executive Leather Chairs

Leather is a timeless, prestige material that is made to last and gives that sumptuous executive feeling you’re looking for. Perfect for executive offices and boardrooms, we have a range of leather chairs to suit every requirement. From budget offerings to more expensive, antique style chairs, there’s something to suit everyone here.

Operator Chairs

Operator chairs are the standard office chairs we’re all familiar with and we carry a full range including fabric, leather and poly with varying degrees of adjustability and ergonomic features.

Executive Fabric Chairs

Some people prefer the comfort of fabric over leather but still want that executive feel. We carry a large range of executive or ‘manager’ fabric chairs; bigger than operator chairs and more comfortable too, they are ideal for large offices or executive office spaces.

Conference Chairs

For large meetings or conferences, it’s likely that you won’t want to shell out on a lot of individual operator chairs. That’s why we carry a full range of conference chairs. Available in a variety of styles and colours, including space-saving stackable chairs and conference chairs with built-in writing tablets, there’s something here whatever your requirements, whether business or educational.

Chair Mats

Available in PVC, PET and Polycarbonate, chair mats are ideal for spaces with hard wood flooring or for preventing slips. They are also useful for certain types of carpets and come in a range of sizes and styles.

Education Anti-Tamper Chairs

Anti-tamper chairs are specifically designed for use in educational environments and typically have reduced adjustability (sometimes with or without one gas level for height adjustment). This prevents young children from trapping their fingers or hands in lever functions or adjustable back rests more common in office chairs. They can also be used in higher education, where the anti-tamper function prevents constant re-adjustment as students come in and out of classes, which prolongs the lifespan of the chairs.

Lab Chairs

Lab chairs are similar to draughtsman chairs, and there is some overlap in the naming, but generally, lab chairs are more commonly available as stools. Designed to sit at higher tables, they come in metal and wooden stackable styles or poly work stools that are adjustable.

Workshop Chairs

Similar to lab chairs, there is significant overlap here with draughtsman chair styles, although we carry ranges that are made specifically for factories, labs and workshops, including models that are designed for use in ESD (Electro Static Discharge) areas.

Stools

Stools lack the back rest more common in operator chairs and are often used for industrial, workshop, beauty or retail functions. We carry a massive range of stools available in a variety of materials and varying levels of adjustability, as well as work stools with integrated tool compartments and those designed for use in food and drink service industries.

Vinyl Chairs

Vinyl is hard wearing and comes in a variety of bright colours, making it a particularly popular material for use in educational establishments. It is also suitable for health care areas as it reduces the risk of bacterial contamination and can be very easily cleaned.

Enviro Leather Chairs

This range of leather chairs is designed with Enviro Leather, using leather cutting that are recycled to create environmentally friendly materials without cutting back on the luxury feel of real leather. The material is also more durable and hardwearing than natural leather, and significantly cheaper too, meaning you can prioritise your company’s sustainability remit without breaking the bank.

Static Dissipative Chairs

ESD (Electro Static Discharge) areas are common in the blue chip and technologies industries, where fragile components can be destroyed by discharge. This range of chairs in a variety of styles is “static dissipative”, meaning they prevent static building by grounding, or discharging static electricity into the ground.

Assembled Chairs

A massive range of chairs in all kinds of styles, materials and adjustability that are delivered to you assembled instead of flat-packed. Please check specifications as we can’t deliver assembled to some parts of the UK. However, these are ideal if you want to get up and running as soon as the chairs arrive, with no assembly required.

Kneeler Chairs

Kneeler chairs have become popular in recent years as the position in which you use them promotes a better posture than standard operator chairs. You kneel into the fully-upholstered padding, promoting dynamic sitting that is seen to engage the abdominal and back muscles, promoting fitness and reducing the chances of musculoskeletal disorders that can come from sitting in standard chairs for too long.

Chiropod Orthopaedic Chairs

Incredibly well-made and very comfortable operator or office chairs that are designed to promote good back health. They use a pretensioned strapping in the back of the chair to support the back while sitting and the waterfall front seat promotes circulation by alleviating the pressure on the thighs.

Therapod Orthopaedic Chairs

Similar to Chiropod, the Therapod differs in that the back straps are uniquely adjustable, shaping the chair back from improved comfort and support. Available in a variety of styles and colours, with or without adjustable arm rests.

Ergohuman Office Chairs

Ergonomics is a crucial factor in modern chair design and the Ergohuman range takes this further; fusing science and art, these chairs have flex zones that ensure constant support of the back and lumbar while sitting, meaning they adapt to your movements over the course of the day. They are ideal for those who are seated for long periods of time, and are available in a variety of styles in mesh or leather.

Antique Replica Office Chairs

For the absolute best in executive style and sumptuous quality, our antique replica range is a must. With traditional style leather, wooden armrests and mahogany coloured bases. These are also available in replicas of such famous styles as the Gainsborough, Chesterfield, Ascot and Admiral chairs and sofas. The best in quality and design!

Visitor Chairs

Similar to conference chairs but with a broader range of styles, visitor chairs are designed for waiting and reception areas where the chairs will be regularly used for short periods of time. Give your visitors the comfort they deserve and choose from stackable, 4-leg or cantilever frame designs in a wide choice of material and colour options.

Mesh Chairs

Mesh materials are one of the more recent innovations in office chair designs. Where both fabric and leather can promote sweat, and leather can be uncomfortable to sit on in colder months, mesh is a breathable yet comfortable material that promotes airflow and prevents sweat. Available in a great range of stunning modern designs and bright colours with choices to suit any budget.

Folding Chairs

If space is at a premium for your meeting or conference spaces, choose from our great range of folding chairs. Easily folder up for storage when not in use, they are available in a range of styles and materials and many styles come in bulk packs.

Banquet Chairs

A particular style of chair that was commonly used for receptions and banquets, they are now commonly also used for meetings and conferences. Sturdy, comfortable and stackable, they are available in a wide range of designs and colours to suit any environment.

Beam Seating

Beam seating is perfect for indoor and outdoor public use. Coming in 2 or 3-seat varieties, they are fixed together like benches and are great for reception areas or events. The beam design prevents visitors from moving seats around, which is perfect for public areas where you would prefer people to sit in specific places. They are available in poly, upholstered and wood finish styles.

Draughtsman Chairs

Draughtsman chairs sit higher than standard operator chairs and have a height adjustable foot ring. This makes them ideal for retail, workshop or creative industries where the surface you sit at is higher than a standard desk. They are ergonomically designed to be adjustable, making them comfortable for sitting at height for long periods. We carry a massive range of all materials, styles and colours.

Occasional Chairs

Tub, lounge stool or lounge chair styles; whatever style you choose, this range is designed for comfort and occasional use. They are perfect for reading areas, breakout spaces and quiet spots where you want to kick back and relax a little.

24-Hour Office Chairs

Designed to last, this durable yet comfortable range of chairs is built for continuous 24-hour use. Whether for environments with long shift patterns, 24-hour rotas or hot desking policies, you can buy from this range safe in the knowledge that they can cope with repeated, regular use. Many come with next day delivery and impressive manufacturer’s guarantees.

Leather Recliners

Perhaps not the typical office chair, the leather recliner is instead built for relaxation and comfort. With chunky, fully-cushioned seats and matching foot stools, these represent the height of luxury and ease. Available with a variety of solid wooden bases.

Ergonomic Back Supports

If you already have a favourite chair but could be doing with a little extra support, our range of back supports has you covered. Available in soft touch fabrics or mesh, as well as a top of the line heat and soothe support model, they attached to the back of the chair, giving you comfort and support throughout the day.

Chair Trucks & Trolleys

If you regularly hold large meetings or conferences, storing all of the individual chairs can be a time-consuming and potentially dangerous job. Take the time and hard graft out of storing all your chairs by choosing a chair trolley or truck. Designed for stacking and folding chairs, we carry a variety of styles to suit every purpose.

 

 

 

General best practices when buying office chairs

When making any kind of capital purchases for your business, and particularly something like office chairs that are going to see repeated daily use, you want to make sure that you make the right purchase. However, there are some things to watch out for, especially if you’re shopping online. Follow best practice and ensure that you’re getting the best quality products from a great supplier at the best possible price.

Here are some of our top tips for purchasing office chairs in the best way possible.

Do your homework

There’s a wealth of options at your fingertips with regards to choosing a supplier, thanks to online shopping. You could choose a preferred supplier, a well-known High Street name, a reputable supplier you’ve only just heard of or even an obscure online-only retailer. There are no right or wrongs here, just make sure you do your homework to ensure that your chosen supplier is reputable, trustworthy and legitimate before you hand over any money.

Some of the major red flags to look out for when you’re shopping online include:

  • Security warnings or red flags from your browser or anti-virus software. Most modern browsers have robust security warnings built-in; always heed these.
  • Most retailers will provide customer feedback or reviews on their site; be wary if you don’t see any reviews.
  • Legitimate retailers should post their registered office address and a phone number online; if they don’t, or you only see PO Box addresses, look elsewhere.
  • Companies invest a lot of money in making sure that their websites are up to scratch, as it’s a significant part of marketing in the modern era. Beware sites with outdated designs, broken or bad links or images, or poor spelling and grammar.
  • If prices seem too good to be true, they probably are; look for the catch.
  • Avoid very young or new businesses or websites.

It’s never been easier than it is today to check the authenticity of a website. You can use the ‘whois’ service; just input a URL or IP address and it will provide you with details of the registered owner, including an address and how long the site has been running. Site owners can choose to hide their details behind those of their hosting company, but this is mainly for private individuals; watch out for companies who do this as they may not be trustworthy.

Scammers have become incredibly sophisticated recently and can even clone or mirror legitimate sites as a way to phish for credit card of other information. Thankfully, though, most modern browsers will spot this, but always go with your gut if something doesn’t seem right.

Even if the website is authentic, you should be wary of buying from very young or new websites. They won’t have a proven track record and, even if they offer cut down prices, you could find yourself in difficulty if they go out of business. Any warranties or guarantees could be null and void if they go into administration, leaving you to shell out for replacements of faulty or defective goods.

Look for customer reviews

Reading through product reviews can be an excellent way to gain more information as well as different pros and cons of a particular item. While loads of 5-star reviews are great, sometimes that single 1-star review contains the most important information for your particular requirements.

However, don’t assume that a bad review equates to a bad product. Sometimes customers choose the wrong product for the job, or don’t properly read through the specifications. And occasionally, bad reviews blame factors outside of the control of the manufacturer or retailer.

Take in the full sweep of reviews, selecting from different scores, and use the average rating to guide you. As well, look to see if the retailer has responded to negative feedback; sometimes their response can be more revealing, showing that they handle problems well.

Compare the prices

Not every retailer is the same, and once you know what kind of product you want to buy, it’s worthwhile shopping around to find the best price. You can easily compare prices on like for like products simply by visiting a few different sites, or by using a price comparison site or browser add-on. Always make sure you gather a few quotes before making your final decision.

It can sometimes be worth getting in touch with a retailer to discuss a product in more detail. For example, if you’re not sure exactly how a product works, there’s a specification you don’t see listed, or you’d just like some advice on what product might best suit your requirements.

When you’re on the phone to them, it could be worthwhile asking if they offer a discount for first time buyers or you’re setting up a credit account, for instance. Some suppliers will offer a discount as a way to secure repeat business, and if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Headline prices are obviously important, but always ensure that you’re aware of all the other costs that might be involved in the purchase too. Some of the most common unexpected charges can include:

  • VAT: Currently standing at 20% in the UK, this represents a large proportion of the overall cost of your purchase. Some retailers show prices exclusive of VAT, while others will include it; just make sure you know which is which when you’re considering cost.
  • Import/export taxes: Overseas retailers can often offer you massively discounted prices, but before you jump for these savings, consider that you might be charged import/export fees. These are set by Customs, not the retailer, so you won’t be aware of them until you take delivery. They can be hefty too, especially with large items, so do an online search to see if you can gauge what, if anything, you might be expected to pay.
  • Delivery: Here at Equip4Work, we offer free delivery on the majority of our products to mainland UK addresses. However, other suppliers might charge you for this and it can be a significant amount, so always make sure you’re aware if these charges will be applied.
  • Express: If you need your items fast, you could be charged a large fee for express couriering. Equip4Work offers many lines that are available with Next Day delivery at no extra cost; talk to our Sales Advice team if you want more information.
  • Admin: It’s relatively rare to see an admin fee applied to a transaction nowadays, but it’s always worth checking, especially if you’re making your purchase on a credit account. Always make sure your invoice matches what you expected to pay.

Price isn’t everything, though, especially when it comes to buying items for your business. You also need excellent customer care, high quality products that are built to last, as well as top class aftercare including warranties or guarantees. Make sure you factor these into your decision-making too.

 

Only buy what you need!

Lastly, make sure that you only purchase what you need for your specific requirements. It’s tempting to go for the latest designs or new technologies, but that could mean you pay over the odds for features you don’t really need. Evaluate everything based on your requirements, going back to the answers you gained from the ‘Questions to ask before buying’ section, and avoid anything that seems gimmicky or unnecessary.

It’s also important that, while you should invest some time in planning a purchase, that you don’t get stuck in a loop of endless decision making. The longer you spend planning, the longer you go without the benefits of the products you’re looking for. Ascertain your needs, narrow down your search and choose the right products and they’ll seen be winging their way to you.

Further information

Here at Equip4Work, we have a massive range of office chairs to suit every kind of industry and requirement. All of our products come with clear photos, useful descriptions, full specifications and upfront pricing.

However, if you need any help with your purchase, such as a specification you can’t see, or you’d just like some advice on choosing the right office chairs for your business, our Sales Advice Team would be happy to help you.

Just call us on 08444 999 222, email us at sales@equip4work.co.uk or complete the contact form on our site and we’ll get back to you.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:01 am