The right chair can work wonders; and it doesn't have to cost you a fortuneThe humble office chair is often overlooked. But no other piece of business equipment has a greater influence on how we feel at work, both physically and mentally. The wrong chair can cause a host of maladies, including lower-back problems, which is one of the most significant contributors to lost productivity in the American workplace.
Fancy office chairs start at about $700, but you can often save significantly on the upscale models by doing a little Web searching. Moreover, lower-end models can be just as comfortable and ergonomically correct, and are available for about $150 to $300. Things to look for in an office chair:
- Adjustable height, depth and tilt
- Lower-back support
- Arm rests, if you're a big computer user
Check out the big names in chairs
Consider lower-priced optionsOffice superstores sell serviceable and relatively inexpensive chairs. Just be careful not to get something too cheap – you may regret it later And avoid chairs designed for conference-room use: They're typically not designed for prolonged sitting.
Research ergonomic guidelinesNo matter how expensive or ergonomically correct your chair is, you can still sit in it wrong, so it's important to learn what causes lower-back problems, repetitive-strain injuries and carpal-tunnel syndrome.
ergonomic workstation. You can also find ergonomic guidelines at eHow and the American Chiropractic Association.
Consider ergonomic alternativesIf you're really concerned with ergonomics and preventing repetitive-strain injuries, there are a number of alternatives to the standard office chair, including kneeling chairs, which transfer some of the weight to the knees as you sit, and exercise-ball chairs, which promote proper posture and strengthen body core (the back and the abdomen).
- Chairs are all about how they feel, but you can get better prices online. Try researching your options in bricks-and-mortar stores but making your actual purchase on the Web.
- Watch the classified ads in your local paper for notices of upcoming office-furniture liquidations.
- Contact the purchasing departments at local corporations to find out about upcoming office-equipment sales. Companies often sell used chairs they no longer need.
- Look for public-auction notices in the business section of your local newspaper. Often, you can find good deals on great chairs from bankruptcies.
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