Frequently Asked Questions
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Work and Task Chairs
Task seating is an ideal choice for individuals spending large amounts of time seated at their workstations, dedicated to certain tasks. Task, or Operator, chairs are "ergonomically" designed to work with you. Easily adjustable chair surfaces allow you to move around freely and help to maintain support for your back, legs, and arms as you change body positions. Task chairs can be the difference between absolute comfort and irritating distress.
Managerial or Executive, office seating is designed to provide hours of comfort, for the manager that is the sole user of his/her chair. Traditional managerial seating comes equipped with a high, wide back, deep seat, and 'ergonomic' features to facilitate the time spent at a desk, computer or workstation. Modern work ethics require a comfortable chair which will encourage the user to remain productive throughout the often long work week. Although Management seating does not offer as many seating adjustment options as many other chairs, today's executives can take advantage of sophisticated knee-tilt and other tilter mechanisms. These will ensure that feet are kept flat on the floor for added comfort. For the executive, Management seating is often covered in a Luxhide textile.
Formal meetings, impromptu team gatherings, and presentations are typical business situations all requiring stylized, conference seating. The traditional boardroom setting is migrating towards conference meeting rooms flavored by the culture and traditions unique to the individual organization. These conference areas can be furnished with Task, Guest or Management seating – the choice is entirely yours!
Guest seating or side chairs are generally offered with a sled base or as a four-legged chair without casters. Guest chairs often function as a comfortable seating solution for short periods of time, most commonly in a waiting area. Designed to complement Executive and Task seating, these chairs are usually available with or without arms.
A contoured backrest will give your back the comfort and support it needs. Pick a chair shaped to match the natural contour of your spine.
Look for 'waterfall' seat cushions that slope down at the front of the chair. This important ergonomic feature helps improve circulation to your lower legs.
Rest your arms. Armrests help keep your arms in a comfortable position, reducing shoulder, neck and back strain. Offices to Go's height/tilt adjustable models are especially good.
The pneumatic height adjustment on a chair lets you alter your seating position throughout the day with a smooth, easy, one-touch action.
Please remain seated. Make sure all adjustment controls can be reached from a seated position. Keep moving. Multi-tilt and operator mechanisms are important for data entry or computer work. They let you vary your position while maintaining maximum support.
Good chairs have casters for easy mobility. Be sure to get the right kind for your floor. Choose a chair with a choice of casters designed for carpets, hard surfaces or a combination.
• Pneumatic Level for Manual Height Adjustment
• Seat Depth Adjustment
• Back Angle Tension Control
• Fixed Back
• Back Height Adjustment
Application: Clerical, General Office
• Tilt-Tension Control
• Pneumatic Height Adjustment
Application: Executive, Management
• Tilt-Tension Control
• Pneumatic Height Adjustment
• Back Angle Adjustment
• Multi-Tilt with Infinite Tilt-Lock Control
• Manual Back Height Adjustment
• Forward and Rearward Seat-Tilt
Application: Management, Multi-Task, Dedicated Keyboard Operator
• Tilt-Tension Control
• Pneumatic Height Adjustment
• Synchro-Tilt with Infinite Tilt-Lock Control
• Dual-Tilt with Two to One Tilting Ratio
• Anti-Kick Back
Application: Executive, Management
• Tilt-Tension Control
• Pneumatic or Manual Height Adjustment
• Infinite Tilt-Lock Control
• Tilt Action
Application: Supervisor, Meeting Room, General Office
Back Angle – Back angle adjusts forward and rearward. Some chairs lock in an infinite number of positions
Back Height – Back height adjusts up and down and locks in various positions
Seat Angle – Seat angle adjusts independently of the backrest using a single lever
Seat Depth – The backrest can be moved in and out to allow additional seat depth
Seat Height – Seat height can be increased or decreased with either a pneumatic or manual adjustment
Forward Tilt – A 6 degree forward seat tilt is available if desired or it can be locked out
Multi-Tilt – Seat and back tilt simultaneously at the same ratio. Multi-tilt action can be locked out in an infinite number of positions
Knee-Tilt – Seat and back tilt simultaneously at the same ratio from a pivot point under the front of the seat. Knee-tilt action can be locked in an infinite number of positions
Synchro-Tilt – Seat and back tilt at a two to one ratio. Synchro-tilt action can be locked in an infinite number of positions
Tilt-Control – Seat and back tilt simultaneously at the same ratio. A tilt-lock control is available on some models
Tilt-Tension – Degree of tilt tension can be increased or decreased
Swivel – 360 degree swivel only. Chair does not tilt. Fixed height chairs do not tilt
At the center of your office chair is the mechanism which interacts with you through different seating functions. Each individual has a unique, optimal comfort level when seated. Chair mechanisms are offered in a variety of designs which all provide a different degree of manual or automatic adjustment. The user should consider a pneumatic cylinder which gives you "finger-tip" seat height adjustment. Your daily work routine will help you to decide which style of mechanism is best suited to your needs.
There are three seating positions in the workplace pertaining to proper ergonomics.
• Forward/Recline Position – Dedicated Tasks
• Upright Position – Dedicated Tasks and Multi-Task
• Backward/Recline Position – Relaxed Position
To Adjust An Ergonomic Chair
Stand in front of the chair.
Adjust the height so the highest point of the seat is just below the knee cap.
Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, when you sit.
This allows you to place your feet on the floor insuring good circulation in the legs.
Use a footrest if the feet cannot rest flat on the floor or if there is pressure underneath the thighs. The footrest should be adjustable and support the whole foot.
Sit so that the clearance between the front edge of the seat and the upper part of the legs behind the knee, is at least one finger width.
Adjust the back height to provide support to the lumbar or lower back area. This will help you to maintain correct posture and reduce back pain.
Adjust the seat angle by unlocking the mechanism to tilt the seat forward or rearward when working for extended periods of time. This mimimizes pressure on the underside of the thighs and reduces tension on back muscles.
Adjust the back angle to provide firm support and help reduce back fatigue.
Adjust the optional armrest height to your comfort.
If using a fixed height worksurface, raise the chair to obtain the proper arm and upper body position.
Adjust chair height so elbows are about the same height as the worksurface.
Armrests are an important comfort feature of your chair. For some seating models, armrests can be added to armless chairs, and standard arms can be replaced with optional arms.
Raises the shoulders tensing the muscle
Places you in a leaning posture
Closes the rib cage around the lungs
Reducing your capacity to draw oxygen that the blood needs to carry to your muscles
Too Far Apart
Shoulders will overwork
Interferes with relaxed keystrokes
Not able to place your hands on your lap when not in use (should do this as often as possible, palms facing down, to let the whole system relax)
Requires extra muscular effort to keep your arms on them
DO'S AND DON'TS
Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Injury Information Clearinghouse indicates that people are sometimes hurt by falling from chairs. Usually resulting in bumps, bruises, strains and sprains, these injuries are almost always easily treated. It is still important however, to take adequate precautions to prevent injuries before they occur. This document can help you maintain the safe use of your office chair.
Always follow the assembly directions completely. Make sure all the pieces are placed in proper order so that the chair stays tight and together.
Pay special attention to making sure the casters or wheels are fully inserted into the base of the unit.
Look for office chairs that have a 5-legged base.
Every 6 months or so, make sure all the parts of the chair are tightened to ensure stability.
Always keep the base of the chair completely on the floor.
Most office chairs are equipped with casters for use on carpeted surfaces. For other surfaces, speak to your retailer or manufacturer for appropriate custom selection.
Many office chairs are equipped with a tension control on the mechanism to compensate for different body weights. Always ensure that the control is properly adjusted, resulting in a smooth and controlled tilt motion.
Don't lean so far back in your chair that the wheels or legs lift up off the floor. Leaning can cause the chair to slip out from under you, cause structural damage, or can loosen important connections that can cause the chair to fall apart.
Never put all your weight at the very front edge of the chair. If you sit too far forward, the chair can tip over. Use a chair with a forward tilt mechanism if the task requires sitting in a forward position.
Don't leave electrical appliances on upholstered chairs. Fire can result if they overheat. Be careful when smoking cigarettes or carrying lighted material around upholstered chairs.
Don't overwork your chair. Chairs in medical institutions or in other locations that are used 24 hours a day, get three times the use of a normal office chair. Inspect and maintain those chairs at least every 60 days.
Setting up a home office can often be difficult due to the demands of the home environment. Separating the responsibilities specific to the home from those of your work is often difficult to do. Keeping the physical location of your office away from the areas of heavy traffic in your home is a good start. To make this transition easier you should consider each of the following, as they apply to you:
• Effective time management
• Creating and following a priority list
• Rules for children and other members of the household
• Knowing when to take breaks
• The importance of exercise
• Allocating family time
How can I design a functional workspace?
A workspace is generally the area that can be swept by arm motions pivoting at the elbow with some shoulder movements and no upper body twisting. This main area is used for a variety of basic tasks including writing, reading and computer work. The size or span of the primary workspace should complement the task being performed.
Things To Consider, Possible Concerns and Solutions
Is your workstation used by more than you alone? Your work habits and personal body size may be quite different from those of the person you share with. Make sure all furnishings are easily adjusted to suit the needs of all parties.
Do you use a pointing device, such as a mouse? Overuse of the mouse and awkward posture could bring on repetitive strain injuries. Make sure you have a comfortable and stable platform for your pointing device (mouse), and your chair has armrests for additional support.
Extensive use of the telephone during key-stroking or writing. Fatigue due to holding the phone handset and operating a keyboard at the same time. Use a hands-free telephone or a phone head-set which will allow you to maintain a normal posture while operating your computer.
Tasks requiring computer use for extensive periods. Fatigue and discomfort from constantly sitting in the same position. Teach yourself to take small rest breaks, stretch your muscles and adjust your chair for a fresh posture position.
Handling and processing of a large amount of paper. Repetitive unnatural twisted reaching could cause repetitive strain injuries. Organize your primary work area to include the paper flow; additional desk tray organizers may be a cost-effective solution.
Determine your needs. Choose either a modern design or wood grain. Writing surfaces are pieces of furniture that are used quite a bit, so you’ll want a choice that finds and combines the best form and function.
Measure your workspace. If it’s a small area, you’ll need to take a look at a compact desk, possibly with hutches and lower storage compartments. If it’s a larger area, L-shaped or U-shaped might be an option.
Look for European connectors if you’re buying ready-to-assemble furniture. Global makes assembly easy – all you need is a screwdriver.
Avoid tangles. Make sure your desk has at least one grommet hole to keep computer and telephone wires out of the way.
Island worksurfaces let you meet with more than two people at once with ample leg room for all.
The study of the interactions between office workers and their work environments.
Fit the work environment and the tasks to the worker.
Increased health and comfort
Reduced risk of injury
The first thought that often comes to mind when one thinks of a good fit is physically fitting into the chair and workstation. There is more to a good fit than accommodating physical size and shape. A good fit also means your furniture allows you to continuously move from one posture to another and to perform your job tasks.
Simply put: Fit = Move + Match + Support
Your furniture should:
Allow you to move through a variety postures
Match your physical shape and size
Support your body and your tasks including your work tools
Move Condition of Fit
It has long been known that the human body was designed to move. The circulatory system, joints and spinal discs require movement for healthy functioning. As you move, your muscles help to pump blood through your body, which delivers nutrition to, and removes waste from, your tissues. In the absence of good blood flow, not only is food delivery reduced, waste products build up in your tissues that over time makes your muscles feel tired and sore. Movement also contributes to proper lubrication of your joints and proper nutrition of your spinal discs.
Even if your tasks don't require you to move, you must keep moving. When selecting furniture, look for features that allow movement. The chair mechanism has a lot to do with your options for movement as it includes the tilt feature e.g. multi-tilt, weight-sensing, synchro-tilt, knee-tilt. Make sure you choose the one that is right for you and your tasks. Other chair features that allow you to move from one posture to another include seat angle and back angle. Some workstations come with adjustable features that also allow you to move for example an articulating keyboard tray that allows you to change the position of your keyboard and mouse as you move from one posture to another.
Match Condition of Fit
Physically fitting into a chair or workstation is the easiest Fit condition for a user to judge. You know when your feet are dangling, or if the seat cushion is too long and pushes into the back of your calves or if the work surface feels too high. When your body dimensions are accommodated it helps contribute to good blood flow by minimizing pressure points. Also furniture that is properly matched to your body helps minimize awkward or extreme postures, for example raised shoulders, thereby minimizing unnecessary muscular effort.
Some chairs come in different sizes to address differences in body shape and size. Others offer adjustable features, for example seat height which allows you to match the seat height to your lower leg length. Some work surfaces are adjustable in height and others come with adjustable support surfaces and adjustable monitor arms to allow you to match the heights and distances of work tools to your relevant body dimensions.
Support Condition of Fit
Proper support ensures alignment of the upper body, which includes the neck, shoulders and upper back. When properly supported, the muscles in these areas are in the best position to aid breathing. If your lower back is not properly supported when seated, it either straightens or curves the wrong way.
Support for the lower back should allow the pelvis to be tilted slightly forward to ensure a natural lumbar curve in the seated posture. Stabilization of joints goes hand in hand with proper alignment. Well-designed and properly used furniture goes a long way to contributing to the proper support.
Chair features such as back/lumbar height, which allow you to position the lumbar support in the curve of your lower back, are designed to provide the support you need. When your work tools are properly supported it helps minimize muscle fatigue and pain. Workstation features such as keyboard tray height, keyboard tray angle, mouse surface height and horizontal mouse position are designed to contribute to proper support.