A question of height: How office chair height can cause a problem for some workers

Humanscale seating
A question of height: How office chair height can cause a problem for some workers

Office chairs are manufactured with an ‘average person’ in mind in terms of build, weight and height. If you fall outside of this category you could find yourself rather uncomfortable when you sit down at your desk. Over a period of weeks and months, that discomfort could change to postural problems and severe aches and pains. If you are considering investing in some Humanscale seating or in another type of office chair you may want to consider the importance of height when selecting the correct product.

Height and Humanscale seating – get it right!

To minimise the strain that you are placing on your spine when you are in a seated position you should aim to sit at an angle of around 110 degrees. This is termed an ‘open posture’ and it is much better for your back than the traditional 90 degree angle that used to be recommended.

Unfortunately, this position can be hard to achieve if you fall a long way outside the average. You will only feel comfortable if you have your feet resting squarely on the floor. If you are especially tall or particularly short, you may find it hard to get comfortable in many office chairs.

Height adjustable chairs are now fairly standard but office workers who are under 5 feet 5 inches in height often find that seat will not lower sufficiently for them to be able to rest both feet squarely on the floor. The resulting discomfort is caused by pressure on the thighs. This causes pain in the undersides of the legs and can even lead to back strain.

Tall people have no problem reaching the floor when they are seated but can only do so by bending at the pelvis so that the thighs are angled upwards. This tight angle quickly becomes uncomfortable as it puts a strain on the knees, thighs and spine.

Finding a solution to the height problem

The first step is to establish the correct height for your seat based on your height. You can do this by measuring the distance from the floor to the middle of your knee when you are standing up. Then select a gas lift for your chair that is capable of adjusting to an inch or so either side of this measurement. You may not need to replace the whole chair but if you do you should select a new one with an appropriate gas lift for your needs.

Some short people also find that they can help the problem by using an adjustable foot rest. It is also important to take account of leg length when selecting the depth of the seat as short people may find that the seat is too deep for them.

Take a look at the Office Furniture Online range of Humanscale seating for office workers who do not fall into the average category. We can help you provide postural health and comfort for all your employees.

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Author: John