In the working class, the average office employee sits on an office chair for more than thirty hours a week.
In fact, any typical person can spend up to half of their day just sitting. Although this is often an overlooked aspect of their day-to-day life, sitting for prolonged periods of time on the wrong chair can have significant negative consequences.
How Ergonomic Chairs Improve Productivity at Work
Over the last couple of decades, this issue has come to light, and research on the effects of poorly designed chairs has been compiled to create more ergonomically correct products.
Today, an ergonomic chair addresses every sitting need that an individual could ask for, and they range in price from a hundred to several thousand dollars. Although many are aware of this option, people have continuously chosen to suffer at the hands of a cheaper chair in the name of saving money.
But what if I told you that choosing the cheaper chair might actually end up costing more in chiropractic adjustments, pain medicine, happiness, and our overall productivity at work?
Sitting has short and long-term effects on our bodies, some of which can snowball into chronic pain that lasts a lifetime and impacts our ability to work properly.
Negative Effects of Poorly-Designed Chair
A poorly designed chair regularly leads to adverse health effects.
One of these is the shortening of our hip flexors, the group of muscles near the top of our thighs that allow us to move the lower body with a wide range of motion. When the hip flexors shorten from prolonged periods of sitting in a non-ergonomic chair, the results are tight hips which can make it difficult to move around and significant discomfort.
Depending on the severity, this may take a long time to fix or never completely go away.
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Along with hip discomfort, sitting in a chair that does not offer adequate support for the majority of the day has been known to promote and worsen bad posture.
Although this may seem trivial and insignificant, poor posture causes the discs in our spines to become compressed. This steady compression hinders the nutrition that the discs are able to receive, and in the long term leads to premature degeneration and chronic pain for the individual.
Poor posture from sitting in a regular chair also leads to the stiffening of shoulders and our necks. This tension easily creates the headaches, migraines, and irritability that desk workers regularly voice their concerns over. There are ergonomic principles that you can follow which may prevent help but getting a good chair is equally as important.
Significant and prolonged discomforts such as these impact every aspect of our lives, including our sleeping patterns, ability to exercise, productivity, and overall happiness. At work, sitting in a non-ergonomic chair from 9 am to 5 pm, five days of the week leads to decreased working capabilities for a multitude of reasons.
When using non-ergonomic chairs at work, we are forced to take a large number of breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around in order to compensate for the unbearable muscle and joint pains. Although occasional work breaks are necessary, those who sit in uncomfortable chairs are much more likely to take these breaks prematurely and excessively than would otherwise be necessary.
When seated, these individuals are also regularly changing positions and stretching in response to the discomfort they are in. Though brief, these pauses yield only temporary results and can significantly impact workflow as they interrupt ideas, thoughts, and creativity.
It is no secret that discomfort in the workplace also leads to frustration, irritability, headaches, and decreased career satisfaction. Those who spend the majority of their workday sitting in lousy chairs are significantly less likely to enjoy their work, becoming less motivated and resulting in subpar, uninspired, and even incomplete work.
In the long-term, workers who experience spinal damage, hip tension, or shoulder stiffness spend more time and money in correcting these issues. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to prolonged leaves from work and require hefty workers’ compensation.
In the best-case scenario, these workers carry their discomfort and pain with them in every aspect of their life, including their sleep. Those who suffer from chronic pain also suffer from irregular sleeping patterns and tireless nights, an issue that carries over to daytime work when their lack of rest impacts their ability to focus on their job.
To put it simply, sitting in the wrong chair leads to injuries that create serious workplace health and safety issues.
The Difference an Ergonomic Chair Makes
So, what difference does an ergonomic chair make? Researchers say quite a lot.
An ergonomic chair is designed to be adjustable and made suitable to the unique needs of individuals using it. Various heights, armrests, backrests, and much more are integrated into these chairs to allow users to sit comfortably for extended periods of time.
They are created with the intention of curbing the negative effects that regular chairs have, providing the right support to help workers maintain proper posture, reduce lower back and neck pains, reduce pressure on the hips, and decrease the long-term pain that users would otherwise experience.
In turn, the reduction of bodily strain creates room for increased mental flow and productivity.
Workers who are comfortable can spend less of their work time taking breaks from their desk and redirect that time to effectively accomplishing the daily goals at their jobs, utilizing the lack of interruptions to create a mental state of flow and focus.
Comfort in the workplace creates workers who are more satisfied with their careers, are less stressed and are motivated to produce high-quality content.
Decreased frustrations and tension allow workers to separate their jobs from their personal life as they do not have to carry the muscle and joint pain from an uncomfortable chair everywhere they go. Individuals can go home at the end of the workday, rest, and be alert for the following day.
Chairs are Crucial to One’s Productivity
Though this is regularly overlooked, our chairs make a critical impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of workers. Happy and healthy workers can dedicate more time to effectively and successfully doing their jobs, short and long-term.
The chair we choose to sit in at the workplace can be the difference between a productive day and an idle one.
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