If you're adventurous enough, the newest addition to your office equipment won't come with a touch screen, an Internet connection or a voice-activated mobile concierge. However, this low-tech investment could vastly improve productivity for every single employee.
So ask yourself: When was the last time you cared about chairs?
At the typical office, every worker has a very intimate relationship with their assigned seats. After all, these people rely on a chair's support for the entirety of the working day – unless of course you're one of those companies that believes in "standing desks." If you are, feel free to read on. You may be persuaded to switch back.
"An office chair is an extension of the person sitting in it."
An intelligently designed office chair can increase employee productivity by over 17 percent according to a study conducted in part by the Center for Ergonomic Research. All you, the business leader, need to look for are the right factors.
Go for adjustability first
As is the case with most things, customization is king. An office chair should be seen as an extension of the person sitting in it. As such, each person's idiosyncrasies need to be addressed with a chair with a full range of adjustability. Don't just stop at height modification. Employees need the ability to recline as well. Popular Science contends a backrest slightly tilting backward promotes better back health than sitting up straight at a 90 degree angle.
Uphold the upholstery
No other piece of workplace furniture will be put through the wringer harder than office chairs. They literally bear the brunt of your business's weight every single day, and they do it while providing your staff the utmost in comfort. Inevitably, however, certain folks may subject the upholstery to ink spots, coffee stains and any number of various condiments. Whether you choose leather, cloth or any other type of material, make sure your business also has the resources to keep them looking professional. Accidents happen.
As stated earlier, your average employee will need a chair to provide relief throughout the full workday, which could last eight or more hours. Temporary satisfaction won't cut it.
Think about computer keyboards for just a moment. Proper padding and typing technique can prevent carpal tunnel, even for the toughest tech jobs. Likewise, long hours spent sitting in any old office chair can interrupt blood circulation and ruin an employee's lower back. One way or another, an employer pays for every second your workers spend shifting in their seat, getting up to stretch or talking to each other about how crummy their office chairs are.
To avoid these problems, keep an eye on seat depth – the distance from the front of the seat to the backrest. Spine-health recommends finding a chair that allows the average employee between two to four inches between the back of his or her knees and the edge of the seat while still putting force on the backrest.
Things to think about
Other factors can help steer you toward the perfect chair. As Gear Patrol points out, some office equipment suppliers might be able to set up a consultation. The company will bring in several different styles that each of your employees can try. Maybe managers can organize a way for employees to vote on their favorites or air their concerns as to specifications that might not have been addressed in the choices.
Office technology industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in office technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.