Office chairs rarely feature as a discussion item in business meetings. We take office chairs for granted, yet they play an essential role in our productivity. And, what’s more, shocking is that most companies would rather apply duct tape to broken office chairs instead of replacing them.
As a result, you may have to keep using your office chair long after it’s surpassed its lifetime, and that can be detrimental to your health and productivity. After all, a chair is an essential part of an office’s ergonomic concerns. Even worse, continuing to sit on that rickety chair can lead to heart conditions or chronic back pain.
But, the problem is most of us don’t know when to replace an office chair. Fortunately, we’ve prepared a few tips that will guide you.
Factors Affecting an Office Chair’s Longevity
Chairs, like food, come with an expiry date. The major difference is that they don’t come with a “sell-by date.” This is because office chairs feature sturdy materials that remain useful even past the chair’s effectiveness. You can also store office chairs indefinitely without worrying about them deteriorating in the structure; the way food decays with time.
This factor gives us the illusion that an office chair can last forever. However, office chairs deteriorate with time and repeated use. They mostly come equipped with 7 – 10 year warranties, but you can still use them past this given use period. So, most companies don’t replace them unless they break beyond use.
Here are a few factors that affect the life expectancy of office chairs:
Chairs are susceptible to the degrading effects of dust, moisture, UV rays, and other natural contaminants. The least you could do is ensure frequent cleaning of all surfaces and oiling of movable parts such as casters. This initiative can enhance the durability factor. But, it’s merely a way of forestalling the inevitable.
Most warranties cover 8 hour daily shifts spread out over a 5-6 day work week. Using an office chair for multiple shifts without making some heavy-duty adjustments lowers its life expectancy.
Office chairs feature different types of textiles in their upholstery. That’s why we have the Double Rub rating system: It groups different fabrics according to their durability. These ratings also factor in dirt and grime resistance.
So, your chair might not last for long if its fabrics rank low on this rating system.
All office chairs come with a prescribed user weight limit. The problem is it’s hard to determine how much weight they can handle; your office furniture dealer should provide this information to you. So, a user that’s over the weight limit may unintentionally damage the chair with continued use. The chair may take a few years to show signs of abuse, sometimes shortly after the warranty period expires.
A chair needs to be paired to the right user to ensure it lasts longer. For instance, a chair with armrests may be inappropriate for users that wear tool belts like handypersons, security guards, or law enforcement personnel. Their belts may damage the armrest and upholstery. So, an armless chair may produce a better pairing for the needs of such users.
What Signs Show You it’s Time for a New Chair?
Let’s cast the spotlight back to the question that brought us here in the first place: When should you get a new office chair?
Well, the simple answer is it depends on a myriad of factors since it’s such a subjective question.
Here are the most important reasons that may guide you towards a satisfactory answer:
1. Look and Feel
Appearance and aesthetic considerations are essential for most organizations. A worn-out office chair may be off-putting in the eyes of a prospective client, especially if they have to sit on them. You can relegate such chairs to backroom usage, but it would be a source of discomfort for whoever uses it. Therefore, it’s more prudent to replace it instead of shifting it out of sight.
2. Progressive aches and pains throughout the day
A sure sign that your chair is overdue for a replacement is if it starts getting uncomfortable a few hours into your shift. Some minor adjustments may help resolve the issue. But, fiddling with an adjustable lever is counter-productive, especially if you still experience discomfort after a few minutes.
If that’s always the case, then you may have settled for a sub-standard chair, to begin with. Whatever the case, this is a sign that your chair’s best days are past, and it may be time to consider parting ways.
3. Worn Out Cushions
Cushioning is an essential aspect of comfort and support. The cushions on your backrest, seat, and armrest sustain loads of compression from hours of use. Flattened or worn-out cushions create a lot of tension on your glutes, forearm, and spinal muscles.
Such tension can lead to severe muscle aches and pains, so it may be wise to look for a new Ergonomic office chair when you start feeling like you’re sitting on a pile of rocks.
4. Visible Signs of Damage
Whenever something breaks, it’s only natural to ask, “Do I need to replace it?” Well, when your office chair breaks, it becomes unsuitable for the task at hand. Some duct tape here or super glue there can fix minor damage. But it won’t do much for a chair that’s fallen into pieces.
Sure, you can keep applying minor fixes. However, it can lead to unsatisfying results. Imagine applying duct tape to faux-leather chairs to the point where you have more tape than leather. Loose or stuck caster presents a challenge that would take too much time and effort to correct. You can’t do much to repair the adjustment mechanisms once they get damaged.
Get yourself the best new office chair to save you from this kind of stress. That way, you can go back to focusing on meeting your bottom line.
5. Your Intuition
It pays to roll with your gut feeling. When your body tells you that your chair is no longer right for you, don’t fight it; embrace your intuition and look for something new. Your body and productivity suffer when you persist in using an uncomfortable chair. And, it’s not just with worn-out chairs. Brand new office chairs can also present such issues. Consider replacing your chair if it’s still uncomfortable after making several adjustments.
Factors Worth Considering When Getting a New Office Chair
Letting go of an old office chair opens you to a world of infinite possibilities. The market is flooded with both quality products and knock-off brands. So, settling for the best ergonomic office chair can be challenging.
The following factors will guide you in making a worthy purchase:
Adjustable Lumbar Support
Ergonomic office chairs contour with your spine to ensure adequate support and comfort. This supportive feature is highly recommended by ergonomists. It significantly reduces the strain that causes chronic back and neck pain.
3D lumbar support takes your comfort a notch higher. Chairs with such support can be adjusted for maximum head and backrest support. So you should look out for such features when shopping for a new office chair.
Sometimes, you’d like to take a break or eat lunch at your desk. There are also those days when there’s a lull in your schedule, and you find yourself kicking back with your workmates to help pass the time. Sitting with your back straightened through such instances can get cumbersome.
An office chair with a minimum tilt control of 450 ensures your spine remains perfectly aligned as you recline. It also gives you the freedom to go from a reclined to a straight-up ramrod posture at the flick of a switch.
Adjustable Seat Depth
People take different shapes and sizes. Nobody likes to rest their posterior on a small seat, whether they’re on the plump or petit side of the spectrum. An ergonomic office chair with an adjustable seat depth solves the issues that might hinder your efforts when trying to equip all your employees with comfortable chairs.
Do you often find that there isn’t enough leg room under your desk? If you’re tall, then this feature is a must-have. It ensures you don't squeeze your legs beneath your desk, especially when the office chair is paired with a height-adjustable desk.
Armrests add loads of aesthetic appeal to an ergonomic office chair. They also allow you to rest your elbows on your seat. This takes all the weight off your shoulders and neck, relieving the stress that causes aches and pains.
Is there anything better than a cushioned armrest? Well, you can get more comfort and support from a chair with a 4D armrest. This feature contours ideally to your forearm as you can adjust it in 4 dimensions for maximum support.
The Construction Material
An ergonomic chair can appear tacky and feel uncomfortable if it’s made using the wrong materials. These days many organizations prefer fabric chairs over faux-leather chairs. Mesh office chairs offer unwavering contoured support.
They are also more breathable and wick moisture away from your back and shoulders. This ensures you stay cool and dry even when things get hot under your collar.
Stress-Free Height Adjustment Controls
A non-height adjustable office chair is not worth the hustle. A height-adjustable office chair enhances your comfort by allowing you to sit in the proper posture. But, you also don’t want to pop your head under the seat when customizing the height.
So opting for an office chair with flexible height adjustment controls helps save time that you can use to focus on your other tasks.
What is the Importance of End-of-Life Planning?
You may get attached to your office chairs. But, it’s essential to understand that nothing lasts forever. Therefore preparing for the sweet sorrow of goodbye is essential in moving on and having a productive office life.
Most companies include their seating needs as part of their annual capital expenses. Chairs have a shorter lifespan when compared to other office necessities such as a microwave or a water cooler. So, it makes sense to make frequent budgetary allocations to account for such lifespans.
Your company can consider replacing 20% of their seats every year. That way, you can easily replace all your office chairs in five years.
You’ve Tried the Rest: Why Not Settle on the Best Ergonomic Office Chair?
The best way to get a new office chair is by getting it at the right time. If you're sitting on an old, worn-out chair that can't provide any support for your spine, then it's time to change chairs now! It may take some trial and error, but eventually, you'll find the perfect fit for your needs. Once you do, we recommend taking care of it so that you can extend the chair’s lifespan.
If you want to make your office chair purchase as easy and painless as possible, then the Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair is for you. These chairs are ergonomically designed with many features that will help ease any back problems or other ailments that come from sitting in a traditional desk chair all day long. Plus, they’re made of durable fabric, which means they won’t wear out like those more costly leather models do over time. The only question left unanswered now is; how soon will you get this fantastic office chair?