Small Business Brief


What to Look For in an Office Chair

When it comes to choosing office equipment and furniture, you need to be sure you have the best of the best for your employees to feel safe and confident while they work. Here’s a guide to help you learn what to look for in an office chair.

Close your eyes and go back to your first adult job. Chances are high that you had a cubicle in a room full of standard workspaces. Cubicles are anything but glamorous; they’re small, isolating, and often, pretty uncomfortable.

Looking back now on such a setting, you’re probably filled with gratitude for your current office. But, you also owe it to your employees to provide the best workplace ergonomics possible.

This is especially true if you own a business because you call the shots when it comes to the office’s design and supplies. As such, you need to know what to look for in an office chair, considering employees spend most of their day sitting down and they need the proper support to do their best work.

To get the best seats for your team, pay close attention to the following.

Back Support

The overall support a chair provides often comes down to the back support it offers. There are other things to consider, but if the right back support isn’t there, your employees are sure to feel the consequences in their own backs.

Sitting without proper support can lead to injury over time or, at a minimum, sharp discomfort that gets in the way of a person’s workday. This is the main reason everyone needs an ergonomic computer chair. Such a chair will have:

  • waterfall seats
  • a full back
  • recline settings
  • a desirable width and depth
  • arm rests

Waterfall seats are cushions that curve down on the end of the chair. This slope prevents them from putting pressure on the back of the knees, which can be uncomfortable.

There is an exception to buying a chair with good back support – buying a standing desk stool instead. The right stools can actually support a person’s balancing abilities, rather than causing the kind of damage that sub-par seats can. Stools activate your core and encourage you to sit up straight.


Although armrests are in the features above, not any armrest will do. The best ones will fit close to the body. Otherwise, people have to stretch their arms to put them on the rest, which defeats the purpose because the shoulders won’t be able to relax.

This causes a strain on the body as each day progresses. It can lead employees to stop using armrests altogether or to slouch on their desks as an attempt to get some arm support. Both of these “solutions” are huge red flags. They may result in long-term pain that will need specific treatment to fix – like muscle relaxers, massage therapy, or a yoga membership.

Also, the armrests should be adjustable. Adjusting their position keeps rests from bumping into the desk or from sitting at an awkward place on a person’s torso. These aren’t a matter of pain, but they do play into how productive a person is every day.

Height Adjustments

Another thing that should be easy to adjust is the height of the chair from the ground. Think about it: not everyone is the same height standing up, so why should they have to sit in chairs that are the same height when sitting down?

It doesn’t even out. Every person needs to be able to sit with their feet touching the ground at a 90-degree angle. This relieves stress put on the lower back; it evens out a person’s distribution of weight so that it’s not concentrated on one part of the body.

Plus, the taller people in the office will thank you. They won’t feel as restricted in their seats with the ability to sit a little higher off the ground. For tall and short people alike, you can consider chairs with a footrest, too.

Breathable Material

The next thing to focus on when looking for ergonomic desk chairs is the kind of material each option is made with. The structural material doesn’t matter so much as the seat and cushioning fabrics do.

Your best bet is to find a chair made with memory foam or some other breathable material. This will come to fit each employee’s curves over time. Such a fabric transforms standard desk chairs into comfortable seats with a personal touch.

Breathable material also prevents a person from feeling too hot, which can happen without the right insulation. Chairs can even make a person itch or feel tense if the cushion isn’t made right.


Last but not least, consider the mobility of a chair before you buy it for the whole office. This is especially important if you already have an open workspace, which is another factor of ergonomic workspaces.

The chair should encourage movement. It should be easy to roll on the ground and come with a swivel, too.

The swivel supports employees as they turn to look around a room in a meeting or go to grab something on their desk. It widens their range of motion while sitting down instead of making them feel limited or restricted. You may not notice how often you move around now, but, you will notice there’s a little more activity in the office when everyone has the right chairs at their desks.

Understanding What to Look for in an Office Chair

Finding the right office chairs for everyone is just one piece of the ergonomics puzzle. However, it’s not one you can afford to overlook. It serves no good to have a certain paint color on the walls or an open floor plan or even dogs in the office if you don’t know what to look for in an office chair.

This is where most of your employees’ work actually gets done – in their chairs and at their desks. Give the best setup possible to get the best results possible.

For help choosing the right location to make your office come together, click here.