How to buy Chairs - Myths and Facts.

Chair in any office is the most important product which highly impacts following 5 major issues in any office establishment:

  • ·         Efficiency of the staff.
  • ·         Health of the staff.
  • ·         Man hour loss due to defects in the chair.
  • ·         Overall ambience of office.
  • ·         Effect and impression of the organization on the visitors to the office.

There are some myths related to Office Chairs.

Myth No. 1

What is there in a Chair?  It is just for seating and any Chair will do.

As per studies conducted by various organizations, companies lose a lot of money due to improper ergonomics of the chair.  The user of the chair faces following problems which affects the overall performance of the user:

  • ·         Low Back Pain.
  • ·         Uncomfortable Seating due to improper support in seat.
  • ·         Shoulder Pain.
  • ·         Wrist Pain.
  • ·         Arm Pain.
  • ·         Irritation due to non smooth movement of chair castors (wheels).
  • ·         Irritation due to bad push back or tilting of chair.
  • ·         Irritation due to hardness/softness of the chair.
  • ·         Body Pain due to disturbed alignment of the chair.
  • ·         Irritation due to difficult chair adjustment mechanism.
  • ·         Improper seating posture due to very large or very small seating space.

All the above and many more issues effects the efficiency of the chair user.  An uncomfortable employee will move frequently from the chair to give relief to his body, thus leading to less concentration, focus and lost working hours.

The chair should be cautiously selected as per the nature of work of the user.  A Chair good for a call center executive may not be good for an accounts clerk.  So any chair will not do.  Be extra careful in selecting your chair.  You will be spending major time of your life on the chair – invest in it.

Myth no.2

When I need a chair, I will just go the market and pick from the available chairs in the market.

It is observed that when people are in need of the Chairs, they think that it is as simple as just going to the market and just pick the chair available in the market place.  Customers go the market in the last minutes of their requirement and end up buying chairs which are readily available.

Following points must be remembered & considered when you need chairs.

1.   Any chair will not be good for all purpose.  As you know Dining Chairs are not good for Office Chair, similarly Fixed Visitor Chairs are not good for a office executive or a clerk.

2.   Identify the person who will be using the chair.  A chair which is good for a young sporty person may not be good for an elderly person.

3.   Identify the nature of work of the person who will be suing the chair.  A student of 1970 would have been comfortable in a fixed non revolving chair and a desk.  But, the student of 2014 will find those fixed chairs extremely uncomfortable.  This is because the present day student have many different activities to do while studying then it was in 1970s.  A revolving chair is more convenient for the present day student.

4.   How the chair is expected to be handled by the user is also very important.  A mildly and carefully used chair by single user will be different from the heavily, roughly used chair used by different people over time.

5.   Do not pre decide and be rigid the amount you want to spend on the Chair.  Decide the type of chair and the facilities and life you are expecting from the chair.

6.   Do not go just by the looks.   Do not buy the chairs just by the looks of the chair.  Comfort while seating, usability and sustainability of the chair should be given priority over the looks.  Looks are important but secondary.

7.   Understand the after sale service, guarantee & warantee and repair cost of the chair is another important point which should be kept in mind while buying the chair.  A very good looking chair with excellent features with no repair and after sale back up may prove a headache when you have some problem in a chair.  Spending one day on a defective chair is much more difficult to spend time with an unhappy wife.  If you have many chairs, having an “Annual Maintenance Contract”  is always a better option.

8.   Never use a defective chair for even one day.  It can cause damage which can never be repaired to you spine and back.

9.   The chair vendor may need some time to procure or manufacture the chair of your choice with the colour combination you want in the chair.  So keep sufficient time margin which you may have to give the Chair Vendor.  Keep the padding of delays and unexpected problem as well.

Myth no 3

I can work on any Chair.  It is not a big issue.

Let us make a small study about how much time we spend on our Chair.  Let us assume that you are a person who have a mixed working style.  You have following activities in your work life (Let us forget your personal life).

1.       Office work on the desk – 4 to 6 hours a day.
2.       Meetings  (in office) – 1 to 2 hours a day.
3.       Client Meetings & travelling – 3 to 4 hours a day.

Now say you use your chair for 5 hours a day.  Here is a calculation based on Indian context.

5 Hours x 6 days x 12 months = 360 hours a year.  (We are not considering your holidays as you may work long hours some time).
Total hours in a year excluding sleeping of 8 hours per day = 5840 hours.

This means you spend almost 6% of your life and 56% of your work life on your Chair.  So never underestimate the importance of your Chair.  Always use a chair that is comfortable and good for your body posture and health of your spine.

Again never use a defective chair under any condition.

These are the few of the many, but they are the most important ones.  You may be having few more.  Your comments will be of great help to the readers.  Do leave your comments.

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