I kept my last car far too long. It was quality motor and for 10 years it gave excellent service. However, I deluded myself for a further 6 years into believing it still made sense to keep running it. It was only when it started letting me down that I saw sense and replaced it. People often make a similar mistake with their office chair making their working lives more difficult than necessary.
How comfortable is your office chair?
Your office chair is no different to any other piece of equipment. It has a finite life beyond which it needs to be replaced. One of the best indicators that it’s time for a new chair is when your old one is no longer as comfortable as it once was. This is a gradual thing and creeps up on you without you realizing it. Often you find you aren’t as productive as you ought to be and start losing concentration, particularly in the afternoon.
Do aches and pains increase as the day goes on?
A strong indicator that your chair is ready for changing is when you find it starts getting really uncomfortable once you’ve been sitting in it for a few hours. And if it’s always been that way chances are you didn’t have a very good quality chair to begin with.
Either way it’s probably time to take a look at the state of your chair and see if it’s time you parted company with it.
What condition is you office chair in?
Top of the list to check if your chair lacks comfort and your work is suffering is the foam padding. Has it lost its springiness and does the seat feel really hard? Cheap chair foams rapidly lose their ability to remain springy and often become brittle and hard after just a few months’ use.
Many people see an office chair as a throwaway item. Something that just needs to be replaced every couple of years. If you believe this to be true you will be locked into a spiral of discomfort and distraction as each new chair quickly deteriorates.
Have any bits worked loose or dropped off? Often screws fall out or knobs come off. Poor quality components wear prematurely and what started out as smooth moving parts become wobbly as they wear against each other.
It’s the combination of these sorts of things that start to affect your work rate.
What limitations is your office chair imposing on you?
It’s surprising how little things like these can affect your productivity. If you had to sit on a wood seat all day naturally you would expect it to be uncomfortable after an hour or so. Once the foam in your chair has failed, it’s effectively just like sitting on a wooden chair and it distracts you from your work.
When an arm work loose or the backrest slops around all over the place it forces you to compensate by moving your body unnaturally. Having to do this means you loose concentration and your productivity suffers as a result.
Why $100 office chairs aren’t the answer
For a lot of people the thought of spending even $100 on a chair is something they struggle to accept. The truth is that a chair in this price bracket is always going to be made to meet the price at the expense of quality.
This is why these chairs don’t last. The emphasis is on keeping costs to a tight budget and this is done by reducing the standard of components used.
If you have a problem with the thought of spending several hundred dollars on a new chair, try looking at things differently.
What is your time worth per hour? Let’s assume it’s $30 an hour. What if by having a good chair that properly supported you all day you gained an extra 10 minutes work? This would mean you got $5 a day more work done than before. Guess what? In just 6 months your gain would have saved you $600. Enough to buy you a top quality ergonomic chair designed to give you 8 – 10 years of productive service.
Once you look at things this way it’s easy to see how investing in the right tool for the job will benefit you many times over your initial outlay.
So, is it time to assess your chair?
Lets quickly run through the points we’ve covered:
- Is lack of comfort causing you to be less effective during your workday?
- Does it get worse as the day progresses?
- Has the seat foam failed?
- Are components falling off, worn or working loose?
- Do the math to see why $100 chairs aren’t a proper solution
Don’t be like me with my old car, recognize when it’s time to replace your chair and keep yourself productive.
Here’s where you can find a summary of some excellent quality office chairs.