Your office chair has a finite life beyond which it needs to be replaced – just like any other piece of equipment. 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. You might find you aren’t as productive as you ought to be and start losing concentration, particularly in the afternoon.
Do small aches and pains increase as the day progresses?
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.
How does it look and feel?
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.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of a good quality chair.
Many people see an office chair as 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. 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.
$100 office chairs are NOT 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.