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Ergonomic Chairs Help Prevent Back Pain. Here’s Why.

Whether you’re hunched over at home or spending hours in meetings, there are serious consequences from prolonged sitting. Indeed, many of us spend over 30 hours a week at our desks, just sitting.

Slowly, that stresses our bodies, particularly our spines. The result: back pain, joint pain, and overall poor posture. What’s needed is an ergonomic chair shaped to our bodies.

In Africa as a whole, back pain is common. In one study, back pain was reported in 50% of adults, with an average lifetime prevalence of 62%. One major cause is the office chairs we sit on – day in, day out.



That doesn’t just mean pain for employees. It means days off, reduced productivity, and a distracted workforce. The ingenious solution is no ordinary office chair – ergo chairs not only feel great, but they also alleviate back pain.


Want to know more? Here’s why you should invest in an ergonomic chair in South Africa – either for a home office or company workplace.


What is an ergonomically correct chair?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell a standard office chair and an ergonomic chair apart. The difference is in the details.


Ergonomic chairs allow for seat height adjustment, back support adjustment, pan depth adjustment, and movement.


In short: everything should be adjustable. Because none of our bodies are the same, the chair should be customisable to our body shape.


Together, these features allow you to get into the optimum seated position: knees just lower than your hips, feet flat on the floor (no dangling), and a hand’s worth of space between your knee and the seat’s edge – to ensure blood flows freely.



Are ergonomic chairs really better?

Yes. You can feel the difference from the moment you sit down. Ergonomic chairs just conform to your body. With a few simple pulls of the levers and knobs, you’ll find yourself comfortably sitting; your head gently tilted down at your screen.


There’s even the added bonus of a headrest. While most people won’t use it for day-to-day work, it’s a handy addition for most meetings. You know, the ones where you can sit back and take it all in. (Just no snoozing, alright!)


But what does the research say? Well, a 2012 systematic review concluded there is a “consistent trend that supports the role of a chair intervention to reduce musculoskeletal symptoms among workers who are required to sit for prolonged periods.” Essentially, ergonomic chairs work and should be recommended to all employers.


That really shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all – ergonomics is the science of designing tools to maximise productivity by reducing fatigue and discomfort.


That’s as true for ergo chairs as it is for pens, desks, or any other office appliance.


Are ergonomic chairs bad?

There’s one obvious downside to an ergonomic chair: price.

With all their knobs, levers, and adjustable mechanisms, ergo chairs do cost more than your average, cheap run-of-the-mill office chair. For companies kitting out an office on a budget, investing in such high-quality ergo chairs may not seem viable.


But hold up!


While I could sing the praises of a comfortable staff, I know the bottom line is always the monetary line. Companies want their team to be happy, but they still need to make a profit – otherwise, there is no staff at all.


So, is there an economic reason to invest in ergonomic chairs?


Almost certainly. We know that prolonged sitting at “suboptimal workstations” causes musculoskeletal problems, including back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. That’s why investment in workstations often focuses on office chairs – as chairs directly impact posture.


The consequences are millions – if not billions – of workdays lost to back pain worldwide. In the UK, for instance, 176,000 days were lost to back pain between 2019 and 2020. That accounts for billions in lost economic growth.


For companies, a spate of office back pain troubles can be a disaster. Order completion declines; timelines are missed. After all, productivity takes a major hit if people are squirming in pain.


Does an ergonomic chair make a difference?

Despite being a little pricier, ergonomic chairs are perhaps the single greatest health intervention a business can make. It’s not just an investment in comfort. It’s a guarantee of better productivity and fewer office sick days.


Indeed, estimates of the loss of productivity from musculoskeletal dysfunction rose to about $3.3 billion per year in Washington State, USA. Similar figures can be expected in South Africa.


Now, with remote work becoming the new norm, the spectre of back pain once again looms. No longer do many people even have the luxury of an office chair. Instead, they’re cramped and hunched at kitchen tables, children’s bedrooms, or a small home office.


As such, there’s never been a better time to invest in comfort. To buy yourself or your employees an


Conclusion

Ergonomic chairs in South Africa could make a huge economic difference. They’ll not only ensure a comfortable and happy workforce, but they’ll also increase staff retention and reduce sickness too. As musculoskeletal problems are a major issue around the world, it’s time we addressed the cause: awful office furniture.


Here at In The Office Furniture, we’re committed to delivering the highest quality ergonomic chairs available on the market. As our motto says: ”There’s no better way to do so than investing in an ergonomic office chair today. Trust us – it’s a lifesaver!"


Have a look at the Alya Executive Highback - Ergonomic Chair.



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