Ergonomics Matter, at Home and the Office

You know that nagging pain in your back that started a few months ago? How about that strain in your neck, the one you thought came from a weird night of sleep?

Guess what? If you’ve been working from home in a less-than-ideal chair, those aches and pains could be related to it.

As millions of us have found in the last several months, ergonomics are a really big deal, and should be a top priority when you’re looking for seating—whether in your home office space or in a traditional workplace setting.


The Importance of an Ergonomic, Supportive Office Chair

“(Ergonomics) and having a properly fit workstation are about everything working together,” said Lauren Gant, Human Factors and Ergonomics Manager at HNI. “The chair is step one. It sets the tone.”

Office chairs are definitely not an afterthought anymore. How chairs support your body type and the health benefits associated with that support make the right fit a priority.

“We interact with the chair so intimately,” Gant said. “While all chairs are not created equal, the right one definitely makes a huge difference.”

Ergonomic WFH Chairs Are in Demand

Raise your hand if you started this year’s work-from-home journey with a chair you had around the house.

The number of WFHers who have upgraded their home-office chair is increasing by the day, said Monica Laverman, Senior Manager of Merchandising for The HON Company.

It’s a classic case of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

“When you look at work-from-home trends, the No. 1 thing that employers are looking at for their workers is the chair,” Laverman said. “If you have an uncomfortable chair—whether you’re at home or in the office—you know.

“But a supportive chair makes all the difference. In terms of the hierarchy of what companies are shopping for, it’s clear that chairs are high in importance when they’re thinking about their work-from-home employees.”


Know the “Must-Have” Checklist for Your Office Chair

“What you’re looking for isn’t what you can see,” Laverman said. “It’s everything built into the chair that makes a difference.”

We categorize ergonomic design for chairs into three buckets: support, movement and intuitiveness.

Our seating promotes healthy posture and pressure distribution, and this is accomplished through lumbar support, seat width, seat depth adjustment, armrests and seat height adjustment.

The Chair Should Work for You and With You

“There is a default disposition to be given a workstation or have a chair, and then simply sit in it,” Gant said. “A lot of people are missing that they should be empowered and educated and supported to move that chair, and adjust it to fit their body type.

“Seat depth is the most important adjustment on a chair, to be able to scale it up or down based on what you need—and it’s also the most important adjustment. This is especially crucial in the home office, where most people don’t have what they need.”


Ergonomic Chairs Support Proper Sitting

Our seating is designed to support “active” sitting, because prolonged sedentary behaviors can be harmful. With adaptable chair design, HON seating supports active sitting beyond the desk—meaning workers in the office can find comfortable and supportive chairs in conference rooms, cafes or training areas, too.

The intuitive factor is about furniture that’s easy to use and adjust. HON seating offers ergonomics-inspired personal and automatic adjustments that are consistent across products and offer graphic indicators when needed.

“Dining room chairs, other wooden chairs and tables...those just don’t work for people who are working from home,” Laverman said. “When you upgrade your chair, you’re probably thinking about putting it in your kitchen or bedroom and you want it to fit that space.

“We’ve seen a lot of people who are now upgrading the chairs they bought in April or May because they are better informed about what they need.”


Not Sure Where to Start? Let Us Help You Find the Right Chair

We’d be remiss to not offer some inspiration. A great chair can change everything for the better, after all.

Our advice? Keep price in perspective.

“‘Cheap’ is a relative word,” Laverman said. “The chair you have in the office probably doesn’t cost what you’re willing to pay for your home chair. There can be some sticker shock. The $100 chair (at home) may not be the best bet, particularly if you’re working in your space for a longer period of time.”

The Convergence chair is our top recommendation for a work-from-home chair. It’s a comfortable and easy-to-assemble piece that fits in a variety of different spaces. The Ignition 2.0 chair fits many body types and has a higher back for strong lumbar support. And the Solve task chair offers comfort and a unique design that makes it a great fit for a living space.

An Investment in Employee Health and Wellness

“Companies now have a clear understanding of the value of ergonomics, and there’s a ton of research that proves the benefits of adjustable furniture,” Gant said. “There are huge payoffs in engagement, a decrease in workers’ compensation and so many other things.

“For our team at HON, ergonomics is one of the core design criteria that we consider in product development. It’s essential to what we do.”

To learn more about Work from Home seating and to find the right chair for you (or your team’s) needs, please contact us.