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With 95% of Americans under stay-at-home orders, it’s a better time than ever to dial in your home office. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more jobs were becoming remote with 4.7 million Americans working from home, according to recent statistics. In short, setting up a solid home office is a good idea.
One of the most important aspects of a good home office is a comfortable, ergonomic office chair. Dedicated office chairs are designed for hours of use and will offer a few key upgrades over a normal chair.
Firstly, a good office chair will make you more productive. It’s easier said than done, but getting comfortable is key to getting work completed. Also, ergonomic office chairs are designed with blood flow and correct posture in mind. This means you’ll be more alert and focused while seated for long periods.
Office chairs also ensure that your body will stay as healthy as possible. We’re now learning that sitting can be quite unhealthy, but correct posture and back support with a good chair can minimize the dangerous effects of sitting all day. The right chair will lead to fewer circulation issues and back problems down the road – saving pain as well as money spent on medical bills.
What to Know Before Buying an Office Chair
Not all office chairs are made equal. Besides overall quality, there are a few varieties of chairs and some key features to look for when shopping for a new office chair.
Ergonomics: As mentioned, most office chairs are a major upgrade over regular house chairs in terms of ergonomics. However, some simply do it better. Nicer chairs have usually undergone testing to produce a shape that improves posture – no matter your body type.
Adjustability: Everyone is shaped differently, but most chairs don’t take this into account. A good office chair will provide an array of adjustable features including customizable armrests, height and recline, to achieve the ideal position.
Style: The main goal of an office chair is comfort and productivity, but style should not be forgotten in the process. This is doubly true if you’re buying something for your home office, as you don’t want to hamper a carefully-considered home decor vibe with an ugly chair.
Chair Type: Today, there are several kinds of office chairs, including stools, seats with headrests, classic chairs and more design-oriented chairs. We’ve selected multiple options, but think about how you work best. Some people prefer a core-engaging stool while others need to be fully supported to focus on the work at hand.
1. Herman Miller Embody Office Chair
Herman Miller’s “Embody” is the Rolls-Royce of office chairs. The chair was designed by Jeff Weber along with the late and great Bill Stumpf, plus a consultation team of more than 20 leading physicians. These physicians used their respective knowledge of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics to design a chair that, as Herman Miller puts it, is “so intelligent, it makes you think.”
The back and seat of the Embody feature an adaptive matrix of pixels that move with you. This ensures even distribution of pressure at all times, improving circulation, and giving your body a sense of lightness.
In order to create a backrest that perfectly suits the human body, the designers of this chair took inspiration from just that; the human body. The back of the chair utilizes a central spine and flexible ribs that keep your posture neutral at all times. This spine is adjustable, along with the seat and armrests, for a customized fit.
We also like the Embody because it looks great. It’s certainly not a mid-century modern eye-catcher, but as far as ergonomic office chairs go, it’s sleek and stylish enough for any home.
2. Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair
Steelcase is a trusted American brand for high-quality, environmentally-friendly office furniture. This Leap chair was first released way back in 1999, but has been a popular model ever since, thanks to incredible adjustability, a durable construction and a minimal design.
Because lumbar support is one of the most important aspects of an office chair, Steelcase developed live lumbar technology that actively flexes with movement to keep your lower back supported. This ensures a more comfortable workday and less back problems down the road.
The Leap chair’s claim-to-fame is its adjustability. In total, the seat has eight adjustable areas including pneumatic seat-height adjustment, a variable backstop and height-width-pivot-depth adjustable arms. These are all adjusted via intuitive controls, so you can easily customize the chair or alter it as needed throughout the day.
The Leap chair might not be the most attractive piece of furniture in the world, but it’s certainly nothing to complain about. Despite being over 20 years old, the Leap chair’s minimal design means it can blend in anywhere without sticking out.
3. SOHO Ribbed Management Office Chair
If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, check out this Soho office chair. It boasts the sleek, mid-century modern look that designers love, and comes in a variety of colors to match your personal decor style.
Although the Soho chair isn’t as customizable as the Steelcase or Herman Miller, it still has enough adjustability features for anyone to get comfortable. The height is variable, the seat swivels, the arms are removable and the whole thing tilts to recline. Plus, the ergonomically-shaped back offers some lumbar support for good posture.
The frame is made of durable chrome steel and aluminum (not plastic) and the ribbed leatherette provides surprisingly good airflow. The chair is no ergonomic masterpiece, but it’s very comfortable for all-day work.
The Soho chair makes a great office addition, but its style also means you can use it as a hybrid dinner table-slash-office chair. Pick up a couple for the family if need be.
4. Varier Move Tilting Saddle Stool
Office chair alternatives such as stools, medicine balls and squat chairs have blown up over the past few years. They engage your core, making you sit upright on your own. This leads to much better posture over time and maintains great blood flow while you work. If you want to go this route, we recommend this tilting stool from Varier.
A slightly convex base lets the stool tilt with your movement while keeping the core muscles engaged. The stool is NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) certified by the Mayo clinic, meaning it’s proven to burn more calories than sitting in a normal chair. This isn’t a replacement for actual exercise or walking, but it’s much better than slouching over in a chair.
The stool’s gas lift adjustment system lets you set the height anywhere from 22 to 32.25 inches. This makes it compatible with standing desks as well as regular workspaces.
Unlike many new chair alternatives, the Varier stool is also a stylish piece of furniture. The minimal Scandinavian design offers a subtle look that’s great for modern decor styles, but blends in with almost any other interior as well..