The humble office chair: the most underrated part of any office

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Over the years, if I ever get to a state where people ask me questions like ‘What would you call vital to the success of your website?’ or ‘What makes your online presence and work tick?’, I am sure I will have quite a few obvious things on the list. A good computer, whether it be a Mac or a PC, a good internet connection, a phone that lets you ‘reach out’ and be ‘reached’, (sorry for the cliches!), but more than anything, a good office space, a good working environment.

Years ago I took on a very ambitious project. There was very little time to do it, and a lot needed to be done. I had to resort to some extreme planning. Food was being delivered to save me time, and was being eaten as quickly as possible. Any drinks consumed were at the desk. There was room for few breaks, and sleep and wake up cycles were all planned to a second. Needless to say, I was sat on my office chair for quite a long time during this period, over 12-14 hours a day, and sadly, this was the one weak link in my well oiled machine.

I had an office chair, a typical one. Nothing special, just a cheap job that I had bought at a supermarket as an after thought. Up to this moment, it had served me well. Up to this moment, I had never really tested it, being sat on it for a few hours, and not really testing it much, relying more so on my remote activities. The current project though, needed concentration and the avoidance of distraction like no other. Weirdly, I had subscribed to the best possible chair test ever.

As days went on, I started to get various aches. It was clear that the chair was not up to the part. I had to take a break and invest in something better. The usual process ensued, where I looked up reviews, and found something fairly decent for around £70 odd at one of the popular furniture shops. Time was a premium, but I had to make an exception. I made that trip, bought that chair, came home, built it, and had a little sit down. It felt good. So good that over the next few days, no repeat of the aches and tiredness happened, and a new realization was dawning upon me. The humble office chair, the little beast that everybody tends to ignore, is way more important to your work regime than you realize.

I’ll leave you with some tips in choosing a good piece of furniture:

  • Identify your needs. You may not need a fancy leather chair, but you might really need arm support. Specially if you use a mouse a lot.
  • Get something that supports your neck as well.
  • Various office chairs come with various settings. Identify the ones you want to adjust, such as height, lean, stiffness, etc.
  • It is almost a given that it needs to be a spinny one!
  • Depending on your office floor, different kind of wheels work. This may or may not matter, but something to look out for.
  • Read reviews. As many as possible.
  • That extra tenner you spend on one may make the different between the next few tenners you earn. Don’t hold back!

And finally, top marks if you can look like this:

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