Improve Employee Health, Productivity And Engagement With Ergonomic Seating

Expert Insights

Throughout the years a growing number of office workers have started to experience back pain, developing at an increasingly young age. While this may be caused by a number of factors, it’s overwhelmingly the result of not sitting correctly. Bad posture is a widespread concern and it can have uncomfortable consequences that affect everyday life. It’s therefore imperative that companies purchase good ergonomic chairs to improve employee’s quality of living by minimising pressure on muscles and joints while increasing blood flow and hindering muscle deterioration.

As a result of their health benefits, ergonomic chairs have been shown to increase productivity. Therefore, when a business invests in its employees, they are more likely to see individuals working harder, not just because they have bought them new chairs but because employees can see that their health and well-being are prioritised and that they are valued.

Unfortunately, a vast number of companies still use seating that don’t meet current regulations. Steve Bays, Director at Century Office, comments:

“In the UK today we have a very mixed group of employers. Some will buy any type of office chair, as long as it has "office chair" written in the description; some will buy cheap chairs and throw them away when broken; some see furniture as a non-profit making necessity; some recognise the benefits of good furniture over workers’ performance and staff retention.”

It’s important that this inconsistency sees a change and that all organisations offer ergonomic seating to their staff and not simply to members with pre-existing back and neck problems. Early prevention is key, as these possible health conditions can be easily avoided.

Additionally, it is essential that employers are able to recognise signs of employee discomfort in the office. If a staff member brings in a lumbar support cushion to ease pain, it’s imperative for the employer to acknowledge the problem and be the first to face the issue - before complaints are made and workers are in need of time off due to health related issues. Equally, it’s helpful if employees alert those in charge of potentially painful and hazardous seating.

Here’s what to look out for when upgrading your office chairs:


Not one person is built the same, therefore adjustability is paramount. You will have staff of all sizes and shapes, and the chair that you buy ultimately needs to be versatile. Look for seating that you can adjust to guarantee a more comfortable workspace for everyone. This includes:


Pick a chair with adjustable back and feet height. Being able to increase and decrease your seat’s height allows each individual to have their feet flat on the floor and thighs at a 90 degree angle, which helps to better bad posture. If necessary use a footstool to fully achieve this. Make sure that your forearms are level with the desk and that there’s enough space for hands and wrists to be fully supported. Another aspect to think of is the height in correlation to your VDU screen. Eyes should be level with the top of the screen and the distance needs to be about 700mm.

Width and depth.

You need to be able to adjust the width of your chosen chair so it can be adapted to anyone. It’s also important to be able to change the seat depth so each person can sit comfortably while leaving a 50mm gap between the seat edge and the inside leg.


An adjustable seat is also necessary. Make sure that it’s slightly tilted forwards to achieve even pressure on the underside of the leg and the buttocks.


The chair that you ultimately purchase should fully support the natural curve of a person’s back. Special focus should be on the lower back – the lumbar region. This area needs to be fully supported or you can begin to slouch, which in turn eliminates the curve of your back, making it flatter. A good ergonomic chair will have lumbar adjustment which protects from slouching and unnecessary pain. Armrests also need to be adjustable to make sure that you can rest your arms while not putting strain on your shoulders.


The office chair needs to be flexible, to encourage movement in all directions without having to stand up abruptly and subject your back to unnecessary strain. The swivel of the chair is, in this case, vital for well-functioning office seating.

The conclusion is simple: to make sure that you and your employees will thrive in the office environment – choose ergonomic seating.