Sitting Too Much at Home?

Aug 14, 2020 | Kuster Design Blog

We’re five months into the COVID-19 global pandemic now and if like a lot of people you’ve found yourself suddenly and unexpectedly working from home. That home office that you only occasionally used to check email and pay bills has become the second-most if not the most used room in the house! And, guess what? That attractive but not very comfortable chair you purchased years ago because it matched the desk and décor so nicely has been causing lower back pain along with leg and shoulder cramps and keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep – especially after five straight days of Zoom calls! With no end to the pandemic in sight and major corporations suggesting employees continue to work from home until well into 2021, it is probably time to do your back and general health a favor and invest in a desk chair that is designed to be used for 40 plus hours every week.

So, what are some of the features one should look for, and who has them? First, the chair needs to be adjustable in multiple ways. The height needs to be adjustable so you can sit with your feet placed flat on the floor and the tops of your legs parallel with the floor. Your knees should not be sloped down or up. The armrests need to be adjustable, so they comfortably support your elbows and neither push your shoulders up toward your ears nor are too low whereby your elbows don’t ever really reach them for support. Lastly, the back of the chair also needs to be adjustable so that you do not sit either too straight up or, which is the case most of the time, too far back. Everyone’s heard from their mother that slouching is not a good thing!

So, what are some of the best chairs out there? Well, Herman Miller and Steelcase have both been designing and making excellent chairs for decades. They have put a lot of energy into research and design to create beautiful chairs that are incredibly adjustable and eliminate most aches and pains no matter how long one sits in them. Herman Miller’s Embody and its classic Aeron chair, both designed by Bill Stumpf probably lead the pack for amazingly designed, attractive, and comfortable chairs. However, they do come with a hefty price tag. Steelcase’s Gesture and Leap are also great chairs and one can never go wrong with either of them. We have recommended the Steelcase Leap to many clients as it is a solid chair for a more approachable price. Herman Miller’s Sayl chair is also very attractive and hits at a mid-level price point similar to the Steelcase Leap. On the even more affordable end of the spectrum chairs such as the Alera Elusion Swivel and the Flash Furniture Mid-Back Mesh chair offer decent functionality and support.  

Before spending too much more time in that poorly designed, ill-fitting desk chair, do yourself and your body some good and invest in a desk chair that you will want to spend the next nine months sitting in while working from home.