Working from home may afford you the luxury of propping yourself up in bed with your laptop or stretching out on the sofa while you finish the quarterly report. While both are temptingly cosy options, they’re not great for your spine.
With many of us moving to a longer-term hybrid working model, getting the right chair is more important than ever.
Poor working posture can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, backaches, headaches and more. To protect yourself, it’s well worth creating a proper workspace in your home with a desk and a supportive chair.
Ideally, this should be an office chair, as they’re designed to support you while you work. They come in a variety of designs and in a huge range of prices, but there are a few things that you should look for when choosing your temporary throne.
The NHS recommends that an office chair should be adjustable so it can support your lower back. This means that you should be able to change the height, tilt, and back position. Your chair should be flush with the small of your back to provide good lumbar support.
The relative height of your chair and desk should mean that your arms are by your side and your forearms parallel to the floor. If you find yourself reaching out to the side to use a mouse or elevating your arms, then you’re not properly supported as you work, which can lead to RSI (repetitive strain injury).
You should be sitting with your knees slightly higher than your hips, and your feet planted on the floor. If your desk doesn’t allow for this, a footrest would be a wise investment.
A wheel base is important to prevent you having to strain if you often shift around to access a phone or printer. Likewise, a swivelling chair allow you to move naturally if you work on two screens. And if you’re a naturally warm person, a mesh back chair will allow air to circulate around you.
We’ve found a selection of the best office chairs at a range of price points, to help you remain productive and healthy.
If you game a lot, another option is to buy a dedicated gaming chair. They offer a similar level of support to office chairs, but with the added plus of a design that’s less of a reminder of the 9-5 when you’re outside of office hours.
While a quality ergonomic office chair helps maintain a good posture, sitting down all day is still not recommended. This kind of sedentary living has been described by some as “the new smoking”, affecting your neck, hips and back, gluteal muscles, and has been linked to DVT, heart disease, diabetes, and varicose veins.
One office option is a standing desk, such as the excellent Flexispot EG8 (which we’ve reviewed), to offer you the opportunity to work both standing up and sitting down. An activity tracker that reminds you to get up and move about each hour is also a great investment for the home office worker.
Office Hippo Essentials Mesh-back Swivel Chair
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent chair, as this Office Hippo model proves. A mesh back allows for airflow while you work and there are adjustments for height, tilt and something called torsion which means that ‘the user can adjust the tension of the free-floating tilt to match their body weight’.
It’s not the most padded or aesthetically elegant option, but for a reasonable sum, you’ll get a supportive chair that will be a marked improvement over your dining or kitchen variants.
FlexiSpot BackSupport Office Chair BS8
FlexiSpot is best known for its range of quality standing desks, but it knows that sometimes you just need to sit down.
Its BackSupport Office Chair BS8 offers flexibility and back support – you can turn a knob underneath to adjust the tilt back tightness. The integrated lumbar support is adjustable and comfortable.
The back can swing 120° back, which lets you get comfortable in different positions depending on what you’re doing, as working at a screen can require a different posture to a long Zoom call.
Its height is adjustable by 9cm, so if required it can be used by different people.
The W-shaped foam-rubber seat design reduces pressure on your buttocks when you sit, and the whole seat and black nylon back are made from breathable material that stops you becoming too hot when seated for long periods of time.
The adjustable arm rests mean it can be neatly stored underneath most desks.
Assembly is simple. It took us about 25 minutes to follow the straightforward instructions.
It’s not the cheapest, but it is a quality build that will help you maintain a decent posture and avoid harming your back and neck when you’re sitting and working all day.
The thing about having an office chair at home is you’re not just going to be sitting in it while you’re working – you’ll also be looking at it the rest of the time.
If aesthetic appeal is important to you, you could do worse than the Kallevig office chair, which comes in black, brown (pictured), and white. If you opt for black, it’s only £169.
Its materials are die-cast aluminium and leatherette. It can tilt back, has casters and an adjustable seat height.
What sets this chair apart is that you can choose from three different back rest types: high, medium and soft padded. Bear in mind that changing the back rest type will change the price of the chair.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA has a range of office chairs, but the Markus seems to be the best blend of style, features and price.
It has a fully adjustable seat angle and height, the mesh-back should prevent things getting too hot on a warmer day, and the castors have brakes built-in so that the chair doesn’t roll back when you get up. Add to this a 10-year guarantee and the Markus is a solid option.
Farnham Executive Cream Leather Manager Chair
For those who want a little more luxury without a hefty price tag, the Farnham Executive chair comes with a deep, padded leather seat that promises plenty of comfort. As you’d expect, it’s adjustable so that you can match the tilt and seat angle to suit your particular frame.
The two-year guarantee (for up to eight hours of use per day) doesn’t quite match that of the Markus, but the design seems sturdy enough to withstand the rigours of the 9-5. The price is for the flat-packed version, but if you’re willing to pay £20 more, the chair will arrive fully assembled.
Secretlab Omega 2020 Dark Knight
An office chair doesn’t have to be free of character. As they are a large, reasonably permanent fixture in your home office, you might want one that also reflects your personality. There are various themed options available, but our favourite has to be the Secretlab Omega 2020 Dark Knight.
As the name suggests, this full-leather seat is discreetly adorned with Batman emblems. It’s not just a vanity piece for fans of the caped crusader however, as its sturdy construction features adjustable angles for the seat and armrests.
The chair also comes with Memory Foam pillows for both your head and lumbar regions, adding to the support and comfort. In truth, it’s really a gaming chair, but as they are built to withstand long play sessions and the occasional beverage spillage, they also make ideal office chairs as well.
Marks & Spencer Latimer office chair
This stylish offering comes courtesy of M&S. You’ll have to put it together yourself, so you’ll need to be reasonably handy with a screwdriver but once it’s done, your home office will certainly look the part.
The seat is padded faux leather, it’s adjustable and has casters. Bear in mind that it has a somewhat lower back than some chairs in this round-up, so it won’t be suitable for those who need more back support.
Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair
If money is no object, the Herman Miller Aeron is one of the finest office chairs available. The design pays incredible attention to every detail. Its 8Z Pellicle suspension material (AKA fancy mesh) allows air movement around the entire body to prevent any build of excessive heat, plus ‘eight latitudinal zones of varying tension’ to provide comfort and support for both the sacrum and lumbar regions.
Everything is adjustable and built to hold its position once you find the perfect mixture of angles and height.
It’s not cheap by any means, but considering how much time you may spend sitting in it each day, the Aeron could be an investment that you reap the benefit of on a daily basis.
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