Ergonomics & Concepts
Workspace has a tremendous knowledge in building effective and ergonomic office with care of people and their fundamental needs and the type of work performance. Here we share with you some of this knowledge! Enjoy reading!
How to Adjust the Ergonomic Chair
March 24, 2015
Herman Miller has studied how people sit for more than 60 years. What makes their chairs top the charts for ergonomics? – The fact that each of them can be adjusted according to the user’s needs for ultimate comfort.
In order to have best fit the chair should be able to provide controls for every aspect, because we are all different. We have different gender, size, posture, stature, weight distribution, spine curves and needs for comfort in general. Below you can see the different adjustment applicable for all the chairs in the ergonomic series of Herman Miller.
Some adjustment features are optional and depend on the configuration of the chair. Contact our representatives for more information or visit our showroom to try the chairs in person.
There are two general trends when it comes to sitting – first is that people rarely adjust their chairs and the second is that we rarely stay still. A research by Herman Miller indicates that while sitting people will use different strategies to “shift the activity away from tired muscles.” The solution – the chair should move with the body and follow every movement of the sitter, not the other way around. If the chair fails to do that we tend to edge away from it and in the process slouch and bend, as we can’t sit straight for prolonged periods of time. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to sitting is not using the whole seat of the chair.
Seat height is one of the basic features of every chair that, unfortunately, many people use wrong as it’s either positioned too high restricting blood circulation or too low putting pressure and strain on the leg muscles. The perfect height for the chair is when the knees make a perfect 90 degree angle with the floor and there is absolutely no pressure from the chair, but full support at the same time. All the chairs in the series have this feature.
We all have different height and leg length. It’s important for the seat to be able to support the full length without straining the muscles. The seat depth can be expanded to accommodate people with longer legs and provide ultimate comfort. This feature is optional and is present in all Herman Miller ergonomic chairs except for Aeron. The reason for this is that Aeron instead is offered in three sizes to accommodate for these differences – A, for smaller people, B for average sized people and C for people with taller frames and bigger statures.
A good chair allows the sitter to sit comfortably while supported at each of the three pivot points of the body. Everyone needs different levels of support at these points because our weight is distributed differently.
The movement of the body should be natural without putting force to sit back or falling back if the pressure is too low. The tilt tension controls were designed to adjust the chair according to our own weight. When we have the correct adjustment the back of the seat should provide full support when we recline or stand straight. All the chairs have this feature with their basic configuration.
The limiter allows the back of the chair to be positioned on three different positions. This is an optional feature available for all models.
When we lean forward in our chair we lose the support of the back. The forward tilt option allows the backseat to follow you when you lean forward accommodating both paper-based and computer-centered work. When we use this feature it’s a good idea to increase the height of the chair for ultimate comfort. This feature is optional and available to all models except for Embody.
Lumbar and Pelvic Support
One of the main reasons for health problems and back pain from sitting on the chair for prolonged times is the fact that we lose the natural S shape of the spine and turn it into C shape, which in turns puts pressure on the spine and the disks are pinched.
For the first time pelvic support becomes available with the Aeron chair in 1994. This is an innovative feature for the chairs as before that the main focus for ergonomic chairs was the lumbar support of the spine. The truth is that if we have our pelvis rotated forward and we have good support, there is no way for us to slouch. Posture fit is available as an optional feature only for Aeron, because the technology was used as built-in feature on later models.
The natural S-shaped curve of the spine is different for everyone and it certainly is not positioned on the same level for all of us. We need to have the lumber support at the exact place we need it for our spine because otherwise it will either serve as uncomfortable bump on the back or would be missing and we will strain our back to find a comfortable position and support or worst case scenario discomfort would make us edge away from the back. The lumbar height is an optional feature available to all models except Embody as it’s a built-in design of the chair together with the lumbar depth.
When we have pronounced curve of the spine we need to have the support of the chair to be able to relax fully. The depth adjustment is an optional feature that is available to all models except for Embody and Sayl.
The importance of armrest is often forgotten as a feature when it comes to choosing a work chair. A research by Herman Miller indicates that people make on average over 180 changes in their arm position per hour. If well positioned the armrests reduce stress on the neck and shoulders. The armrests are additional features for all Herman Miller chairs except for Mirra 2 where there is no option for not having this as a feature.
The armrest should support our arms without the need to lift our shoulders. When we have the support of the armrest there is no strain on both the shoulders and the wrists as they are relaxed and straight. This feature is optional for all models.
The angle of the armrest can be adjusted outwards or inwards. The idea behind the feature is to accompany the arms no matter what task we are doing – writing on a keyboard, writing a letter etc. This feature is optional and available for all models except for Embody.
The adjustment of the arm width accommodates the different size of the people and their shoulder width. A bigger person than the average would require different adjustment than a smaller person. The control helps to adjust according to these differences in size and width. The feature is optional and available for all chairs except for Aeron.
The adjustment of the depth of the armrests is available in the Mirra 2 and Sayl chairs as optional features.
Even the most expensive chair wouldn’t provide comfort unless it answers our specific needs and the adjustments aren’t customized to our own body. The ergonomic chairs of Herman Miller are the result of years of research and their goal to always improve comfort and productivity. It’s important for the chair to breathe, fit and move with you. Or using Herman Miller’s words – ‘A good work chair allows a person to sit comfortably and properly supported in each of the three basic work postures and move spontaneously between them while maintaining that comfort and support.’
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