Why are office chairs so uncomfortable?

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: September 27, 2021
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Why are office chairs so uncomfortable?

As a man or woman who spends many hours sitting in an office chair, you probably don’t even notice how uncomfortable your chair is. Or perhaps you do!

But why are office chairs so uncomfortable? Let’s face it; office chairs are not designed to be comfortable – they are designed to be functional. Therefore, office chairs are not likely to be as comfortable as some of the more expensive and luxurious chairs in your living room.

Before we go on to discuss why office chairs are uncomfortable and what can be done to make these chairs more comfortable, let’s first discuss some of the common features of an office chair.

Features of an office chair that may look comfortable but are not!

Office chairs typically have the following features which may apparently suggest that they are comfortable chairs but in reality, manufacturers have placed those features for productivity rather than comfort.

  • Dust resistant fabrics

In order to create a dust-free environment, most office chairs have fabric that repels the dust and dirt. However, this creates friction between your skin and the material that makes you feel uncomfortable after a few hours of work.

  • Neck cushion support thingy

It looks comfy but it’s actually not! This is one of those rare cases where looks can deceive you into thinking something is comfortable when it is in fact very uncomfortable.

The neck cushions in office chairs are not meant to support your neck. In fact, manufacturers don’t even recommend using them for extending your head or neck for more than a few minutes. The comfort of these rests on the assumption that you won’t be using them for too long.

  • Seat cushion

Most office chairs have soft cushions that are meant to make the chair seem comfortable. However, it is important to note that these types of seats won’t support your body very well and manufacturers advise not sitting on them for more than a few hours at a time.

Like other cushions, the seat may soften up after getting used to it but this will lead to even higher back pain.

  • Adjustable armrests

If you have adjustable armrests, they are probably the most comfortable part of your chair. However, if you are in a job where you need to move around a lot, these can become very uncomfortable as your arms and elbows will be moving on them all day long.

If you work in an office or have an easy chair at home that has a soft cushion on top of the arms, then they’re not too bad. But when it comes to chairs with hard cushions underneath the arms, I don’t think anyone would say that these are comfortable!

What’s worse is office chairs with no armrests at all – which sounds great but actually makes you feel more uncomfortable than ever.

  • Not being able to adjust your chair properly

Most office chairs have adjustable armrests and adjustable backrests that allow you to alter their position to make yourself comfortable. However, many people are unable to find the best angle and most people can only find one or two positions that they like before getting stuck in a rut for their entire working life.

It’s actually very easy – if you do a search on Google (or Bing) for “best ways to adjust an office chair“, you’ll be surprised at how many results come up – there are so many different angles that we probably don’t even know half of them! For example, this is what happens when you rotate one of the wheels on your office chair.

You need to find a comfortable angle on your office chair!

If you have a desk job, then spending as much time as possible sitting on the edge of your seat is very good for your back and legs. But most people forget to do this because they stick with their “favorite” chair position until their dying day.

If you can’t find a comfortable position, the key is to keep rotating the controls (armrests and backrest) until you find something suitable! The best thing about most office chairs is that they are adjustable and allow you to customize them to fit you perfectly – but only if you know how to play around with all the different adjustment options.

Why are office chairs so uncomfrtable? Answering your queries.
Why are office chairs so uncomfortable? It could be just because of an awkward sitting angle!

How do you make an uncomfortable office chair more comfortable?

  • Make sure you adjust the armrests and backrest to find the most comfortable position for you.
  • If your chair doesn’t have an adjustable backrest, get a pillow or cushion and place it on top of your lower back in order to support yourself more.
  • Rotate the “angle dial” under your butt/bottom to see if there is any other angle that will feel more comfortable than what you’re currently using.
  • Sit closer or farther away from your desk so that you don’t overstrain yourself – getting up and moving around once every hour is good for circulation.
  • Sometimes bending forward or leaning backward will help even with an uncomfortable office chair – try experimenting with different positions (don’t forget to switch between sitting on the front and back half of the chair).
  • Get a cushion for your lower back if sitting on that part of your back feels too hard to bear. This is especially effective if you have bad lumbar support in your chair (like me).
  • New technology has made it possible to get chairs with better and better lumbar supports but no matter how good they are, they will always feel uncomfortable after long periods of sitting – this is when a cushion comes in very handy! If you don’t have adjustable armrests, I suggest getting two pillows so that you can place one underneath each arm/shoulder.

What is the healthiest way to sit on an office chair?

The healthiest way to sit on an office chair is all about your posture and making sure that you are taking care of your muscles.

You should pay attention to the following five areas, which need to be supported when sitting on an office chair:

  • Lower back – The best way to support this area is by using a firm cushion (in the middle) so that it supports most of your lower back. You can also use a lumbar support pillow or two pillows if necessary. But make sure that your lower back isn’t overstretched – if you feel pain in this area, then don’t force yourself!
  • Upper butt/bottom – The second-best way to sit properly on any seat is by supporting yourself with a soft cushion. Make sure that you’re not forcing your back to support the whole weight, as this creates unnecessary pressure and can be harmful in the long run. This is especially important if you are overweight or don’t exercise very often!
  • Knees – The knee caps should not be forced upwards or downwards when sitting on a chair. When your seat doesn’t have armrests, I suggest getting two pillows so that you can place one underneath each shoulder. The best way to position yourself is by placing both of them right below your knees so that they create a 90° angle between your thighs and upper body – this is how relaxed people naturally sit. You’ll still need to adjust these pillows until it feels comfortable enough for you – if you feel pain or an uncomfortable position, then move the pillows!
  • Upper thighs – The upper thighs should be placed slightly higher than your lower bar (your “sit bones”) in order to create a natural 90° angle between your upper body and legs. This will help you avoid pressure on your back and butt/bottom as you sit. But make sure that it doesn’t hurt anywhere like in the groin area – if so, then adjust your seat position accordingly until everything feels fine.
  • Femur bones – If possible, try not to rest all of your weight on the femur bones (thighs) by sitting straight up with locked knees because it may put unnecessary pressure on them which can lead to various problems later in life.
If you find your sweet spot to sit on a chair, you can have a very comfortable day in the office.

Why are office chairs so uncomfortable – The Bottom Line

So, what do we conclude with the above discussion?

First, yes, office chairs are not as comfortable as those in our living rooms. But we need to understand that office chairs have been designed to support you and increase your productivity. They are not there to help you sleep! Moreover, one of the key reasons why people find office chairs uncomfortable is that they fail to find the ‘sweet spot’ to sit on their office chairs.

We suggest that you move the chair around, try different angles and positions. Like any other piece of equipment, you will have to find your own comfort zone with an office chair so that you can enjoy working at high efficiency all… day…. long…

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