Let’s start by answering a question: what are ergonomics? It’s the science that studies how to improve the relationship between humans and functional objects.

A tool is ergonomic when it’s possible to comfortably use all its intrinsic features while providing a pleasant experience.

The etymology and history of this word can be found on Wikipedia:

The word “ergonomics” comes from the Greek words érgon (work), and ńomos (rule, law). It was used for the first time by Wojciech Jastrzębowski in a Polish journal in 1857.

 The term was picked up again in 1949 by Murrell, who used it to set the guidelines for designing products, services or settings meeting the user's needs.

This science is largely used to design furnishings and accessories for work, to provide maximum comfort to employees.

Often, ergonomic objects designed for work environments serve as an inspiration for manufacturing those of more widespread use. A fitting example is ergonomic chairs.

The best way to pick ergonomic chairs requires assessing at least three factors:

  • Structure of the seat and backrest
  • Chair height
  • Materials and sturdiness

Let’s not forget that we stay seated at work for eight hours a day, so every detail that can increase comfort is important.

Ergonomics of the seat and backrest.

Whether designed for an office or home environment, chairs are ergonomic when they are the result of a thorough study on how the seat and backrest will accommodate the user’s body.

The sensation of comfort experienced while sitting down is due to the quality and shape of the padding in the seat and backrest, which must follow the curves of the spine while providing perfect support.

A chair with a seat and backrest made by two simple perpendicular axes is not considered ergonomic, and it’s clear why.

How tall should a chair be to be considered comfortable?

It's unthinkable to work at a computer or eat at a restaurant sitting on a chair that is so high we can’t firmly place our feet on the ground.

Even with a good backrest and a soft seat, being unable to offload some of our weight to the ground will eventually lead to back pain.

Additionally, even the distance between our hands and the desk or table must be taken into consideration for top comfort.

Ergonomic chairs must be designed to ensure optimal height between the seat and the ground, in relation to what the person using it will do.

Never underestimate the quality of the materials.

A high-end ergonomic chair is undoubtedly built with quality materials that guarantee durability.

This line of thinking seems trivial, but it could have happened to anyone who has used a very comfortable chair, that, after some time, has started to break.

A backrest that gives way when we sit back, a seat that falls through or legs that start to wobble, are certainly indicators of a chair’s poor quality.

Wood, metal, plastic and all the materials used in building a chair must be specially designed to withstand the stresses due to loads and wear.

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