For the past eight months, I’ve been working five days a week sitting on a metal kitchen stool. Once in a while, I sit on another softer chair with a backrest, but yeah, let’s just say my butt and that metal stool have been well-acquainted since Dorscon Orange.
On hindsight, if I had known we would be working from home for so long, I would have invested in a better chair with back support months ago. But oh well, hindsight is 20/20 (and foresight is 2021?) and with #WFH still in the foreseeable future for many of us, it’s not too late to get a chair that will be kinder to your back and your butt when you work at home.
To help you know what to look out for, we check in with ErgoTune, homegrown purveyor of adjustable seating solutions, who just launched their latest ergonomic work chair, which is adjustable across eleven different points — from the headrest, backrest, and armrest, to the seat’s height, depth and recline levels. Basically, it’s the kind of customisation that practically moulds itself to your body; that my stiff and rigid kitchen stool would weep in shame at.
I tried the chair, and once my posterior touched the bouncy hybrid-mesh seat made with a breathable fabric, and my back relaxed into the lower back support called ATLAS (Auto-Tuning Lumbar Area Support) that supports the lumbar spine and fits its natural curve while moving in sync with the body, I knew there was no going back to the stool.
Joshua Chan, co-founder of ErgoTune, tells 8days.sg a few things about getting a WFH chair.
#1: Look for a highly adjustable chair — think of it as a tailored suit.
“A chair that fits your body’s unique shape will naturally support you and feel comfortable,” Joshua tells us. “Think of it as a tailored suit. Regardless of the price, it needs to fit well to look great! A chair that fits poorly will feel horrible, because it contorts your body into a weird shape.” He says that basically, the more points of adjustments, the better, and that at the very least, the chair should be adjustable at the seat height, armrest height and seat depth.
#2: For true office chair greatness, look out for added features like lumbar support.
“Once the tailored fit is taken care of, you can start looking for added features that separate good from great chairs,” says Joshua. “For one, it should have proper lumbar support that shapes into your spine's natural curve. Next to consider is the material — mesh is often a good choice in our humid climate given its breathability. Finally, choose something that is meant to last for years (check the warranty coverage) — your chair is meant to be an investment.”
#3: With COVID-19 and #WFH, the rules of getting a home office chair have changed.
According to Joshua: “In the past, you could probably get away with a cheap chair at home since you use it for just an hour or two after work. Now that we all spend a significant part of our time working from home, it’s even more important to think of your home office chair as a quality investment.”
“Durability is a strong concern. An office chair is a heavy use product that most people interact with for several hours every day. Each part, from the hydraulic system, gas lifts, base, seat mechanism to the quality of the mesh-fabric material that is wrapped around the backrest and seat should be of a high, if not, good quality.”
#4: It’s a misconception that an ergonomic chair is bigger than a normal chair.
Is an ergonomic office chair bigger than a normal chair? It sure looks bigger than my stool. Says Joshua, “It's kind of a misconception. The actual footprint is not larger than a regular chair. Spaces that fit a regular chair should mostly be able to accommodate an ergonomic chair, even if they look larger.”
#5: Ergonomic chairs can fit into the aesthetics of a modern home.
Ergonomic chairs aren’t exactly known for amazing aesthetics, and Joshua admits there’s a sliver of truth in that — appearances are often not a main consideration in the decision process for most office chair brands. That’s not to say your ergo chair has to stick out like a sore thumb — some smart styling can help a simple and sleek office chair to, in the words of Joshua, “flourish in any home.”
#6: In the long run, a good office chair will stave off back problems.
“We can't stress how important good quality backrest and lumbar support is when you're spending that many hours working at your desk every day, “Joshua tells us. “Look around and you may see others suffering from back pain after years of sitting with bad posture. Care for your body and it'll probably be nice to you back in the long run. Backaches are not as far away as you think.”
#7: Meanwhile, look out for the short term benefits of getting a better chair.
“In the short term, you'd feel a sea change in terms of how great you feel at work when using a quality office chair,” promises Joshua. “This translates to many positive knock on effects — feeling more comfortable at work, feeling more relaxed physically and even mentally, as you don't have to subject yourself to sitting uncomfortably.”
The ErgoTune comes in coral pink and charcoal black, and is available at $599 on https://ergotune.com.