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How much does an office chair really cost you?

Most people think all office chairs are similar and have the same qualities - you just need your employees to sit down and work, right? Wrong! This is definitely not the case. Find out what the real cost of an office chair is in this article.

Office chairs aren’t all the same - there’s hundreds of ways, both big and small, they can differ; from the the design, to the material, ergonomics and even how customisable they are.

The higher the quality of the chair, the higher the price point, but do you know how much your office chairs are really costing your business - and if they are ergonomic and promoting staff wellness? Firstly, it’s important to know what ergonomics mean and why it increases productivity levels.

In one of our recent articles, we stated:

“Ergonomics aims to create safe, comfortable and productive workspaces by bringing human abilities and limitations into the design of a workspace, including the individual’s body size, strength, skill, speed, sensory abilities (vision, hearing), and even attitudes.’ This translates into creating a workspace that suits your unique body type and measurements. Studies show that a poorly designed workspace drastically increases your risk of developing musculoskeletal complications that affect your quality of life. Your workspace should therefore be comfortable to avoid developing aches and pains that hinder your productivity.”

Given the above, it makes much more sense to buy an ergonomic chair than a traditional chair that normally leads to back pain, absenteeism, decreased productivity and premature death.

Absenteeism explained

According to Initial Hygiene South Africa, a leading hygiene services brand, “absenteeism costs the South African economy around R12 -R16 billion per year. This equates to around 15% of employees being absent on any given day. When one looks at it this way, one can understand why absenteeism is possibly the single most expensive problem affecting business both locally and internationally. Some researchers estimate that South African businesses are losing as much as 17% of their payroll every year due to absenteeism.”

Most of your employees are chair-bound for seven to eight hours per day. That’s a lot of hours sitting in a chair! This leads to increased aches and pains and ultimately… absenteeism - every employer’s worst nightmare.

The case of back pain

When comparing traditional seating options to ergonomic chairs, the former almost always fails to give you a maximum amount of comfort. The worst part is that you can’t adjust the lumbar support, which will definitely lead to increased back pain. Rosi Incorporated, an office system provider in the United States says, “annual losses of over $81 billion dollars are being reported just due to pain. That’s a staggering amount considering much of that could be prevented by re-examining your office ergonomics. Using poorly designed office chairs causes stress to the whole body, as you have to constantly compensate for lack of support.” Converted, that’s about R10 billion lost each year!

The common causes of back pain, as The Ergonomic Physio, a team of workplace ergonomic consultants, explain are:

A slouched posture - you move towards the front of your chair, slide forward and slouch back into your backrest, due to no or little back support.

Leaning forward - When you lean forward, you tend to pull more forward as you want to be closer to your workspace, however over time your muscles fatigue, leading to increased pains and aches.

Why decreased productivity occurs

Being comfortable in the workplace leads to increased productivity levels. If you’re experiencing discomfort, however, it becomes impossible to focus on your job. If you can’t concentrate at work, your productivity levels will decrease substantially.

A study by Topaz Furniture suggests: “An adjustable chair combined with ergonomic training can actually lead to a reduction in orthopaedic damage. Further research has found that employee productivity can be increased by as much as 17.5% simply by providing them with the right chair and training.”

Ergonomics, Quality and Style: Is your office chair a hit or miss

So, what can companies do to help?

The answer lies in purchasing ergonomic chairs! It’s in furniture and how this affects your staff and your overall bottom line. We suggest looking at more ergonomic seating and focus on the wellbeing of your staff.

The benefits of ergonomic chairs include:

Increased productivity;

Increased quality of work;

Reduced back pain and neck problems;

Reduced pressure on the hips;

Comfortability and user-friendliness;

Adjustable seating options.

It has been a long time since the world found a new chair. But in the apartments and dens of mostly young men and women, across from the soon-to-be-upgraded PC and multiple screens, there is one, introduced in the past decade and a half: the gaming chair, built for stress-free full-body support when the keyboard and heavy-duty mouse come out. It’s wheeled like an office chair, but it’s also something else. Although both types support the spine, with seats and armrests intended to keep knees and elbows at the optimal ergonomic 90-degree angle when playing or working at a desk, gaming chairs generally accommodate a greater range of movement. Many of the seatbacks can recline to 135 degrees, for cockpit-like play, while the armrests can be adjusted front to back, side to side and angled toward or awry from the body. They also typically come with adjustable pillows to support the lumbar and neck. Is a gaming chair sports equipment? Is it an office chair? Is it personal billboard? The answer is all of the above, and the boundaries are collapsing. The pandemic has rewritten the rules of work space vs. play space, and that changes where we spend our time and where we spend our furniture money. The New York Times reported that Amazon saw a 300 percent increase in the sales of gaming chairs during the early months of the pandemic, and a market analysis by Technavio estimates 12 percent year-over-year growth for 2020. It’s also spurred major growth in the video-game industry itself, with an estimated $159.3 billion in global revenue this year and double-digit growth in time spent playing. The $1500 that a gaming chair can cost is a reasonable amount to spend on a sofa. When socializing means logging into Discord, or Twitch, or Counter-Strike, why not get comfortable as you face the screen? To invest in what you are actually doing — where you are actually sitting — might seem like capitulation but is also self-care. These chairs first appeared in public view with the rise of professional video gaming, via streamed broadcasts of competitive e-sports. Lately, though, in a pandemic when most nonessential workers are essentially streaming from home, it’s hard not to notice how often they pop up behind the heads of friends and acquaintances  

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