If you’ve had to work at home over the past few years, maybe even sitting at your kitchen table, your experience with discomfort may be especially high. Your neck feels stiff. Your lower back aches. Your level of focus falls along with your desire to sit and work for hours at a time.
If you’re looking to outfit an office with chairs that help people stay comfortable and productive as they work, a quick anatomy lesson might help.
Keeping the Spine Aligned
A good work chair addresses the unique requirements of the four regions of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacrum. Most work chairs, however, don’t offer comprehensive spinal support, specifically neglecting support for the sacrum.
Also, many foam and fabric chairs have a backrest that mimics the general contours of the human spine, but they don’t respond to a person’s unique shape or allow flexibility in movement.
Supporting Our Need to Move
You may think you’re just sitting and staring at a computer screen all day, but research shows that you’re moving around more than you might think. A Herman Miller study on seating behavior found that seated people move their torso an average of 53 times an hour. Nearly 28 percent of those moves involved leaning or turning (Dowell et al., 2001).
However, most work chairs are not designed to support all the micromovements you make throughout the day. They have backrests too rigid to allow the sitter’s torso to move naturally, so people tend to move away from the backrest—losing much-needed support for their back.
Designing for Natural Movement and Total Spinal Support
Miller Knoll offers ergonomic office chairs that provide holistic support for the four regions of the spine and have the flexibility to keep people moving throughout the day.
This ergonomic chair’s Butterfly Back allows it to naturally mirror the leaning and turning motions you make as you sit. Supported by a Loop Spine that connects to the base and top of the backrest, Mirra 2 gives you the freedom to move, lean, and bend. The perforated material on the chair’s back also allows for a greater range of flexibility and support for each region of the spine.
Designed to support all the body’s natural linkages—knees, hips, arms, shoulders, head, and cervical spine—the Aeron Office Chair is made to encourage natural movement. Aeron offers smarter weight distribution through 8Z Pellicle and adjustable PostureFit SL for total spinal support. As you move from an upright to reclined position, your feet stay planted on the floor, your back remains in contact with the chair’s back, and your arms remain on the armrests. You never lose full support for your body, even as you switch postures.
Named one of the 100 Best Inventions by Time magazine, the Cosm Office Chair's sophisticated design instantly responds to and supports your body, movement, and posture. There's a single lever that adjusts its height. Cosm's Auto-Harmonic Tilt, Intercept suspension, and flexible framework give you a feeling of weightlessness.
Designed with the input of more than 30 physicians and PHDs in biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics, the Embody Office Chair offers your neck and back serious support. Instead of locking you into the seat, this modern ergonomic office chair encourages effortless long-term sitting. Its signature spinal design lets you manually fine-tune the fit to your back while a matrix of pixels in the seat and back automatically conforms to your micromovements.
To discover how Herman Miller Professional can help you outfit a more ergonomic office and help you avoid unnecessary back and neck pain, sign up today.
Dowell, Green, and Yuan (2001), “Office Seating Behaviors: An Investigation of Posture, Task, and Job Type,” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 45th Annual Meeting.