Ergonomics 101

Now that I’m back behind my desk regularly, the setup I have for my desk, mouse, chair, and keyboard is starting to be problematic. I rather like how it’s arranged – I have a nice monitor and natch keyboard (I can’t type on flat keyboards anymore. Ow ow ow), but my chair is really becoming a problem. My older leather standard joe office chair finally fell apart, and I’m using a similar shaped one now, but it’s causing all sorts of aches and pains.
I don’t trust ‘ergonomic’ chairs in general, since it’s just a buzzword nowadays. The concept is totally valid, but you can’t ‘shop’ for an ‘ergonmic chair’ – you have to go sit in a lot of chairs until one clicks in. I was under the impression that most chairs are basically the same, and there are minor improvements left and right, but really, being 6’6″ means I’ll never be totally comfortable.
Oh, woe, was I wrong. I found a chair and a situation that is incredibly comfortable and perfect and great. But there’s a catch.
Next to my current favorite lunchtime spot there’s a Relax the Back store. I’d seen these around, but never actually stopped in. I figured, in my search for a good chair, lets start with a specialist.
Had a great chat with the owner – the store was large, had some normal-looking office chairs – they don’t look particularly edgy or special, just regular high-back chairs.
I sat down in one, and started fiddling. And then fiddled more. And the manager fiddled some more, and… eventually… it just clicked in. The position was right, the support was right, the armrests were right… it.. was just right. I’d never been that comfortable in an office chair before. We added wrist rests (sort of palm-sized cups for the hands), and a foot rest (normally I don’t do foot rests, and actually started to tell him that, but then he adjusted it right, and… voila! It worked!) and I felt I could work there all day without a single twinge. Delightful!
So, after 15 minutes of this, realizing I was running a little late for lunch, I finally asked the fellow how much the chair was, with the accoutrements I was using (wrist rests and headrest). “Oh, that chair is… lessee… 1495.”
1495. One thousand, four hundred, and ninety five dollars. For a chair. Granted, an amazingly cool comfortable wonderful chair. But YIKES!
Ah well, guess I’ll keep shopping. At least I have a baseline to compare it to now.
<small voice> yeah, but, it was a really nice chair. </>

Dave Shevett

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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7 thoughts on “Ergonomics 101

  1. you could GO TO STAPLES and sit on chairs there, you know. you could even do it this afternoon after you pick up the boy.
    I managed to find one that worked for me there a few years ago, and i’m equally fussy…

  2. I’ll accept that. But is there any other source for this kind of chair? It was good enough I’d consider paying about half that amount for it (yes, more than a kewlio Aero), but not $1500!

  3. If you can find the exact same chair and additions for less elsewhere, go for it. If you can’t, though, consider this:
    You’re going to be sitting in this thing for multiple hours on end, every single day. Wouldn’t you rather do that without pain? What’s wrong with spending money on yourself so that you can be comfortable and pain-free while working?
    Also, consider that you’re not spending this sort of money every year; amortize the cost out over the expected lifetime of the chair. If it lasts 5 years, that’s only $300/year of comfort. Not that shabby a deal.
    Don’t forget, I was right about spending a bit more money on that dremel tool, too. ;^)

  4. I’m with Lin. A good chair will last a long time and your body will be *so* much happier. It’s a lot of cash to layout at once, but a bad chair will cost more in terms of medical stuff.
    Also, talk to Sean. He’s been test driving chairs lately and might have suggestions on good chairs for you and how you could bring one home and test it out, etc.

  5. My God. Chairs don’t really cost that much, do they? You could shell out $300 a year for comfort, but that doesn’t sweeten the deal, if you ask me.

  6. I bought an RH chair last year because of a bad back, and the improvement is unbelievable.
    It is fantastic build quality, and includes a lumbar pump that you pump up to promote the natural S-shape in your spine.
    I ordered it from Posturite in the UK who as well as delievered it, came round to set me up in the chair so that I could realise the true benifit of the chair.
    Well worth while.

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