In last weeks blog I talked about the design of standing desks. This week, we are going to look at office chairs for the times when individuals need to sit. Have you ever noticed that you work more productively in one type of chair over another? It is very likely that you do. An article on office chairs states: “studies indicate that a good ergonomically designed chair can increase a worker’s productivity as much as 25 percent” (Fitzgerald, 1994). This same article outlined the standard for a good office chair:
1. the height of a seat shall allow the user to place feet firmly on a support surface, 2. the seat depth shall permit contact with the seat back in the lumbar region, 3. seat cushions shall be at least 18.2 inches wide, 4. the angle between the upper and lower leg, with the lower part perpendicular to the floor, shall be between 60 and 100 degrees. (Fitzgerald, 1994).
These elements are important because you need energy to sit up in a chair. A good chair slows muscle fatigue and therefor also slows loss of efficiency. Back support is extremely important because “back-related injury is a leading cause of lost work time in the U.S” and these injuries represent “70 percent of all workers’ compensation claims” (Fitzgerald, 1994).
One interesting, though not perfect, design for a chair is the Multi-Functional Fashion Chair by Li and Liu. This chair, shown below was designed to keep in mind “system stability, integrity, and aesthetic research” (Li & Liu, 2016). The designers created only black and white chairs because according to Li and Liu, “bright colors easily stimulate people’s vision and bring a kind of fatigue.”
This design works because of the features the designers included in the chair. As shown below, they added a folding board that when “gently pressed can pop up,” a USB plug, speakers, and a pocket (Li & Liu, 2016). These elements are all hidden away so that they do not take away from the visual appeal of the chair.
One question I have about this design is why the creators chose to make it a rocking chair. Usually chairs meant to be in offices are either rolling or have four simple legs. I believe that a rocking chair is slightly less sturdy, and would be distracting to users.
Fitzgerald, S. (1994). Office chairs and productivity: Exploring the ergonomic link. Telemarketing, 12(8), 55.
Li, X., & Liu, L. (2016). Design of Multi-Function Fashion Chair Based on Human Factors Engineering. Applied Mechanics and Materials, 851, 884-887.