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How much do employers and employees truly value their office chair? I have been involved in office furniture installation for nearly 10 years and it constantly amazes me how a desk is valued far more than a chair. Both are inanimate objects, true; however a desk's purpose is simply too keep your computer, paperwork, photos of your family etc… off the floor. The value of the desk is 90% aesthetic. When I see clients with regard to office refurbishment, in 9 out of 10 cases they have a set budget. From this budget, office desks generally take priority, with office chair selection dictated by funds remaining after the desks have been chosen.

But why? Lets look at some maths for a minute. You work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year. If we say you are sat at your desk approximately 5 hours per day in the course of a year you spend 1200 hours sat in your office chair. If you want to visualise this better 1200 hours is the same as 50 days and nights solid sitting down.

So what do you sit on at work?

Budget operator chairs are available from as little as £30. Whilst these are of solid construction and in a lot of cases guaranteed for up to 5 years, they are simply not ergonomically suitable for prolonged use.

It could be suggested that an employers provision for seating, bluntly comes down to how much they value the well being of their staff.

If anyone believes the above statement to be a little dramatic it is worth knowing that the official prevalence of back pain in the UK is 16.5million sufferers. Reports suggest approximately 5 million days per year are lost in the UK working days are lost in Britain through back pain.

2005 reports state that stress has recently overtaken back pain as the most common cause for absenteeism in the workplace. According to the HSE up to 5 million people in the UK claim to feel 'very' or 'extremely' stressed by their work. Obviously stress has a number on contributory factors but having to maintain an uncomfortable posture would certainly be a major one

It is wrong to suggest that more appropriate office chair provision will completely alleviate these problems. It must however surely help whilst improving overall motivation from staff whilst they are at work.

Orthopaedic seating is readily available through most good office furniture suppliers, however when office furniture quotes and tenders are created in a price driven market, no one seems to have analysed the true cost implications of inappropriate seating.
About the Author

Craig Jones is Sales and Marketing Director for Quality Direct Office Supplies Ltd (QDOS). QDOS are based in Nottingham, England and specialise in Office furniture design and installation throughout the UK. To view the company website To email Craig directly

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