a man sitting in an air office chair

How Should You Sit in an Office Chair

Back pain is way too familiar for the modern-day office worker and it can severely impact performance and productivity at the workplace.

If your job demands you to sit for up to eight hours you know how it feels and probably you’ve taken some days off to address back pain. Ergonomic office chairs can help with your posture and keep you comfortable the whole time at work.

It is not only back pain that you risk suffering from for not observing the correct sitting posture. There is a risk to your neck, knees, and even hips.

Here is the problem: Many people including me and you tend to slouch either forward or backward when sitting, especially when working for long hours.

See this may seem normal and harmless at first, but as time passes, your back develops a lot of pressure and fatigue which later gives in to unbearable pain.

Not to worry however since there is something you can do to knock out this effect and have a healthy working life.

Solution: Observing Proper Sitting Posture

More of the solution to back pain and other muscular strains goes to being mindful and practicing safe sitting positions throughout the workday. You also need to get yourself the best office chair for bad backs since all the benefits of proper sitting posture may be hard to achieve if your office chair doesn’t support you correctly.

Once you are familiar with proper sitting posture and all it has to offer, it becomes easier to shape yourself up when you realize you are slouching and with time good sitting posture becomes your new normal.

What Does Good Posture Look Like?

If you are not sure of how you are supposed to be sitting to minimize and possibly do away with back pain, here are pointers to get you started.

  • Both your feet should be flat on the ground
  • Keeps your knees and hips at 90 degrees
  • Don’t slouch forward
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • If you are using a monitor, keep it in a close arm’s distance with the top of the screen at the same level with your eyes
  • Your thighs should be parallel to the floor
  • Keep your hips the farthest back they can go in the chair

How to Sit Down on Your Office Chair Correctly

Workplace strain and injuries can be avoided and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Let’s break down a checklist that you can carry to your workplace to ensure you sit healthy and leave work smiling more.

Your Back: Support it at All Costs

You don’t want back pains, do you? Then do your best to ensure you are sitting upright to avoid spinal stress. Make sure your upper back is straight and the lower back takes the shape of the ergonomic office chair.

Your seat’s backrest should be strong enough to support the weight of your back and also have reclining capabilities so you can adjust when there is need.

If you don’t own an ergonomic chair with reclining capabilities, be sure to stack an extra pillow on the backrest for more comfort.

Feet: Keep them Flat on The Ground

There is no doubt that sitting in one position for long hours can be discomforting to the legs. It’s a smart idea to keep your feet flat on the ground to ensure adequate blood circulation in them.

Other feet positions like bending them to rest on the legs of the seat decrease blood flow to the toes and are not recommended, especially if you are sitting for a long time.

If you aren’t tall enough to have your feet resting flat on the floor, or the height of your desk demands you to sit higher, consider getting a footrest which lets you rest your feet at a more comfortable level.

Keep Your Upper Arms Parallel to your Spine

When sitting at your office chair, your upper arms should be parallel to your spine and forearms rested comfortably on the work desk. At this point your elbow will bend at 90 degrees, if it’s not the case, adjust your chair higher or lower according to the need.

Armrests play a key role in ensuring proper work desk posture. When we slouch, we put too much weight on the back instead of the arms leading to strain. If your seat has adjustable armrests, play with them until you get a comfortable alignment to maintain the 90-degrees elbow angle.

Maintain a Comfortable Distance With Your Desk

More tension and fatigue on the back is often caused by overstretching to reach your desk, type on your keyboard or use the mouse. To solve this, sit a little closer to your desk and maintain the right distance throughout the workday.

Also, place the accessories you frequently use within close reach; your keyboard and mouse should be directly in front of you. Keep your cell phone close to prevent straining to reach it when you get a call or text

When typing or using the mouse, ensure wrists are straight and upper arms close to your body. It’s advisable to use keyboard shortcuts to minimize reaching the mouse and frequently alternating the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving it to the other side of the keyboard.

Watch the Height of Your Monitor

Working with a monitor which is not directly in front of you can lead into awkward positions. A quick but working tip is to place your monitor at about an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at eye level. If your monitor is too high or too low, adjust it into place; you might need a monitor stand for this.

Other factors to watch about your screen are glare and reflection. Your screen should be as glare free as possible to prevent eye strain. You can also adjust the screen’s brightness and contrast to make it more comfortable.

Take Frequent Breaks to Stretch

No matter how good your sitting position is, prolonged positions will inhibit blood circulation and drain energy from your body. Frequent short breaks are a good way to relax your back muscles and prevent strain.

Take 2-3 minutes stretch breaks after every 30 minutes of work and after working for an hour straight, take a break of 10 to 15 minutes or change tasks. To reduce eye strain, cover your eyes with your palms for 10 to 15 seconds on a frequent basis; also take your eyes off the screen and focus on a distant object to prevent eye fatigue.

How Should You Sit in an Office Chair Final Thought

Working on an office desk involves having to sit for long hours – a position that builds tension and stresses the structures of the spine. To avoid falling victim of back-, wrists and eye strain, put into practice the tips you’ve just learned. Although observing all the tips can seem difficult at first, we promise you that you’ll feel the difference over time and perhaps make sitting well a habit.