Alternative Office Chairs for Back & RSI Sufferers

Nowadays, there are many different types of office seating to choose from besides the conventional 5 star base swivel chair.

This widening range of seat choice has frequently been driven by the needs of those who have back and RSI related problems. Such users often discover that they just  can’t find a conventional Office Chair that they can be comfortable in.

So, what sort of alternative seats can the office user choose from these days? One of the most popular choices for back and repetitive strain injury sufferers is the kneeling chair. This can be a really effective alternative to a conventional Office Chair as it forces the user to maintain a fairly healthy posture and makes it difficult for them to adopt a poor posture.

The reason for this is that the user kneels onto forward mounted padded knee rests and their bottom really only rests on the rear mounted seat pad. This has the effect of placing the person’s body weight forwards which encourages the natural curvature of the spine, known as the lordosis to be maintained.

Some people find sitting in a kneeling chair difficult for long periods of time and so choose to alternate between their knee seat and their normal Office Chair. For others this isn’t a problem.

In my next post I will take a look at some of the other types of alternative seating including ergonomic stools, ball chairs and sit/stand chairs.

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Can My Office Chair Be Repaired? Part 2

In the first part of my post on Office Chair repair I considered the two commonest problems I find with office seat damage – faulty gas lifts and upholstery damage and wear.

So what other problems do I typically encounter requiring repair work to an office task or operator’s chair?

Quite a common problem occurs where the chair’s castor either shears or breaks up making it necessary to fit either a new castor or occasionally a new 5 star chair base if the swivel base socket where the chair castor fits, is broken. This is quite common with plastic chair bases which more and more Office Chairs are manufactured with nowadays in an attempt to keep the chair’s cost down.

If you look under the chair’s base you should be able to assess which you need, depending on the chair’s age a replacement shouldn’t be too difficult to get hold of.

A less common problem is a broken chair arm, it will depend on the damage as to how easily a new arm can be fitted to your Office Chair. If it has broken on the section that joins the chair’s body it may not be possible or cost effective to replace it, in which case a new office seat is your only answer.

It might be possible to make a warranty claim on a fairly new chair, but bear in mind this kind of damage is more likely the result of abuse rather than faulty chair manufacture. I once had a complaint on a good quality chair and it was only in speaking to the security department that I found that late working staff had been having chair races up and down the office and crashing them!

Another problem often associated with misuse is a broken chair back where either the fixings in the chair back have ripped out or the chair back stem has sheared or become severely distorted.

So, I suggest that it’s best to be honest with your Office Chair supplier, if the chair has been misused they will usually be able to spot it fairly easily. They might even repair it without charge as a gesture of good will, especially if you are a good client of theirs.

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Can My Office Chair Be Repaired?

Office Chairs can take a lot of hammer in the average office environment and although chair component failure isn’t common it’s by no means unknown.

So what sort of problems can occur with your office seat and what are the practicalities of fixing them.

Probably one of the commonest problems I find with an Office Chair is a faulty gas lift, this typically occurs where the chair’s gas lift (height adjustment mechanism), won’t maintain its height setting. As soon as the user sits on the chair seat it just sinks slowly.

This can usually be fixed relatively simply, you just need to get a replacement gas lift from the chair manufacturer or office chair supplier. Fitting it is simple provided the gas lift stem can be released from the chair base and seat. The supplier may need to do this for you if the gas lift is seized in the chair, using a specialist chair drift.

The next common problem I find is damaged or worn chair upholstery. More often than not re-upholstery is your only option. Whether it is worth re-covering your office seat will depend on a number of factors, including the chair’s overall condition, cost relative to the price of a new chair, availability of fabric in the same finish if it is to match other chairs in the office or whether the chair’s design allows re-upholstery without damaging other parts of the office chair.

I will consider the remaining repair problems with Office Chairs in my next post.
Tags: office chairs, office seating

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