Everyone, it's time to take your seat
Studies show that the average office worker spends approximately 6.5 hours a day sitting. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have the right seating. For this reason, the chairs in your office should be both comfortable and match the aesthetic and culture of your business.
However, it can be a tricky challenge to find seating because any “office chair” isn’t one-size-fits-all. You’ll need different types of chairs to serve specific purposes in your workplace.
Types of office chairs
Like a house, different rooms in your workplace each have their own function. You sit on a dining room chair to watch TV in the living room or have a sofa in the kitchen for that matter. It’s the same in an office.
Task and executive seating
This is the chair people think of when they hear the term “office chair.”
- Used at individual workspaces (like desks and cubicles)
- Used anywhere from 8-24 hours each day (depending on the workplace)
- Typically have adjustments to accommodate a range of body types and seating positions
Looking for a new task chair? See some of our most popular options.
Popular Task Chairs
This is the “meeting chair.” These have many users and are simple with as few adjustment features as possible. This is done for a couple of reasons:
- They are usually only used to hold meetings, so most people will be comfortable sitting in them for this short time.
- These chairs are meant to be uniform. If everyone is adjusted differently, your conference room will look like a mess.
Guest seating is used in waiting areas or across from the main occupant of the desk (ie: a lawyer and a client). These chairs are meant to be welcoming to people visiting your office for a short period of time.
- Lack of adjustments
- Come in a variety of colors, finishes, fabrics, weight limits and type of casters to make them more inviting and in tune with the décor
While this type of seating was traditionally reserved for the reception area of business, modern offices are using lounge seating in other “common spaces” in the office to promote team collaboration.
- Informal with a home-like feel (i.e. sofas or benches)
- Make visitors feel at ease
- Encourage group interaction among your employees
Whether your office is relocating across St. Louis and you need seating for your new space, or if you simply need a new task chair, our furniture division is here to help. We’ll assist you in choosing seating for your workspace that is functional and fits your company culture.
How to choose the right office chair
There’s more to know than just what type of seating goes where and whether or not it will complement your company culture. However, the features of your office chair are particularly important to consider when purchasing a task/executive type. Since this chair will be used most often, it makes sense that it is chosen to pair with the user’s unique body type, needs, and preferences. However, if you are looking to purchase a fleet for a new office renovation, it’s best to develop a standard that will best accommodate everyone.
What is your budget?
Task chairs can cost anywhere from $100 to $1500. This price is determined by the number of features, warranty, finishes, and general comfort of the product.
What weight limit will maximize the life of your office chair?
This is extremely important to consider when making a purchase. The average amount of time a person will sit in the chair directly affects its weight limits. Some chairs are only rated for a few hours of seating a day and can support a maximum of 250 lbs. Other chairs may be rated for 24-hour use with a maximum of 500 lbs. weight support.
Does your chair require a high-back or a mid-back?
This is simply a question of how high the back of your chair should reach. Typically, high-back office chairs can be found as conference seating or as a luxury feature for an executive’s task chair. A mid-back is customary for a normal workstation and desk setting.
What is the best seat depth for your office chair?
Seat depth is sometimes an adjustable feature on a chair, and for good reason. Depending on how tall or short some of your employees are they will require depth change to sit comfortably.
Which type of caster is best for your flooring surface?
Re-flooring a workplace is a costly expense and easily avoidable if you choose a chair with the right caster. It’s simple: hard caster is for carpet, soft caster is for hard surface floor.
(Note: the best way to fully protect your office flooring is to pair a chair with the right type of caster with a chair mat.)
What type of mechanism control your chair adjustments?
This is the most basic type of mechanism is one that has several paddles on the bottom of the chair; these control different adjustments features (height adjustment, seat slide adjustment, tension adjustment, and back angle lock). While these are the most common, they’re also the most confusing. Higher-end chairs have auto-mechanisms. These are intuitive to the user and reduce the number of manual adjustments that have to be made.
What type of arms do you prefer your office chair to have?
Depending on the type of chair, it will either have a fixed, height-adjustable and/or adjustable pivot range. As you might have guessed, conference, guest and lounge types will almost certainly have fixed arms. Depending on the quality level of a task/executive chair, these can have adjustable arms to improve comfort and ergonomics.
What type of fabric do you prefer your office chair to have?
Office chairs come in a variety of materials such as leather, mesh, vinyl, cloth, polyester, and more. Certain materials, like leather, will cost more than others and are typically reserved for executive task chairs. The fabrics will also have different properties. For example, mesh is a much more breathable fabric compared to its counterparts. It is important to know that not all chairs come in a variety of fabrics. If you are purchasing a uniform fleet, make sure the standard chair you choose fits the decor in each room.
What type of base should your chair have?
The base of your office chair is an important but often overlooked feature. This is because the finish will affect the sturdiness of the chair. On higher-end chairs, you can find a variety of finishes to choose from. Your choice will bolster the chair’s construction and provide a choice of aesthetic. On inexpensive chairs, it’s common for the base to be plastic, which can be compromised.
Does your office chair have lumbar support?
Lumbar support refers to the chair’s ability to support the spine. While this may seem like a highly important aspect, this is not a standard feature. Many chairs don’t have it and some have it but it’s not adjustable. You can rely on the higher-end chairs to have adjustable lumbar support. These not only fit a variety of users, but it gives each of them the tailed ergonomics that their body requires when sitting for long periods of time.
What is the warranty on your new office chair?
Most office chairs will come with a warranty, especially those from reputable manufacturers like Steelcase. These warranties can range from 1 year to 12 years to a lifetime. Be sure to check what’s included in your chair’s warranty. Not all will include the labor to repair a broken chair even if the missing or malfunctioning part is covered.
Does your chair come assembled?
Not all chairs come assembled, so be sure to check before you buy! Some of the inexpensive chairs can take as much as 3X the amount of labor to assemble. This is why pre-assembly of a cheaper chair can drive up the cost exponentially. So be careful and check your chair’s stats to make sure you’re getting a quality piece of furniture.