Could One Item in Your Office Be Hurting Your Productivity?

Do you ever get to the end of a long day and wonder just where the time went?  Do you find your to-do list still looks the same as it did when you started and you feel like you accomplished nothing?  Of course you have, we all have days like that.  What if your week consists of more days like that and less days where you felt productive?  Instead of wondering what is wrong with you, consider this.

Your lack of productivity could be your chair's fault.Click To Tweet

Seriously. A study has shown that sitting in a comfortable, ergonomic chair can improve worker productivity up to 17.8%.

If you’re like me, you haven’t put too much thought into your office chair.  I spent a lot of time researching computers, printers, software, online services, microphones, headsets… you get the picture. But my chair?  I just grabbed an office chair with a decent price on it at my local office supply store.  And when that one broke a couple of years later, I grabbed another inexpensive one somewhere else.  After my move, I inherited someone else’s bargain office chair.  It looked expensive, but after sitting in it for an hour or so my back began to ache and when I’d get up to move around my knees complained. A lot.

I also noticed I was struggling to have productive days.  I didn’t connect the two.  I also didn’t even think about replacing the chair, even though it had been semi-broken since the day I started using it.

Late last week, as I swiveled around to grab something behind me, I heard the sound of the gas lift finally give up the ghost.  And the search began.

My first impulse was to grab another cheap task chair and I came thisclose to hitting the buy button.  Until I stumbled upon a report that shared the 17.8 productivity increase with ergonomic chairs.  Much like realizing it was time to have my professional pictures taken, now I knew it was time to buy a really good chair.  After all, I spend hours in it, in front of a computer working.  Sure, I get up and move around every hour or so, but there’s no getting around that my business requires a lot of sitting.

I started researching office chairs.  Names like Herman Miller, Humanscale and Steelcase appeared over and over.  There was just one problem.  These chairs are expensive!  I’m talking in the $1000.00 range.  And while I knew they were worth the money, it just wasn’t in my operating budget at the moment.  That’s what I thought until I discovered something else.

Repurposed Office Furniture Stores.

That’s right, there are stores and warehouses out there with the sole purpose of finding new homes for secondhand office furniture.  And they have all of those big names in ergonomic chairs at prices much easier on the budget.  Before I visited my local warehouse I made sure to do a bit more research.  I knew I wanted a Steelcase chair, but I wasn’t sure if the warehouse would have the Leap or the Think which I was drawn to.  I decided to research some of the older Steelcase models and find alternatives just in case.

I did find several Steelcase Leap chairs for an amazing $250.00, but after sitting in and trying out tons of others I found that I really liked the Steelcase Rally task chair better for me.  I paid $112.00 for my Rally in incredibly perfect condition. I even got a chair mat for $11.00.  And when I got it home and sat in it?

The little Bean, my office assistant, in the new chair.
The little Bean, my office assistant, in the new chair.

A-MA-ZING!

I’m not kidding.  I had no idea that the way a chair was designed could change the way you sit so much.  Where the old ones always seemed to have me leaning forward in order to reach my keyboard and type, this one allows me to lean back, with the lumbar support in the exact right position.  Instead of sitting with my feet barely touching the floor because I never could get the height adjustment just right, I’m now sitting with my feet flat on the floor.  And even more importantly, instead of being distracted by my discomfort I’m able to simply focus on what I’m doing.

I’ve seen an increase in my productivity already and I expect I’ll continue to.  I know that my new chair won’t keep me from ever having a non-productive day again. We all have them.  What it will do is make working more comfortable, make getting up from my desk every hour or so easier on my aging knees and keep my back from aching all day as I work.  How could that not equal an increase in productivity?