Let’s talk about office chairs.
I’ve got to be honest here, before creating WorkLodge I was one of those folks that would go chair shopping and pick whatever I could find, as long as it was less than a couple hundred dollars. I’d look at one, maybe sit in it for a few seconds and that was the extent of my research.
When we started working on this business, I started to dig a little deeper because I knew our goal was to deliver a premium experience and level of quality, and I figured there must be more to the chair ‘thing’ than I knew.
After looking at stadiums (literally) full of wheels, arms, gas lifts and more, I’m not saying I’ve got a phD in chairs but I feel like I’m pretty close! So here’s what you should be looking at if you’re shopping for one, or shopping around workspaces that include one, and it’s not the chair in the image above!
Plastic is evil
Have you ever sat in a chair for a long period of time and started to feel a little ache or pain? Plastic is why.
Lower priced chairs use plastic or nylon for everything. Plastic backs, seats (underneath the cushion), bases and wheels. It’s inexpensive, easy to clean but there’s a problem. It doesn’t last, isn’t strong and as a result, doesn’t support you well.
Flex is the enemy, especially for your back. When you sit in a chair for hours each day that flexes it’s changing the support pressure it provides, and that’s what causes the pain and aches.
Our newest v.3 chair attacks some of these deficiencies by using steel and aluminum for the back rest, subframe, base and more. This rigidity keeps the chair shape precise, all day every day which means it will support you in the same way, no matter how long you’re sitting.
Lose the padding
Seat padding doesn’t exist on higher end chairs for a reason. No matter how supportive, how dense the foam used, by nature, it compresses and creates that ‘flat seat’ you’ve probably felt. Manufacturers have tried hard by experimenting with different foams, I’ve even seen tempurpedic chair padding. We tried to improve ours in our v.2 chairs and although it was significantly better, it still wasn’t enough. We moved to a high-tension fabric seat for the newest version because it flexes, to a point, while still supporting. This is what you’ll see on all the higher end chairs.
Adjustability is everything
Every chair goes up and down, or at least it should. But there’s so much more than that available now. Arm rests that move side to side, forward and backwards, even twisting to come in or out at the front or back are a huge improvement. Lumbar support that’s adjustable is even better and a neck / head rests for when you lean back. We took it all the way up to 11 and created a chair where the entire seat AND whole back are adjustable, to get that perfect fit especially when you’re tall. It’s hard to describe in words, but when you see it you’ll believe it, but be warned. Once you’ve experienced it, there’s no going back.
There’s so many other things to look for (quiet motion wheels so you don’t rattle the room, disturbing everyone else or oversized seat widths for additional comfort to name just a couple) we could go on, but if you nail the big 3, you’re on the road to chair heaven.
At WorkLodge, our goal with our chairs was to demonstrate in one small way, the level of thought, intentionality and effort that we put into delivering the best experiences possible to our members. It’s not quite the 30 way adjustable seat that Lincoln’s provide, but we’ll settle for 18 way adjustability (that’s more than a Herman Miller Aeron)… For now.