by Ma. Cristina G. Lim
I bet all of us have heard the story of Goldilocks and the three bears in pre-school. I mean, who would forget the mischievous little girl with golden, curly hair who wandered through the forest and stumbled upon the house of the three bears? Then tasted their porridge, sat on their chairs and slept on their bed? Yeah, I know you still remember it too.
But still, let me recount the part in the story where she decided to rest in the living room and saw the three chairs. Goldilocks sat on the first chair and rest her feet, but realized right away that Papa Bear’s chair was too big for her. So she tried the medium-sized chair which belongs to Mama Bear and it still did not fit her well. She then moved on to the last and smallest chair, and just as she thought it was just right for her, it broke into pieces.
This goes to show that as important as it is to take into consideration the look and feel of the chair, durability is far more essential. Chairs have three different options for seat-back heights: low, mid and high. The nature of employees’ day-to-day responsibilities largely determines which back height levels are appropriate for them, making it relatively easy to make buying decisions regarding this feature.
The term low-back, mid-back and high-back chairs do not refer to the height of the back rests, as most of us think. Instead, they refer to the area of our back the chair has been designed to support.
They are also commonly referred to as ‘task chairs’. The top of the seat-back usually ends just below the shoulder blades. Unfortunately, these chairs do not support your upper back, neck or head. This is ideal for employees who are active at their desks and constantly leaning forward.
The top of the seat-back comes up to the shoulders or just below. They are designed to support the middle of your back as well as your lower back. It is normal to see mid-back chairs with some sort of built-in lumbar support. They also support the shoulder-blade area of your back, so that you may lean back into them without placing pressure or strain on your spine. Ideal for employees who need a good deal of back support from working all day, employees typing on computers most of the day.
The top of the seat-back comes up over the shoulders and may even feature a headrest. They are usually used as executive chairs as it add comfort for constant meetings and frequent solo brainstorming sessions. They usually features more adjusting options for a personalized and customized seating experience. The head rests on high-back chairs support your upper back by allowing you to relax your neck and trap muscles whenever you need to. These chairs support your middle back, because they come higher than your shoulder blades. Your lumbar spine is often supported with some type of built-in lumbar support.
Sometimes, this lumbar support (among other things) is highly adjustable so that you can create a chair which fits you like a glove.
We can therefore conclude that low-back chairs are the most cost-efficient, high-back chairs are the most expensive and mid-back chairs are somewhere in between.
From these, it is advisable to understand first the nature of the work of the would-be user before making a purchase. Although there are other factors that we also need to take into account--- such as adjustability, weight capacity, seat dimensions and rotation--- it is undeniable that seat-back height is one of the benefits that employees love about their chairs.
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