Office Chairs

February 9, 2009

Tim Ferriss who wrote the 4-Hour Work Week, did a great review and some good research on Finding the Perfect Office Chair.

As an ergonomist who works every day with how people sit and work comfortably, and people who experience pain from it, I was fascinated with his process.

After consulting Twitter and trying things on his own, he decided to purchase a Herman Miller Aeron chair .

Even though I’m financially comfortable now…I had trouble believing a chair could possibly be worth $850-$1,200, but my back pain led me to pose the question to the omniscient Interweb.

How did others feel? – More than 95% of Aeron users replied with “yes, absolutely” 

He did  find the Aeron chair  to help with his lower back issues.

It was surprising to me to hear such a high positive response rate for the Aeron chair from Tim’s Twitter followers.

Estimating my own professional experience performing 6000- 7000 ergonomic assessments, perhaps 30-40% of users were sitting in Aeron chairs. I would say their average comfort level was about 50%.

I have taken alot of users who were uncomfortable in this chair out of it and into other types of ergonomic chairs such as Soma or Office Master chairs. Users found these chairs to be more comfortable than the Aeron chairs.

This goes back to the bases of ergonomics – it is ergonomic for those that fit into the anthropometric of a particular design for a specific body type. There is something out there for everyone, it is just a matter of finding what works for you and using it in a neutral position. 

I wonder if Tim got any instruction on setting up his chair to actually fit his body so he can work in a neutral position. (Tim, if you’re reading this, I know you’re in the Bay Area and I’d be happy to offer you a free evaluation. Just call me at the number to the right.) From the picture on the website, it looks like he fixed his chair but not the rest of the ergonomics of his workstation. I hope with his back issues getting resolved he does not get pain in any other part of his body.

San Francisco Bay Area Ergonomist
Serafine Janice Lilien, ergoarts
Call me at: 650-224-7294

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