Given the amount of time spent on chairs by the average office employee, it is surprising how armrests usually go unnoticed. They are not the most glamorous part of a chair but their importance should not be overlooked. When asked, most office employees generally recognize the importance of armrests, when considering the long working hours at the office and will agree that a chair with comfortable armrests does have significant health benefits.
A comfortable chair can go a long way in making employees feel better while working at their desks. As more and more jobs become reliant on desk work, it is important to look after the health of the employees and office colleagues. Chairs with armrests have shown significant improvement in the work efficiency and morale of office employees because they are more comfortable in their chairs.
Other than this, armrests are aesthetically pleasing and look better on chairs. They can also give a responsible look to the office chairs which results in better productivity from employees as studies have shown that workers are more productive when given the feeling of authority and responsibility. Professional offices and executive chairs also have a unique or “One of a kind” type of armrest on the executive chair. High-end chairs might also include padding for added comfort. These chairs are really expensive but even entry-level chairs can come with padding.
From a health perspective, circulation of blood has also been shown to improve with the right kind of armrest. There are numerous benefits to having armrests but to reap said benefits, chairs need to have armrests that are comfortable, flexible, and adjustable for the user because fixed armrests offer fewer benefits. So, an armrest that can adjust itself with the height of the seats offers more flexibility and comfort to the user and which are made with the standard and comfortable materials.
The majority of the workforce will not be aware of how harmful the sedentary work-life without armrests is, but office managers and business owners must look after these small details so that their employees’ health is not adversely affected.
Opting for armrests or removing them has become a controversial topic in the furniture industry, many experts have lined up on both sides of the argument but there is a common consensus that the right kind of armrests will always benefit the workforce and the office as a whole.
Here are some ergonomic benefits of having armrests in the office chairs, that might be helpful for the office managers to decide on the type of chairs they should purchase for their office space:
- Helps in Maintaining a Natural Posture
As employees spend long hours of the workday sitting at their chairs, they need to maintain proper posture for their health. Armrests make it comfortable for the person sitting on the chair to keep a natural posture. Biology tells us that the muscles can produce maximum force when the body is at its natural position, i.e., when all the joints are at their normal resting position. This translates to lower effort while typing, drawing, or working on anything, which ultimately means less effort has to be put in for more work. A natural typing position helps a lot when working on long projects and hours. Employees that type a lot, or work on computers all day are also at a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and ergonomic chairs with comfortable armrests can help prevent this health hazard.
A natural position is also better for aging employees whose bodies are more prone to health problems. Joint problems are reduced as a result of the natural posture as in an unnatural position there is continuous stress on the joints.
Since, in a natural seating position, the body posture has forearms almost in line with the desk, therefore this is the place where the use of armrests would make it easier to hold the forearms in a comfortable position. It is very important to have armrests to support the elbows or forearms while maintaining a natural posture so that the body is in a state of ease over long periods.
Health surveys have mentioned that the stress on the musculoskeletal system is at its least when the body is in its natural position. Desk jobs are notorious for deteriorating muscles and making bones weaker, which is why an armrest with the right dimensions and position can benefit the user’s health immensely.
Similarly, the spine and backbone are also easily aligned with minimal effort due to which the risk of backaches and spinal problems in the future are greatly reduced because of the natural posture. Thus, health-wise the natural position that is made easier by armrests is one of the best postures to maintain.
- Strain-Free Rest
The modern work culture imposes a higher dependency on ergonomic office desks and chairs of the employees that have become the major instruments for workforce efficiency and productivity. Without proper chairs and desks, working today in an office set-up is almost impossible.
As the employees spend tedious hours at their jobs on their desks, it requires them to take short breaks while still sitting on their chairs and working. An ergonomic armrest goes a long way in providing a more strain-free rest on the chair with minimal muscle traction when taking such small breaks on their office chairs. Without armrests, the arms would be really in a very uncomfortable situation. These little breaks without getting up from the chair are really important as they reduce stress and give much-needed rest to the employees without disrupting the flow of the work.
Some researchers have shown that small breaks during work can really prove to be beneficial and more productive for modern-day employees. Spending too much time without resting at the desk or moving around away from the chair are both harmful, due to this it is very important to have hand-rests on the chair. Another added benefit of being able to rest in the chair comfortably is during long meetings where most office workers will have to sit and listen for hours.
Employees might also sometimes take lunch breaks at their desks which is when armrests are really important. The muscle tension that builds up while working needs to be released and it is much easier to relax while resting. The stress is also diverted from the neck and shoulder areas and is relieved.
As mentioned above, a good position is really important while working, and the same goes for resting periods or breaks at the desk. The lack of a proper place to rest the arms while on a break on the chair could be really frustrating and frustration is really bad for stress.
Office managers need to take a lot of things into account while purchasing furniture for the office, as such, they also need to consider if the workers take breaks at their desks or if they prefer to get up for shorter breaks. The work culture might prohibit employees from regularly getting away from the workstation so, it’s a relief for them that they can rest and cool off in their office chairs. They can also have coffee or other refreshments at the desk and take the support of the armrests and relax. Small details like this might significantly increase the comfort and morale of the workforce.
- Balance And Centre of Gravity
Falling from chairs could be a common phenomenon in most of the offices and to prevent such a mishap or accident, chairs need to have proper balance. Most of this depends on the user but there are certain ways to make sure that the Centre of Gravity of the chair is balanced.
This is where the ergonomic armrests of the chair play their part!
Placing the weight of the arms on the armrests reduces some of the downward gravity on the spine and aids in not only preserving and improving posture but also maintaining the right Centre of Gravity on the chair.
Some chairs with small wheels are really popular but they are also unstable which is why extra care must be taken to buy balanced chairs with proper armrests. Without armrests, the chair would wobble, which can sometimes cause minor accidents and even fatal injuries in some worst-case scenarios!
When a chair falls the first thing someone does is try to balance it with the help of the armrests. A properly placed hand-rest can prevent a lot of damage and accidents. Mobility can also be improved by these rests. It is difficult for users to move chairs without getting up from them first if they do not have armrests. The same principle is applied to wheel-less chairs.
Any office worker that has used office chairs, both with and without armrests knows that chairs with them are much more stable and can also be easily moved to the right position if they stray from their main position.
Preventing an accident is a must and without armrests, even a normal stretch from the chair can be turned into a fall. A fall from the chair not only injures and disrupts the flow of work but also creates an embarrassing situation for any employee who takes a fall.
- Amenity And Comfort
One of the primary reasons to opt for a chair with armrests is the level of amenity and comfort to the user. Just a simple plastic or wooden armrest with a cushioned padding or an upper plate can prove to be very useful in elevating the comfort levels of the user.
Additionally, to increase the amenity factor, useful features could be added to the armrests like storage flaps or cup holders. While extra features like cup holders and storage sleeves in the armrests might be expensive, even a standard-sized chair with simple armrests can be comfortable.
When most of the day is spent sitting gazing into the computer monitor, it is crucial to have a level of comfort or it becomes almost unbearable to sit and work for long hours in the office. Discomfort also affects productivity. Employees might show a drop in output if they are not comfortable with their seating arrangements.
When employees feel comfortable while sitting at their chairs for long periods, they have better moods and approach towards their work that ultimately results in better performance and improves the overall morale of the entire workforce.
- Aesthetics And Work Culture
Armrests might be a small detail in a chair but they are aesthetically pleasing and reflect the work culture of the company.
A well-cushioned armrest adds to the overall attractiveness and aesthetics of the chair itself. The chair looks more elegant and classier and a whole set of such aesthetically pleasing chairs all over the office adds up to the overall elegance of the office and creates a standard work culture niche. Arm supports in office chairs improve the looks of the chair that translate into the whole office furniture ecosystem.
Also, ergonomic armrests in office chairs are good for the health of the employees and such chairs installed in any office portray a humane image of the company which shows that the company cares for its employees. This reflects the caring Work culture of the company that values the health and well-being of its workforce.
Also Read: YOUR COMPANY CULTURE AND YOUR OFFICE FITOUT
- Wellness Benefits
There are innumerous wellness benefits of ergonomics armrests in a chair. The most prominent health benefit is that it helps to prevent “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” for employees who have to do a lot of typing on their computers sitting on their chairs for long hours. The armrests make sure that the elbows bend at an angle of 100 degrees or more. This makes sure that the wrists are in a neutral position while typing.
Another wellness benefit of the armrest is that it helps in maintaining proper blood circulation in the arms while working. Without them, the arms would bend unnaturally. The armrests should be placed at a height that is comfortable for the user that will help to improve circulation and stop blood from being pooled in some areas and not reaching others, creating a tingling sensation.
The importance of good blood circulation is crucial in a sedentary work-lifestyle. The better posture and position with armrests ensure that the whole body has adequate blood flow. The added support from armrests is one of the things that helps the body find its natural resting position even while working.
Another significant health benefit of armrests is that it helps to reduce the static load on the neck, back and shoulder area. This static load builds up over time and causes a lot of problems. One of the most common health problems is the sprain that is caused behind the shoulder blade as a result of sitting in the wrong position for too long. All of this can be reduced with the proper fitting armrests. Thus, armrests are really helpful in alleviating neck pain and shoulder pain.