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Sitting Selections: Identifying the Right Seating for Your Work Environment

We find seats everywhere. They are at our office desk and in conference rooms. There are seats for hospital exam rooms and others that are perfect for creating a welcoming, comfortable lobby. There are seats designed just for students in educational settings, chairs for adjustable-height desks, and those meant to be a comfortable place to collaborate as a member of a team. And, according to research used in a piece by the Independent, the average employee spends 6.5 hours a day sitting at work. That is a great deal of sitting.

There are so many seats to choose from, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Since we spend so much time sitting in them, care must be taken when choosing seating that will fit your specific environment. Furniture selected for a classroom would not necessarily be appropriate for a medical waiting room in a geriatric doctor’s office. This little guide offers you a few things to keep in mind when selecting furniture for your particular work space.

Medical Environments

Medical professionals find that their seating environment not only needs to be ergonomically correct and aesthetically pleasing, but it needs to protect patients from contracting any form of infection or virus. Additionally, medical settings typically require a wide variety of seating from the lobby to exam rooms and physician seating to chairs for front office staff. These facts can make medical seating quite challenging to select.

The first rule of thumb for medical office seating is to pick furniture that is seamless or with little to no stitching and crevices. This will reduce the risk of growth and the spread of harmful bacteria. It also makes cleaning much easier. You can even purchase seating for your medical practice or hospital that is made with antibacterial material to further reduce the spread of germs.

You’ll also want to ensure your seating allows for freedom of movement in the space you are purchasing it for. For example, you’ll want to consider the space and layout of your lobby and waiting areas. Not only should the seating be comfortable for your patients and visitors, but it should also allow for ease of movement. Patients may have wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches that hinder their movement and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides federal requirements for removing barriers in public spaces such as restaurants, schools, and doctor’s offices.

Commercial furniture retailers such as CORE are familiar with ADA requirements and can help you map out your lobby, waiting areas, and other spaces to ensure your business or office meets federal regulations. Additionally, seasoned professionals should also be able help you select the proper products from bench seats and chairs to ergonomically correct seating for your staff and comfortable exam tables for your patients.

Today’s manufacturers offer a wide selection of materials, colors, and patterns to choose from so you can make your medical environment as clean and safe as possible while providing a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere to reduce stress on your patients. You can choose from solid colors to bright patterns. It’s all about the statement you wish to make with your medical environment. Intensa is just one manufacturer of medical and laboratory seating that is engineered specifically for the healthcare industry with a wide variety of options to choose from. Stance Healthcare also offers premium seating designed specifically for medical offices and facilities. For example, check out the Carson Sleeper which converts from a cozy couch to a user-friendly, easy-to-clean bed and back again.

Whether you are looking for something to fit your existing décor, you’re undergoing a complete renovation, or you have a brand new medical space, there is seating to meet your workplace needs. For more information about selecting seating and furniture for medical spaces, check out the CORE blog “Selecting the Best Furniture for Medical Spaces.

Educational Seating

As teaching methods continue to grow and evolve, so does classroom furniture including seating. When choosing the best seating for your students, the age of the students, their average size, and how long they are sitting in the classroom should all be taken into consideration. You’ll also want to think about students who may have any special needs and ensure that the seating you choose fits the space you have in order to allow ease of movement.

Not only is the right seating important for capturing bodies and minds, it can teach correct posture and sitting habits starting at a young age. Heavy backpacks and sitting for hours in a classroom can make it difficult for children to achieve proper posture but there is classroom seating available to improve the ergonomics for your students. For example, American Seating offers a wide range of educational seating options including the NIMA® that is built to offer an exceptionally comfortable design while adding color to your classroom.

Classrooms also vary from seats with attached desks such as the Us® Chair Family by American Seating to chairs with tablet desktops such as the Reve™ by Safeco. Some educational environments require space to adjust seamlessly from one activity or lesson to the next which calls for easily stackable, storable seating options such as the Acton® by American Seating.

Older students at the secondary level or in institutions of higher learning will appreciate more versatile seating such as the Tuck Collaborative chair offered by AllSeating.  The chair offers arm rests and mid-back support for comfort but also sits on casters and swivels to allow students to easily turn or move in order to collaborate with others.

AllSeating, among other manufacturers, also offers a wide range of other educational seating options ranging from counter-height stools for the science lab to benches for shared spaces such as the library and high-back seating for teachers and professors. Kimball also offers a wide variety of seating options and arrangements from stackable and mesh chairs that are light and easy to move such as their Guide™ collection to rolling seats to allow for simple collaboration among scholars.

Just as with medical facilities, seating in classrooms and environmental areas will need to be easy to maintain and clean. With proper care, they can last for many years and create a bright, fun, and comfortable learning atmosphere. For more information about selecting the best furniture, including seating, for your classroom setting, read “Choosing the Right Furniture for Your Students and Classroom.”

Conference Rooms

When it comes to selecting the best chairs for your office conference room, there are a number of items to consider. First you will need to account for how many people you want to be able to accommodate. You’ll need to measure the space you have and consider allowing extra room for movement and those with special needs.

The next step is to consider size of table you want for your conference room. The table will likely become a centerpiece in the room and your seating will want to fit well with it. Based on what conference table you select, this will determine how much space you have for seating and how many chairs you will need. Some to consider include the Ayles by AllSeating for its contemporary appeal with a knife-edge shape, the stylish NV™ by Neutral Posture for comfort with its high back and armrests, or the clean shape of the Ardi by Enwork featuring subtle lines across the back for aesthetic appeal.

It is also a good idea to have extra chairs that are not around the table, but can fit in the back of the room or along the sides to provide overflow seating for those larger-than-expected meetings. The Tucker™ side chair by Kimball is compact and attractive enough to add to a conference room while providing comfortable seating. Among other overflow seating options are the Flip with Arms by Euortech which offers a black mesh back and efficient storage with a flip-up seat.

Keep in mind however, that there should be a comfortable amount of space for people who arrive late or leave the meeting early. They should be able to walk past without bumping into other employees as they enter or exit. Accurate space planning is something the professionals at CORE can help you with before ordering.

Conference rooms will have different people in and out of them throughout the day. Some meetings will last a mere 15 minutes while some can go on for hours. This means it is important to have ergonomically changing seating for whoever is using the chair at each time. This means seats that can adjust the height of arm rests as well as the chair itself. Chairs that recline and swivel also allow for added comfort and collaboration during group conversations. AllSeating offers a wide range of conference seating as do several other manufacturers so you have many options to choose from to fit the specific needs of your office or business.

Employee Chairs

A supportive office chair can help prevent fatigue in employees, lower discomfort, and provide many health benefits. According to Gear Patrol, employees are more productive and contribute more positive work than an uncomfortable employee. That’s where padded, adjustable seating with ergonomic support comes in.

Bad office chairs can lead to bad posture which can then lead to back problems, leg strain, and carpel tunnel, all of which can lead to medical time off. It is important to select the best office chair to keep your employees not only healthy but happy.

Many manufacturer’s such as AllSeating have worked hard to develop chairs that offer proper ergonomic support. Some chairs are stationary and cannot be adjusted while other can have too many knobs for the user to figure out. The most important adjustable parts of an office chair should be lumbar support, arm width and height, seat back width and height, and seat and back angle. Swivel chairs with wheels at the bottom are great so employees can move around their desk space without over reaching which can lead to straining or falling.

The Levo Task chair features a proprietary “hands-on” back adjustment system that provides lumbar support at five intervals while the Cozi® 24/7 by Neutral Posture offers catered seating with two back size options and built-in lumbar support, two contoured-seat options, and adjustments for the height, angle, and tension of the seat. Neutral Posture’s Icon chair provides adjustable and removable lumbar support, has three adjustment levers, and replaceable/removable seat cushions.

With a few simple steps and easy instructions, every employee can adjust their own seat to match their individual needs. See the quick video from AllSeating. Additionally, here are some ergonomic principles from Neutral Posture to keep in mind when selecting desk chairs you’re your employees:

  • Set the height of your chair to allow the floor to supporting your feet and lower legs only.
  • Make sure the angle between your torso and legs is greater than 90°.
  • Allow two to four inches of space between the front of the seat cushion and the back of your knee.
  • Look for forearm and elbow support that allows the user to keep their wrists in a neutral position.
  • The seat should allow the position of the backrest to be nearly upright, or slightly reclined with head support.
  • Select seating that allows support of your lumbar curve.

Finally, the fabric or material of your seats should be breathable. This stops the chair from becoming overly hot after hours of sitting. It should also have enough cushion to support every employee so they cannot feel the chair through the fabric.

Reception, Lobby & Waiting Areas

The first thing a visitor sees when they walk into an office is generally the reception area, lobby, or waiting room. The style of a these spaces can say much about a company’s values and can even be designed to generate certain emotions in visitors.

From residential buildings to businesses, nearly every building that has people coming and going has a reception, lobby, or waiting area. Whether for aesthetics, security purposes, or functional operations, almost any visitor will have to spend some amount of time in these open spaces. It can leave a lasting impression so it is important that your reception and waiting areas convey a feel that speaks to your business and provides optimal seating options for anyone who may walk through your door.

To achieve this goal, there should be seating that allows for group discussions as well as independent seating for those in need of privacy for telephone calls, texting, or work. That means there should be a breadth of seating options in every one of these areas.

Pixley by Enwork features asymmetrical, organic curves to define seating space without separation. You can group several together for big groups or spread them sporadically for seating throughout a large space. These upholstered benches are great for public areas and can be ordered with or without backrests in a wide variety of colors to match any office décor.

Kimball offers a wide variety of seating options that allow for both group and private arrangements. The Wilder™ provides private seating that can be paired with other sitting options or left on its own while the Pose™ offers long-term comfort and style that may also stand alone or be grouped. For a lush, contemporary yet relaxing seating experience, Enjoy™ and Vista™ promise additional options to choose from.

Versteel® offers a wide variety of public area seating with its Immix collection. The strong materials allow the seats to last for years to come while the design allows seating to be structured in several ways. Whether you want to offer round seating for people to enjoy open views through large windows or clustered seating interspersed with tabletop pieces for drinks and magazine, Immix is something to consider. The chairs come in a variety of fabrics, colors, and prints so you can choose what speaks to your business or office environment.

In conclusion, there is a great deal of seating to choose from in the world of commercial furniture but not all furniture fits all needs. Before you buy seating, be sure to take proper measurements of the space you have, how much traffic you have in the room you are buying for, and the comfort of the people using them. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the amount of use the chairs will experience, how they are used, and by whom. There’s also the look and feel you wish to create with the furnishings you choose.

If you need assistance with ordering the right seating for your work environment, contact the professionals at CORE at (520) 999-3470 or visit us online. You are also invited to swing by our new showroom at 698 E. Wetmore, Suite 410, in Tucson to experience some of the many seating possibilities we have to offer. You may also view our very own chair wall featuring additional seating and decorating options for your office.

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