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Selecting and adjusting your chair

Selecting the right chair for you is the first step in setting up your workstation.

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Your relationship with your workstation is important, especially with your chair.

You sit together every day, it provides you support and comfort, and it’s willing to change its ways to be the perfect partner for you.

People come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no standard chair that will fit everyone.

There are chairs for small workers, tall workers, and everyone in-between.

Big Guy: “Ah Better!”

The seat pan length and width, the backrest height and lumbar support are features that need to fit every worker.

It’s common that people don’t know how to operate their chair.

First, you should adjust the height of your chair to your working surface, so your elbows are at desk level and your forearms can relax onto the surface to take the load off your neck and shoulders.

Then check that your back is supported. Sit back into your chair and move the backrest up and down to fit the curve of the backrest into your lower back curve.

For most people, a comfortable hip and back position is a hip angle of approximately 100 to 120 degrees. Use the backrest tilt paddle to angle your backrest forwards and backward to find your comfortable position.

Use a footrest if your feet don’t reach the ground, to help support your legs and back.

Bring your chair as close as possible to the desk so that you’re not over-reaching to your keyboard and mouse.

Remove your chair’s arm rests if you can’t get close enough.

Now you know how to operate your chair, make sure you know how to set up your workstation and stay active.

For more info visit and look out for more videos in this series.

Tips for choosing office chairs

If you need to purchase or replace chairs for the office, a good chair for using a computer should have:

  • adjustment controls that are easy to operate while you’re sitting
  • a load rating suitable for your body weight. Standard chairs may only accept up to 120kgs, so check the chair’s weight range is correct for you
  • a backrest with a curved lumbar support that can be adjusted to fit into the curve of your lower back
  • a backrest that can tilt forwards and backwards
  • a well cushioned chair that supports the majority of your thigh length and body width
  • an adjustment for seat height
  • an adjustment to tilt the seat pan
  • a seat with a rounded front edge
  • a five-point caster base.

Armrests can support your forearms when using the keyboard and mouse or help you to lower or raise yourself from your chair. However, armrests should be removable and adjustable to allow you to get in as close to your desk as possible.

Read more on selecting and purchasing office chairs.

Tips for adjusting your chair

  • The first step is to adjust the height of your chair so that your elbows are level with the desk surface. This gives you forearm support and relaxed shoulders when you’re using the keyboard and mouse.
  • Use a footrest if you are unable to place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Adjust the height of your backrest so that the lumbar support fits into the curve of your lower back.
  • Ensure your chair fits your width and leg length with clearance of approximately two to three fingers span behind your knee to allow for adequate leg movement.
  • Tilt the backrest support so that you can relax back into the chair with a hip angle between 100 and 120 degrees.
  • Bring the chair in close to the desk so that your forearms are well supported on the desk and your back stays supported on the backrest i.e. no leaning or perching off the backrest. Remove armrests if they stop you from getting close enough to your desk.

More information

Working in the office — computer workstation checklist