Working from home is fast becoming the norm for computer-based professionals. Even before the global pandemic drastically changed the way we live and work, many professionals have been turning to the idea of working from home. In fact, it is thought that 42% of the US workforce now work from home.
Regardless if you are an office worker forced to work from home, a techie entrepreneur, or even a hard-working student, countless studies have proven that increasing your physical comfort within your working environment can dramatically increase your productivity.
Interestingly, it is thought that productivity can improve anywhere between 3%-8.5% when basic comfort measures are put in place. Amazing right?
If you are anything like me, you may have recently found yourself working from home and wondering are gaming chairs good for office work? The good news is, the answer is a resounding YES! So if you are looking to increase the comfort of your home office, or looking for a way to improve the productivity of your workforce, this is the article for you.
What is the Difference Between a Gaming Chair and an Office chair?
While there is no specific guideline that allows you to define a chair as a gaming chair, there are a few characteristics that set them apart from mass-produced desk chairs you will find in most offices.
For the purpose of this article, here’s a table that helps you to understand what we class as a gaming and office chair.
|Lumbar Support||Detachable Pillow|
|Neck Support||Fixed Headrest & Pillow||Adjustable Headrest|
|Seat Type||Bucket Seat||Waterfall Shape|
|Recline||High degree||Low Degree|
|Armrests||3D or 4D||Fixed or 2D|
While they may look like they are from two separate worlds, gaming chairs and office chairs are designed for the same, simple function – comfort.
In order to determine if a gaming chair is suitable – or even superior – to a classic office chair, we need to have a look at some of their defining features.
1) The Lumbar Support
One of the biggest benefits that make gaming chairs good for office work is the amount of lumbar they provide.
Back pain is the most cited reason for sick leave from work, with an estimated 264 million lost workdays lost in America alone. And considering it is estimated that over 80% of us have – or will – experience this problem at one time or another. Therefore reducing the likelihood of back pain is one of the easiest ways we can increase productivity.
The addition of the lumbar pillow will help reduce strain on your back and allow your spine to sit in its natural resting position. In fact, a study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health highlighted the effectiveness of external lumbar support in maintaining comfort and relief from lower back pain compared to a standard chair. It concluded that pressure on the back was significantly reduced by the use of a lumbar pillow.
However, as we mentioned in our gaming chair for short people guide, it’s important you choose a chair that allows you to make the most of its ergonomic design. You can do this by ensuring you chose a chair with the right size frame or adjustable pillows.
2) The Neck Support
Just as with the lower back, gaming chairs ensure they provide a high level of support to your upper body too. The fixed headrest and neck pillow support your head to keep your spine aligned and prevent bad posture. One of the main benefits that make gaming chairs good for office work is their intentional ergonomic design position your eyes at the screen, without the need to move your head.
Unless you are a CEO, or your employer really values good posture, the chances are you will be sitting in a mass-produced office chair with mid-backrest. These provide no support for your head and will inevitably lead to a stiff neck and bad posture.
3) The Bucket Seats
One of the most obvious characteristics of a gaming chair is its bucket seat design. There’s no arguing that its racing car inspiration looks fantastic, but it seems there is little purpose in this design for a stand-alone chair.
Sure, in a racing car, a winged backrest is used to stop the driver and passengers from falling off the seat at high speeds or when the car is turning corners with large amounts of centrifugal force. While the elevated front is designed to help the driver reach the pedals and keep the driver in their seat.
So why then, when you are sitting at your console or desk, is this bucket design needed? Well, the answer is, it’s not. In fact, it’s probably even a little counterproductive. The recommended sitting position is with your legs at 90° angle, with your thighs running parallel to the ground. The raised edge of a gaming chair will undoubtedly create a pressure build-up overtime under the users tight.
This is the exact reason most office chairs use a waterfall edge rather than an included one.
4) The Recline
While most desk chairs have the ability to recline, very few can compete with the ability of a gaming chair. The ability for a chair to recline is an important one, especially if you are sitting down for long periods of time.
Reclining your chair reduces the pressure on your spine disks, as well as relaxes your muscles. The optimal angle of recline is at 135°, which is the angle that puts the least amount of pressure on your back.
Even entry-level gaming chairs will most likely give you 150° of incline, which goes up to 180° for mid-range chairs. In contrast, a standard office chair will be lucky if you get 20° of recline.
5) The Armrests
Adjustable armrests help offset the weight and pressure applied to your back. Gaming chairs understand the importance of comfortable armrests and allow for huge degrees of customization. Most gaming chairs come standard with 3D or 4D armrests, which allow the user to have complete control over the position of their armrests.
However, as we mentioned in our ‘why are gaming chairs so expensive’ article, if you are looking for a chair with top-end features, be prepared for top-end prices.
A gaming chair undoubtedly provides more comfort and adjustability than your standard, mass-produced, office chair. The degree of comfort and adjustability you get in a gaming chair allows you to maintain a natural and healthy sitting position over long periods of time.
That said, there plenty of high-quality ergonomic office chairs that would be just as good, if not better at painting a natural sitting position.
However, these specialized chairs don’t come cheap, so be prepared to fork out some big bucks for something like a Herman Miller.
If you don’t have a couple of thousand bucks to spend on an office chair, treat yourself to a gaming chair, you won’t regret it.