Most office chairs are only in use a maximum an eight hours a day, yet 24-hour businesses like dispatch offices, emergency rooms, and security teams need ergonomic office chairs too. Chairs that are in use 24 hours a day, also known as multi-shift or extended-use models, are designed to handle the extra wear and tear of constant occupation. Make sure your new 24-hour office chairs can live up to their reputation by looking for these five essential features.
First, check that the warranty offered by the chair manufacturer actually specifies constant or extended use of the chair. Some companies market their equipment as tested for use through multiple shifts but specify that use beyond eight hours a day violates the warranty conditions. It's no good to invest thousands of dollars into a matching set of tough office chairs if you can't rely on the warranty due to your intended usage.
In an office where everyone uses the same desk or workstation, each chair generally stays at the same height and other settings from day to day. This isn't true in a multi-shift business where there's two, three, four, or more people sharing the same chair over the course of one day. Look for extensive adjustment options, including:
- Height controls, both for seat height and back height
- Lumbar support that is easy to change
- Armrests that are widely set and crankable for raising and lowering
- Tilt features to allow for relaxation during a long shift.
With constant use, an office chair in a 24-hour facility receives four times as much wear and exposure to dirt each day. This means you'll need to clean more often, especially in environments that have a high standard of cleanliness, such as hospitals and clinics. Look for a smooth, non-porous polyurethane upholstery material rather than fabric or mesh for your office chairs. It's easier to maintain these chairs during periods of heavy use. A little spraying and wiping restores the cleanliness of an entire room full of chairs in a few minutes. Steam-cleaning fabric chairs can take hours and comes with a much higher cost as well.
When you're running a business that remains open during the graveyard shift or at other odd hours, your employees are more likely to recline to take a load off after a long stretch of hard work. Sturdy star, or five-point, bases are the safest foundation for an office chair that is occupied for hours at a time. Your employees can swivel, lean, and recline as much as they need to do their work without tipping over and potentially injuring themselves and damaging your equipment.
Finally, consider how you can turn a full-sized multi-shift chair into an ergonomic command center on wheels. Adding mounts to the arms or sides of the office chair allows the user to attach keyboard trays, phone dial pads that connect wirelessly to headsets, or other accessories and tools. Keeping equipment close at hand increases productivity while increasing the ergonomics of the employee's work area. The additions to the chair can be permanently mounted or attached with quick-release toggles so that each employee can customize what's attached to the chair.
With a little extra attention during the shopping process, you can choose a 24-hour office chair that lasts for years despite being occupied more than usual. Include your employees in the decision-making process so that you don't overlook small but important issues that slow down work routines. Make sure the chairs are warrantied for at least five years of multi-shift use so you can get plenty of use out of them before it's time for replacement.