January 2021

Month Archives
Chairs, Ergonomics, Office health and safety, Soft Seating, Workplace

The different types of office seating and their benefits

We spend hours upon hours in a sedentary position every day at our office desks. Whether we’re working from home or in the office, we can become engrossed in tasks and forget to stand up and move around, so it’s important that we have great office seating that can keep us comfortable, focused and in good health. 

With studies showing a strong link between lower back pain and sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers, it’s vital that we choose the correct office chairs and seating for our individual workstations. So, let’s run through the different types of office seating available and their benefits.

Ergonomic and adjustable

You may have heard of this type of office seating, especially when it comes to good posture and workplace health and safety. The benefits that these chairs can provide are recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on seating at work. An ergonomic office chair is one that works to accommodate humans with good back support and posture. The benefits of an ergonomic office chair are endless:

  • Can be adjusted to give desk workers good eye levels for their screens, which can help with eye strain 
  • Designed with comfort in mind with plenty of space for the buttocks
  • Has supportive padding and cushioning
  • Gives good lumbar support to help reduce lower back pain
  • It can reduce pressure on hips
  • Improves posture 
  • Helps with blood circulation with curved seating
  • Can reduce RSI with its great adjustability

Lean-on or sit-stand desks

Another type of office seating the HSE values are lean-on or sit-stand seats, which work perfectly well with sit-stand desks. These can:

  • Offer workers increased mobility
  • Help with blood circulation
  • Go with specific workstations, where conventional seating is impractical
  • Be used where workstations don’t allow for knee space
  • Adjust in height 
  • Take a part of the body’s weight when constructed in a lean-in model
  • Help with varied positioning

Multifunctional office seating

What’s great about multifunctional furniture is the variety they offer, both in style and portability. Types of multifunctional seating include:

  • Solid-stand chairs
  • Star-based chairs with wheels
  • Upholstered chairs with arm rests
  • Static seating
  • Mesh fabrics
  • Wooden
  • Plastic
  • Steel
  • Height-adjustable
  • Armchairs
  • Stools
  • Cantilever chairs

What’s great about this type of office seating is that you can instantly update any office – boosting staff motivation and morale in the process – from a fantastic, extensive range of high-quality, reputable office furniture brands. Contact us today to see what would suit your office.

Beam seating

Beam seating is perfect for:

  • Reception areas
  • Visitor rooms
  • Waiting areas

And their benefits include:

  • Being easily transportable due to the beam construction
  • Cost-effective
  • Offering more seating options 
  • Great for optimising space
  • Can offer padded or hard seats
  • Coming in a range of styles to suit different interiors
  • Due to their row design, they are great for assemblies or community rooms
  • Easy to clean and wipe down

Mesh office chairs

What’s so great about mesh office seating?

  • They offer great breathability in the fabric
  • Provide good ventilation
  • Especially great for warm environments
  • Unlike padded backs, they can offer thinner comfort
  • Highly durable
  • Less likely to fray or rip
  • Can retain their shape well
  • Can come in a range of styles and colours
  • Easy to clean
  • The fabric is taut and very supportive

Swivel chairs

Allowing you to rotate 360 degrees to the left or right, a swivel chair provides a comfortable and productive work environment, how?

  • You can move easily around to access office items
  • Saves time on not having to get up as much
  • Very comfortable with height adjustment and reclining options
  • They’re easy to transport if you need to move rooms or offices
  • It offers comfortable resting with varied arm rests
  • With 360-degrees turning, you can benefit from increased mobility and positioning to help disrupt sedentary sitting 

High-back chairs

High-back chairs are especially great for taller individuals with benefits including:

  • Offering great lumbar support
  • Helps with neck positioning
  • Can improve posture
  • Allow workers to adjust to comfortable positions
  • You can fix it at a healthy level that matches your laptop or computer screen 
  • They provide a lot of space and back support, especially good for tall people

Office sofas

Whilst the term ‘sofa’ may seem odd when relating to an office, different workplace dynamics are benefiting hugely from comfy office sofas that fit a range of workspaces – from breakout areas to office relaxation rooms. Why are office sofas a great idea?

  • They can help boost staff morale 
  • Allow for workers to bond
  • Improves collaboration
  • Helps employees have comfy breaks
  • Great for reading time and timeouts in general
  • Brilliant for informal staff meetings

As you can see, there’s quite the range when it comes to office seating. It all comes down to understanding your brand and the needs of your workplace and employees. With a whole host of benefits from each type of office seating, you can be sure to find the right one for your business. 

For any advice or help with office seating and furniture, contact our team of office furniture experts today.


How to make an office seating plan

Whether you’re in need of an office shake-up, are downsizing or relocating, you need an immaculate office seating plan behind you. And there are quite a few things to consider when creating one that will satisfy both a business and employee perspective. 

For instance, you need to start by considering that in a recent Savills report, around 32% of workers said their office design layout affected their productivity negatively. And 45% of workers also said that their productivity was harmed due to hot-desking.

That’s quite a lot of employees being directly affected by their work environments and office layouts and begs the question; how productive and thoughtful is your office seating arrangement as it is, or rather could be? Here are some things you should consider.

Organising departments and close-knit teams

You need to start by addressing your individual departments and understanding which ones work closely together. Maybe you have a social media team and content team who are always in each other’s areas working on tasks. Or, perhaps a new team is forming that needs the right place to work at their most productive level. With a regular department and team review, you can always be on the ball to maintain maximum productivity across the board, improving communications and workflow. Simply jot down names and teams on your office plan, or on the computer or tablet (whatever the design method you use), and start to test it out. 

Understand your employees

Whilst it may remind you of school when arranging a seating plan based on personalities, it’s actually an important thing to consider when putting together an effective office seating plan. If you’re all about office culture, it’s certainly something to think about. Arranging by personality is best done in a sensitive manner and through understanding each floor of the business. You can find this out by chatting with those who have good overseeing eyes. 

You may have some workers who work best in quieter areas with minimal disruption and some who need to bounce ideas off others. Make sure your seating plan takes into account different workers’ needs, as this can do so much good for your business and can keep workers happy.

Think about comfort

Concerning the physical and practical nature of your business, you should produce a seating plan that aims to make each and every staff member as comfortable as can be. Have standards slipped slightly in the daily hubbub of office life? Or, maybe you have never noticed there was a desk right near the air conditioning, or one directly next to a permanently-on radiator. This is why you should include equipment, features, systems, doorways and storage when making your plan, as it highlights areas that could cause discomfort, contain safety hazards or affect workers’ wellbeing. You should also monitor office lighting and workstation set-ups to make sure all of your employees are working safely and healthily. For instance, is a certain lamp causing screen glares? Even noticing office features like lighting can help you arrange comfortable layouts.

Rotations for the window seat or ‘luxury’ seats

You need to be aware of any preferred or ‘luxury’ seats in your workplace. For instance, you may have one window seat that overlooks a vista, lucky you! Or, rather, lucky employee! Whether you like it or not, you will probably have quite a few green-eyed staff members who covet this particular spot. One solution to help create a fairer seating arrangement is to offer a rotation where everyone gets a chance to work at the ‘golden desk’. 

It all depends on the office dynamic and your departments of course, but if each employee gets a day to work there, it could work and boost staff morale. Alternatively, you could reserve it for senior staff members and leave it at that, or maybe you could use it as a staff incentive – maybe the sales star of the week could win that seat for the following week.

Open plan or closed off?

Of course, you need to factor in how open-plan or segregated your current office layout is. Or maybe it’s time for a complete makeover! Here, you should work out what would suit your business and its employees. Maybe you need private spaces for executives or team leaders, or maybe you’re a business that needs a leader right there amongst all staff. 

With open-plan layouts, collaboration can excel, so you may want a more open office seating plan. You could still plan for quiet areas or have segregated office desks that are reserved for certain tasks. For instance, you could have a desk or area labelled ‘Plugged In’, meaning whoever is sat there should not be interrupted, as they have a long task that needs their undivided attention.

Get staff involved

Don’t forget about your staff’s insight and input. If you want your staff to be happy and productive, having individual talks with them to discuss your ideas could be a part of your plan. Plus, studies by the University of Exeter show that giving employees more control over their workspace layout improves health, happiness and productivity; so having that chat and asking for insight will probably go a long way. Having your staff get involved could also save you a lot of time, as some may even know a handy tool or software a seating plan could be designed on. They may even draw one up for you. 

What should a seating plan look like?

Now that you’ve got all the relevant information you need, you’re good to go. You can either choose helpful software or stick with drawing by hand. Whatever the method, a bird’s-eye view of your new or updated office seating and floor plan allows you to optimise space and to create the most productive, comfortable and happy environments for your workers. You can also use templates, or draft one up yourself on design software or on simple spreadsheets and word documents.

For instance, it could look like this one below, where it factors in departments, equipment, teams and space. Just make sure you note building features, outdoor areas and prepare to revisit and shift things around, as some things may not work or feedback might contain revisions.

Have we given you food for thought? Whatever your needs, you can create a unique office layout that works for your business and employees in no time with this guide. And if you need a helping hand with any office design and fit out projects or office supplies, we know a thing or two – just take a browse through our online office furniture catalogue, or contact us here.