Task, or office, chairs are designed to be the epitome of versatility and function, with a hefty dose of style and large amounts of comfort thrown in. Found in most contemporary workplace settings, from boardrooms, through to reception areas, they need to offer mobility, and support, while many models also incorporate ergonomic design principles into their construction. They are also called ‘steno chairs’ after the stenographers and typing pool employees who used them.
The design usually features a single central pedestal leg, which frequently includes a gas lift cylinder, allowing the chair to be raised or lowered at will, and connects the seat to the swivel wheeled base unit. Some models include arms, but all should fit neatly under a desk.
There are a range of task chair designs, all fulfilling the basic brief – a chair that can be used for long periods in an office-type environment – this obviously includes the home office. The basic style ignores the ergonomic principles of the higher spec chairs, and can become uncomfortable if used for many hours. There are then chairs with more supportive cushioning in strategic places, such as the lower back region, and finally the high end executive task chairs. These lack the superb lightweight maneuverability of the basic models, but make up for it with plush comfort, full back and neck support and stylish good looks.
The earliest task chair design stemmed from the naturalist Charles Darwin, who, in order to move around his lab with rapidity, fixed castors to his chair legs. This ‘wooden armchair on wheels’, as he called it, evolved, over two centuries, into the chair we know now.
If you’re looking for a good quality task chair, it’s important to seek out a model incorporating accessible gas-lift height adjustability, and if possible a multi-tilt feature for added personalization. Optional headrests, arm supports and castor brakes are all well worth considering, especially if you need to be sitting for long periods of time. If you plan to use a task chair in a home office environment, style is a factor you might want to think about.
Working from home is becoming more popular, with employers recognizing the increased productivity levels it can offer. But it helps if you have a room set aside and properly designed for the purpose, rather than an open area in a corner of your living room, where your task chair, no matter how beautifully styled, will detract from your main decor. So, here are some great ideas for designing an awesome home office: