For most modern jobs, people need to sit down to work. But the wrong kind of seating can lead to awkward postures and, ultimately, back pain or other discomfort including upper limb disorders. Over time, issues with bad seating can even result in staff absences, potential civil claims and diminished productivity.

While workers do have a level of responsibility for themselves, employers have a general duty to ensure seating is safe and doesn’t pose a health risk to team members or anyone else using their premises. (Source: Health and Safety Executive.)

And, clearly, few items of furniture get more use at work than seating. So it’s important that office chairs perform optimally.

How to know when to replace an office chair

On average, an employee will be sitting at their workstation for around 40 hours every working week. Typically, a workplace seat will last somewhere between seven and 10 years. However, it can be tricky to know when to replace these items if there are no visible indications of damage, such as splits, tears and so on.

(By the way, this kind of wear and tear doesn’t just look scruffy. It can have implications for things like posture.)

Here are some other times when it’s worth investing in new office equipment:

  • When implementing fresh desking systems

If you’re kitting workstations out with new desks, consider buying new chairs at the same time. This not only looks better, but also ensures that what you have complements the new desking, both for comfort and aesthetic reasons. You don’t want an item that doesn’t go with the rest of the room sticking out like a sore thumb.

  • Broken or loose wheels

This is a clear indication that your seat is on its last legs (or wheels). Not only does it make the chair look and feel uneven, but it can affect your posture over time. Similarly, if the levers aren’t working as they should, and it’s no longer possible to adjust the seat to suit the user, there’s a risk of physical injury from issues including back pain.

  • Padding not as soft as it was?

It may be that the padding of your seat has hardened, making it uncomfortable to sit in – this will affect both physical health and productivity.

  • Fabric office chairs

These models may not last as long as alternatives such as leather, although different materials vary in longevity. Clearly, tearing doesn’t look great, and padding may eventually begin to come out of the chair.

Equally, following prolonged use, the seat may take on a sunken appearance. Flattened padding affects posture and cause lower back pain. You can look after a fabric chair with frequent vacuuming and wiping down.

  • Leather models

Leather office chairs look smart and are highly durable. But the material can become thin or crack over time. Again, this can look ugly and make your seat uncomfortable. You can extend the life of a leather seat with creams or oils, to keep the leather soft and malleable. You should also look out for loose screws and levers, and fix these where possible.

  • Mesh office chairs

While these are not the longest-lasting office chairs you can buy, you can still expect quality ones to last a good five years or longer. A standard model may start to sag or tear, while some have sponge padding which can come away if you rip the external material. As with alternatives, this will affect posture and comfort. Once this happens, it’s time to sort out replacement seating.

If your chair doesn’t look or feel right any more, it’s important that you source a new one as soon as practicably possible. At Octopus Office Supplies, we offer fast, free delivery of office chairs in Manchester and around, including ergonomic models, whether you’re replacing seating or kitting out a new office. We supply these products assembled and with our own transport.

Elsewhere in the UK, we deliver flat-packed chairs plus the tools and instructions for easy assembly.

Learn more about the great-value models we sell here, and get in touch if you have any queries.