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Take a seat, or two or three – choosing the right chair per use case

November 8, 2021

Thanks to the love humans have for sitting, we have an immense wealth of options to choose from when procuring seats for the workplace.

There are so many different contexts you can buy chairs for – and understanding the reason why chairs should be placed somewhere can help inform your purchasing decisions.

In this article we will consider a few common uses for chairs in the workplace, suggest considerations for procurement and offer our favourite models being used at StartWell.

Work Stations / Desks

Commonly referred to as ‘task chairs’ because we sit in them at desks performing focused tasks on computers and sometimes with paper and pen.

It has become de rigueur to simply buy the most expensive meshed-back option (ahem, the Herman Miller Aeron chair) for those that can afford it. However, we feel that money doesn’t necessarily buy the best option.

There are many brands and models to consider for task chairs and our list of features to look for include: arms with height + angle adjustment, back height adjustment with lumbar support, base height support and room for shoulder blade flex.)

Recommended Option

Keilhauer Junior Model 8561.

Board Rooms

We’ve tested numerous types of chairs in conference room settings and here are some notes we’ve made:

Mid-century moulded Eames chairs – Not enough comfort for long meetings, wear and tear can get expensive and difficult to maintain due to people rocking their chair, lack of arm support makes typing exhausting, no height adjustment is hard for short or tall people.

Armless basic task chairs – Without arms there’s benefit in being able to stack 2 chairs for storage and easily densify a room (less room wasted on arms – widthwise along a table) but lack of comfort with thin bases makes sitting for long meetings hard, short back doesn’t fit all body types.

Recommended Option

High back ergonomic task chair – Thick base provides comfort for long meetings, flexible high back allows people of all heights to sit comfortably and rock without damaging the chair, removing arms gives guests more range of motion at table and ensures chairs can tuck under table when not in use. Look for the option to remove arms easily.

Flexible Conference Areas

For larger meeting setups where we need to reconfigure tables between U, O and classroom configurations is best to choose a lightweight chair which can easily collapse for storage.

Often cases meetings requiring seating when planned for say 30 people can change to 20 or even 50 people in room on the day of – so its always a good idea to have extras on hand without worrying about how much storage space they take up or whether staff can set them up and move them.

Recommended Option

The GUNDE model from IKEA is cost effective, lightweight and comes in black or white.


Eating Areas

For areas where tables and chairs might move to create space or stack when certain types of gatherings need room its best to choose light furniture that can stack at least one on top of the other.

We’ve found that the classic wooden bistro chair has a special place in our hearts. Everyone finds them comfortable for short to medium term lengths of time and they are strong enough to not break when people lean back and rock them. Of course, without fabric they are also easy to wipe clean.

Recommended Option

Forego models with mesh or decorative detail – we recommend choosing sturdy all-wood designs in colors which work within your overall design concept.