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News In Brief

Office workers are coveting each others’ chairs

Melissa Kaplan Jun 23, 2010

Some aspects of office life aren’t sitting well with workers. At least according to office supply giant Staples, which conducted a survey via Twitter centered around office chairs. The result: 29 percent of the group polled — roughly 600 of 34,000 followers — spent an average of seven hours in an office chair versus six in bed. Which lead 75 percent of those polled to a condition known as “office-chair envy”. Also, nearly 57 percent of those surveyed said they’d heard of colleagues “secretly switching to get a better office chair.”

While the study may have come from a retailer that would benefit from telling the public that people spend more time in their office chairs than in their beds, it’s reasonable to think office-chair envy may be a more widespread epidemic, considering pinched budgets would lead offices to want to buy cheaper seats. Low-end office chairs run about $100, leaving limited options on ergonomically-friendly operation.

Other reasons to pay close attention to the office chair study: Some cheaper chairs aren’t best equipped for constant movement, which can lead to bad posture and/or slow-onset pain in the neck and shoulders.

If you want to stop coveting your neighbor’s seat and you’re in good with the folks at your company who control that sort of thing, here’s a quick list of some positively-reviewed office chairs. If you want to take a more active role against your covetous behavior, the New York Times suggests standing up and walking around more often.

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