It is no secret that I am the shortest person in our office. Standing at five-foot-two, it has been difficult for me to find an office chair that can ergonomically fit me. I have had the advantage of testing over fifty chairs in our office, which means I know all of the issues us petite people face when shopping for an office chair. Most standard office chairs are far too large, leaving us to feel like there are no ergonomic chairs out there for us. I have come up with a list of problems you will come across when looking for an ergonomic chair, with some possible solutions so you can find your perfect fit.
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Top 7 Problems For Petite People List
- Seat Height Is Not Low Enough
- Armrests Aren’t Adjustable Enough
- Headrests Rarely Fit
- Seat Depth Is Too Large
- Built-In Lumbar Support Doesn’t Fit
- You Might Pay More
- Limited Chairs on the Market for Short People
- Bottom Line
Top 7 Problems For Petite People Video
1. Seat Height Is Not Low Enough
The main problem you will run into when shopping for an ergonomic chair will be finding a chair that will sit low enough. There are many chairs you will sit in where your feet will barely hit the ground, even with the seat as low as it can go. You want to be sure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle when seated in your office chair. The average seat height range is seventeen to twenty-two inches, which is going to be too high for shorter people. Petite (or short) people are going to need a chair that sits less than sixteen inches from the ground.
If you absolutely cannot find an office chair that sits this low, a footrest may be an easy solution. This should put your knees at a 90-degree angle so you can sit ergonomically at your desk.
2. Armrests Aren’t Adjustable Enough
When looking for an office chair, you may find that some chairs don’t offer adjustable arms, and those that do, don’t adjust to your needs. Starting with armrest height, you will want the armrest to sit right at elbow height so your elbow is at a 90-degree angle. If the armrests don’t go low enough, you will be shrugging your shoulders upward, which can lead to neck and shoulder pain.
Not only should your armrests have a proper height adjustment range, but you will want your chair arms to have enough width adjustment. There were many chairs I sat in where the arms only had a height adjustment, but no width adjustment, meaning they were way too wide for me to sit comfortably. Some chairs that have adjustable arm width may not adjust to be narrow enough for you as well. If your armrests are too far apart, with your arms angled outwards, your shoulders and neck can also feel strained. Find a chair where you can sit with your arms at your sides resting on the armrests at a 90-degree angle.
3. Headrests Rarely Fit
Headrests are one of those things where you either love them or you hate them. After I tested a few chairs with headrests in our office, I realized I didn’t like them because they would push my head forward. What actually was happening was they didn’t adjust low enough to fit me properly, so they would push my head forward. A headrest should fit into the curve of your neck, and most standard headrests may not go low enough to fit you properly.
If you are determined to have a chair with a headrest, I suggest finding one that will adjust so it fits into the curve of your neck. There are chairs that are made specifically for short people that offer headrests, and that will be your best option when looking for a chair that will properly fit you.
4. Seat Depth Is Too Large
For short people, it can be difficult to find a chair you can sit all the way back in without your legs dangling over the edge. When it comes to standard office chairs, the seat depth is usually around seventeen to eighteen inches deep. For short people, this can be too large. Seat depths that are sixteen inches or less will be ideal for short people looking to have a chair fit them ergonomically.
To know what depth you need for your seat, sit all the way back in your chair. Adjust your seat depth so there is a one-inch gap from the back of your knees to the front edge of the seat pan.
5. Built-In Lumbar Support Doesn’t Fit
Many chairs offer built-in lumbar support, mainly featured on mesh-back chairs. The arched back of the chair is supposed to fit naturally to your body, but for short people, this lumbar region may not sit where it is supposed to. If the lumbar is hitting too low or too high on your back, it won’t be providing you with proper support, which can result in lower back pain.
Find a chair where you can adjust the lumber to fit into the natural curve of your back. Some lumbar supports allow you to adjust the tension as well, depending on how much support you may need.
6. You Might Pay More
If you are trying to stay within a certain budget for your office chair, then the cost of the chair may be a problem. Most office chairs made for petite people are going to be more expensive than a standard office chair. You might be lucky to find a standard office chair that fits your needs, but don’t settle for an office chair that doesn’t fit you just to save yourself a few dollars.
An office chair that is able to fit you ergonomically is a good investment in the long run. Having a cheap office chair that doesn’t fit you can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, which could lead to you buying a new chair. Your chair is something you are going to sit in for about forty hours a week, so make the investment in a chair that fits you.
7. Limited Chairs on the Market for Short People
While looking for chairs that fit petite individuals, you will notice that there won’t be a large variety of chairs that are marketed specifically for short people. Your options will be limited, which means it will be more difficult to find a chair that has everything you are looking for. Most standard office chairs will not fit a petite person.
Luckily, we have come up with a list of 5 office chairs for short or petite people to assist you in your search for the perfect office chair.
There are many problems you will face when shopping for an office chair if you are short. Finding an office chair that will fit your petite frame can be difficult, but it is possible. Find a chair that allows you to adjust the seat height, seat depth, and armrests. Having an office chair that fits you ergonomically will also help prevent any neck, back, and shoulder pain. When finding your perfect ergonomic chair, keep in mind all of the problems you’ll face during your search.