What is a Task Chair? (And How is it Different than an Office or Desk Chair?)

Ergonomics Furniture

What is a task chair? How is it different than an office or desk chair?

The average office worker spends more time in their chair at work than they do in their beds. Considering that people, on average, spend one-third of their lives sleeping, this means our task chair is one of the most important pieces of furniture in our lives.

Having the right chair at work can be a critical advantage for your productivity and your body. Making sure your office has the right chairs is an integral part of workspace ergonomics. However, it’s one which is often overlooked. Task chairs were explicitly developed to address this blind spot.

But what is a task chair, exactly, and why are they so great? Read on to discover the answer.

What Is a Task Chair?

A task chair is a specialized desk chair or office chair. You’ll often see task chair, desk chair or office chair used interchangeably. However, while the terms are colloquially interchangeable, a real task chair has a few distinct features that other “office chairs” may lack:

1. They promote good posture.

Task chairs evolved from the operator-style chairs which typists and early stenographers used. These chairs were designed to help keep the back straight and the weight off the shoulders, so that typing speed increased.

Modern task chairs coax the body into a similar upright posture to reap the same benefits and minimize stress on joints and muscles.

2. They’re functional, promoting productivity.

Task chairs generally have relatively simple designs. Like any office chair, they swivel. You can adjust their height. But they’re meant to help you get your work done, and extra bells or whistles are generally unnecessary.

3. They’re highly versatile for workspaces and body types.

Whereas more specialized chairs focus on supporting a specific part of the body, task chairs are adjustable and meant to accommodate multiple body types. As such, you often find them in shared workspaces. Likewise, you shouldn’t have to do too much adjusting each time you sit down in one. A good task chair is naturally accommodating.

Benefits of a Task Chair

A task chair’s purpose is to support productivity. This means that its benefits should be functional, allowing workers to accomplish their tasks more comfortably. Use task chairs in any office space when you want to:

  • Minimize shoulder, back, and hip pain: Task chairs help take pressure off the shoulders, hips, and back by encouraging an ergonomic posture. This allows workers to sit more comfortably, focus more deeply, and, hopefully, avoid pain in the future.  
  • Create a professional environment: Have you ever walked into an office and been unimpressed by the lack of a professional presentation? Task chairs are a low-cost way to make your office space look unified and professional. Having the same office chair at each workstation prevents the cluttered, hodgepodge appearance which can scare off potential employees and clients.
  • Use office space efficiently: Task chairs are meant to fit under desks, unlike larger executive-type office chairs. They also swivel, allowing you to reach more around you.
  • Facilitate productivity in a shared work environment: If employees work in various locations, task chairs keep the workspace standardized, so they always know what to expect.

A good task chair supports productivity, professionalism, and efficiency in the workspace.

What to Look for in a Task Chair

A good task chair increases productivity and the ability of a worker to operate without inundating them with unnecessary features. In general, look for a task chair that:

  • Can be adjusted to accommodate multiple body types
  • Can be adjusted without tools
  • Rolls and swivels easily
  • Fits the height of a workstation or a desk
  • Has breathable upholstery, such as mesh
  • Let’s you sit or get up quickly and easily

These features will make your chosen task chair more functional and reliable in the workplace. Here are some more key considerations to help you look for your perfect task chair.

Finding the Right Task Chair

There are many manufacturers of task chairs, each with their variety of chair models at various price points and with different aesthetic designs.  With such a large selection, it may take you some time to find the perfect chair. We’ve developed reviews of some top sellers to help you get a better sense of the task chair which is right for you.

Task seating is a necessary but often overlooked element of office space ergonomics. Now that you know what a task chair is, do you want to learn more about organizing your office for productivity?

Check out our free guide on office ergonomics, and learn how to assess how well your space promotes pain-free productivity. 

Cory Porteous
Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development
Office Interiors

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