We’re always looking for ways to make working from home more comfortable, which is why our interest was immediately piqued when we saw a certain cross legged office chair go viral on social media recently.
The chair in question, which has amassed almost 500 million views on TikTok alone, was quick to sell out and has just recently been restocked. And while it may seem like the perfect solution for those of us who find it uncomfortable sitting in a home office for several hours each day, the trending chair might not be as enticing as we first thought.
‘While chairs that allow the body to move and reposition are great, this chair’s shape doesn’t support a normal seating position,’ says Lucinda Newbound, Back In Action’s Senior Ergonomics Adviser.
Even though there are few different variants of this specific chair online, they all follow a similar aesthetic. Seemingly perfect for the modern home office look, they don’t have arms, have a much wider seat than traditional office chairs and typically don’t have wheels. But even though you may feel comfortable if you’re only using the chair for short bursts of time, sitting in it for a full workday isn’t the wisest idea.
‘Although the TikTok chair may be aesthetically pleasing, it is not designed with ergonomics in mind,’ explains James Mackie, office chair expert at Bestbuy Office Chairs. And that’s where some of the potential problems start to arise.
The problems this trending chair could cause
Even though some of us can start to feel our legs getting achy or heavy if we sit in a traditional office chair for too long, ‘having your legs crossed for an extended period of time is generally seen as being uncomfortable and risky,’ says James from Bestbuy Office Chairs.
Lack of support
‘Crossing your legs can cut off blood circulation to your feet and lower legs, resulting in the horrible feeling of pins and needles and eventually numbness,’ James continues. Ideally, you want to have your feet flat on the ground to prevent any of those issues from occurring.
Another potential problem with this office chair; its lack of arms. It may look aesthetically pleasing with your home office decor, but those armrests actually serve a purpose. They are there to keep your elbows and arms steady and rested. ‘Without this support, it can result in pain in your arms and excessive tension in your shoulders,’ explains James.
‘This chair’s shape is too deep and will catch the backs of the knees, pulling the lower back out of the backrest, resulting in you being slumped,’ adds Lucinda from Back In Action. ‘In fact, I wouldn’t advise sitting with your legs crossed for any longer than an hour.’
Sitting in a cross-legged position can also, ‘compromise your stability,’ according to Dr. Johannes Uys, a General Practitioner (GP) at Broadgate General Practice. If you are someone with existing balance or stability issues, the lack of support this chair provides could even increase the risk of someone losing their balance.
Our overall posture also affects our general health much more than we might think. For example, bad posture can lead to back pain, neck pain and headaches if you’re hunching over, lack of motivation and even poor sleep and digestion issues.
‘Poor posture puts your muscles in inconvenient positions, meaning you may be unable to fully relax your body at night,’ reveals James from Bestbuy Office Chairs. ‘Additionally, sitting improperly can bunch up your internal organs, causing stomach issues and slowing your digestion.’
‘Sitting cross-legged creates an asymmetrical posture that places uneven stress on the hips, pelvis, and spine,’ adds Dr. Johannes. ‘This can lead to imbalances and strain in the muscles and joints.’ This strain can result in discomfort, pain or even long-term health issues.
What should I be looking for in an office chair instead?
Ideally you need a chair that provides support for you and your body. ‘If you don’t have any health conditions that you know of, I always recommend looking for three things: lumbar support, flexible armrests and an adjustable seat height,’ suggests James from Bestbuy Office Chairs.
‘These three things will help ensure that your chair can be adjusted and arranged so that it’s comfortable for you and your body type and size.’
And if you do have any health conditions or injuries, looking for an office chair that is designed to help that specific condition is key.
‘Look for a well-designed ergonomic office chair that encourages neutral posture, evenly distributes body weight and reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal problems associated with prolonged sitting,’ recommends Dr. Johannes.