Today, most jobs involve a fair amount of time sitting at a desk – in fact, for many people today, their entire day requires them to sit at a desk and using a computer, and sometimes a telephone too. The service industry has been computerised and offices full of desks have replaced factory workshop floors all over the world. For most workers this is not a problem, but wheelchair users need can struggle unless they have a chair that’s designed for the job. Luckily, we sell several wheelchairs that are great in and around the office and making working at a desk a breeze.
Before we continue, here’s an example of bad posture – we’ll explain below why you should avoid this working position.
What Makes a Good Wheelchair for Desk Work?
The single most important feature in a wheelchair is the armrests – you need adjustable armrests so that you can maintain good ergonomic posture when working. You might think that the ability to lower arms to slide under the table is essential, but really this is not the case. You ideally want to have a chair that allows you to make the arms the same height as your desk. To help with typing and using a mouse and helps prevent nerve damage and RSI issues that often occur when arms are too low or too high.
Sometimes, to allow the arms of a wheelchair to be level with a table you need to use a height adjustable table that can lift and fall to the required height. Modern tables are powered by a motor so the user can easily adjust the position without the need to call the facilities department.
Ergonomics experts recommend that when working at a desk with a computer you lean back slightly to help keep the body aligned in a more natural position. Being able to lean slightly back is only possible though if your wheelchair can get close to the table – sometimes we see people leaning forward from their wheelchair to work and this is always setting people up for back problems in the future – leaning back slightly is better for your spine. The best wheelchairs for working at desks in offices are those with curved armrests that are also adjustable, like those on the I-GO Airrex LT and the G-Lite PRO.
Some wheelchairs are designed with “desk style” armrests, that reduce in height to the front, such as in the Enigma Ultra Lightweight Aluminium Manual Wheelchair. This allows you to get closer to the desk while still having support for your arms. As the armrests are not adjustable in height you do need to ensure that the desk is either adjustable or modified.
Below you can see a much better posture with arms level with the desk and he’s sitting slightly back rather than leaning forward. There is also room to move further forward if he wishes plus room around the desk to easily move the chair in and out.
So to wrap up, our recommended chairs for desk work are the I-GO Airrex LT and the G-Lite PRO, along with the Enigma Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair. Other chairs may be suitable, just measure up first to make sure your chair will fit well. An adjustable desk is always a good idea. As well as the chair itself, you should consider some accessories to improve comfort. A good wheelchair cushion is essential when sitting for long periods, and to help support your head when leaning slightly back a wheelchair headrest is also a good idea. Head to our wheelchair shop or speak to a sales adviser to learn more.
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