I moved house a couple of months ago, and – with an eye to being comfortable while working from home more often – decided it was time to throw out my ratty old cheap “office” chair that was bequeathed to me by a former housemate about eight years ago, and which she’d had since her student days (thanks, Fiona!)
I took a few ergonomics courses during the first lockdown, and decided to try out one of the newest chairs that had been recommended: the Homeworker, designed by Nichola Adams, the ergonomics brains behind chair gurus Corrigo Design.
Corrigo are a company I was already recommending regularly – the Libero chair is a classic option for people who suffer with back pain as it’s comfortable but also extremely adjustable. It comes with a price tag to match (£846), which is comparable to the RH Logic 400 I have in the clinic.
The Homeworker is a new venture by Corrigo since the start of the first lockdown. It’s not quite as adjustable as the Libero, but has a much friendlier price tag, at only £249.50, and it’s been a real hit with people who are working from home and need more support than they can get from the average dining chair or sofa.
I contacted Nichola and explained that I was keen to try her new baby – and she happily sent over a massive bunch of swatches. I picked a bright red fabric (the colour makes it more inviting somehow!) and it arrived within a week, despite being custom-covered. I was hugely impressed.
I then set about adjusting it to fit me – and here I was helped by Nichola, who offered me a (free) half-hour Zoom walk-through, which is a service she is happy to offer to all new purchasers.
My desk is a fixed height (my next project!) so we needed to work around that.
- First, I sat down and made sure the armrests were at the right height for me. This means sitting right back in the chair, and letting your arms dangle. Your forearms should be able to rest comfortably, without your shoulders being pushed up. The Homeworker’s arm rests can go up and down, and also slide so that they’re set closer together or further apart, depending on how your arms naturally hang.
- Having fitted the armrests to my body, I could then get the armrests’ position correct relative to the desk. When you’re sitting, you want your elbows to be positioned around 1-3cm above the height of the desk, so that your wrists are at a good height for typing. The Homeworker has a lift/lower lever on the right hand side that allows you to make the chair the right height.
- I have a relatively high lumbar curve, but my back is also quite flat and doesn’t like excessive support. I was able to raise the backrest slightly, and pump the lumbar support up and down to get the right level of support for me. I could also tilt the chair back slightly, using the chair tilt lever on the right hand side, meaning that I can recline slightly, which my back quite likes. One of the compromises associated with a less expensive chair though is that unlike my RH Logic or the Libero, I can’t unlock the back so that the chair moves with me.
- It’s super important that you have 3-4cm of space between the front lip of the chair seat, and the back of your knee crease. Pressure behind the knee can cause issues including deep vein thrombosis. The Homeworker is particularly suited for shorter people, as the seat is not long and can be slid back. At 5’6″ I can have the seat almost all the way forward; but a person of 5′ would want to move it further back.
- The final adjustment is seat angle – and until I went through it with Nichola, I hadn’t realised what a difference this could make. My desk is a standard height and when the seat was horizontal, my little legs were dangling a bit, despite my footrest, placing pressure on the backs of my thighs. However, when Nichola encouraged me to tilt the seat forward a bit, it was an absolute revelation – suddenly I could put pressure through my feet, which instantly made my back a lot more comfortable.
In short – I’m actually quite amazed at how much adjustability Nichola has managed to pack into the Homeworker chair, at an affordable price. I’m way more comfortable working from home than I was when I was using Fiona’s knackered old chair, and once I improve my desk situation as well, I think I’ll be more comfortable still. I love the colour (and the choice of colours is incredible) and Nichola’s methodical way of talking me through the different levers and knobs was incredibly helpful – especially the seat tilt!
If you’re looking for an affordable chair to use at home, this is a great option – and if you use the discount code NM10% at checkout, Nichola will give you 10% off your purchase. She also offers full ergonomic assessments for individuals and groups, through her website Inspired Ergonomics.
Do you know what else you should be looking for when you’re setting up your home workstation? What environmental factors to consider, how best to organise your desk, or whether you need a standing desk or a fancy ergonomic mouse or keyboard? A great introduction to all of this is my new online course, Setting up your home workstation for success – only £25 at full price, but currently with a 50% discount if you use the code STUPIDCORONAVIRUS.