Hot Seats

Making the most of your office space.

How many hours do you sit in your chair every day? Let's admit it--on a typical workday, literally hours can pass before we finally stand up and walk across the office to get something.

Now that sitting has become such an integral part of the workday, finding the right chair can mean the difference between comfort and misery--both mental and physical. Don't believe it? Tests conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the use of ergonomic furniture upped worker productivity by 24 percent and increased job satisfaction by 27 percent. And 68 percent of the respondents said a better chair made all the difference.

At least you've got a variety to choose from. Some of the new office chairs are sleek and modern, while others offer traditional, conservative lines. And yet all share an emphasis on ergonomics--a requirement in any chair you choose.

With that in mind, we've reviewed three new chairs that are sure to add a little comfort and style (or both) to any homebased office:

  • The TAS, by Haworth Inc. The TAS, similar in design to conventional office chairs, maintains ergonomics as its top priority. It comes in three sizes, so it's sure to fit most body shapes and sizes.

Other features include an adjustable tilt tension that accommodates various user weights and an adjustable backrest that supports the spine. Its most unique feature, however, is that it allows for side-to-side movement, in addition to forward and back--thus encouraging body movement, or "active sitting." Available in leather or cloth, the TAS starts at $400 and can be found at Haworth dealers nationwide. For more information, visit www.haworth-furn.com

  • The Aeron, by Herman Miller Inc. The innovative Aeron sports an original, industrial-style design and boasts total versatility. And like the TAS mentioned above, the Aeron comes in three sizes for people of different heights. Tilt dynamics support your body in all postures as it moves throughout the day, from forward tilting to reclining.

Unlike typical chairs that incorporate fabric-covered foam, the Aeron uses a special material called Pellicle, which adapts to your body's shape and prevents uncomfortable increases in skin temperature. Cost: $1,150 retail; $999 via the Internet. For more information, call (800) 646-4400 or visit www.hmstore.com

  • The ZACKBACK, by ZACKBACK International Inc. Developed by a physical therapist, the ZACKBACK, weighing in at a hefty 60 pounds, claims to reduce or eliminate back and neck pain in users; it has a success rate of 78.6 percent.

It features two adjustable supports fitted above and below the lower back, which prevent you from slumping. The ZACKBACK also properly aligns your head, neck, upper back and shoulders, prompting proper breathing and use of your abdominal muscles. The armrests, meanwhile, adjust in four directions.

Supported by a 10-year warranty, the ZACKBACK comes in a variety of colors. Cost: $899. To order or obtain more information, call (800) SITTING or visit www.zackback.com

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