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A new term, "hot desks" is emerging in today's business world. It refers to the sharing of the same office space by busy, sometimes telecommuting, office workers. But in the world of medical offices and hospital ward stations, perhaps a more pertinent term might be "hot seat" — the sharing of one chair by several medical staff personnel working on different shifts and schedules. In fact, informal surveys show that one chair may be used at different times by as many as four people.
Give careful thought to "adjustability" when selecting workstation seating for the medical environment. Differences in body measurements, vision requirements, hand preferences, computer set–ups, type of work being performed and length of the work shift are all factors that contribute to choosing the right chair for multiple users.
Look for the following features when choosing workstation chairs:
1. Seat padding with resiliency to reduce contact stress on hips and thighs and to provide comfortable back support for varying body sizes.
2. "Waterfall" seat contours are often preferred to alleviate pressure on the back of the thighs.
3. Gas–lift, adjustable height controls that allow the chair to adjust for varying shin heights and that encourage users to sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor.
4. Adjustable seat depth controls that ideally allow the front edge of the chair to be two to three inches from the back of the user's knees.
5. Adjustable back supports that raise or lower to a height that adequately supports the curves of the back, especially the lumbar curve of the low back.
6. Adjustable tilt of the seat forward and backwards that operates independently of the back support. Reclining rests the back muscles. A forward tilt of the seat pan encourages a well–aligned, upright back posture taking stress off the spinal muscles and discs of the lower back.
7. Height– and width–adjustable, well–cushioned, arm supports that adjust to maintain straight wrist postures for computer activities and reduce muscular effort of the neck, shoulders, and back.
8. Adjustable tilt tension controls adjust to varying body weights and allow the chair to rock or tilt with the correct amount of resistance.
9. Adjustment controls that are easy to operate from a seated position and do not require forceful hand motions.
10. Durable construction that is tested and certified to safely support the body weights and dimensions of multiple users.