Carson Design Associates Blog

How to Select Practical Seating Options for Your Workspace

AUTHOR: Carson Design Associates - Indy   POST DATE:

Selecting office seating seems simple enough, right? While chairs themselves might not be complicated, there are many factors to consider when selecting the right fit for employees. We here at Carson Design Associates regularly work with clients to select the best and most practical seating options for their needs — helping them consider multiple elements like mobile users vs. single assigned user, aesthetics and ergonomic needs.

When it came to selecting our own office seating, we put our client furniture selection process into practice to ensure we selected what our own employees needed to work effectively. Continue reading to see the approach we took, as well as some of the criteria we considered when selecting workplace seating for our new office.

Discuss Important Features and Elements

Our employee’s opinions mean a great deal, and we didn’t want to leave them out of the discussion for selecting seating they would be using on a daily basis. Our team is just under 20 employees, so it was a matter of starting a simple discussion around elements that were important to them. For larger workforces, we recommend holding focus groups discussions and then creating a survey to find out what people desire.

Some specific questions to ask may include:

  • Do you find yourself needing to adjust your chair regularly throughout the day?
  • Are you looking for a single task chair solution?
  • Are you experiencing physical discomfort with your current seating?
  • Are you moving from room to room throughout the day or staying in one spot?
  • Where are you most frequently sitting?

Narrow Chair Pool

Many companies will narrow their chair pool differently based on how employees work throughout the day. Some will select based on price, while others focus on multi-functional use or all-day comfort.

From your discussions, gather a small team to prioritize features and buying factors and then select 3-5 options for testing. Our own team prioritized ergonomic use and comfort, which then drove our selection criteria to fit ergonomic considerations.

Define Survey Criteria

From our discussions, our team then created a criteria chart for employees to consider and fill out after testing the new chairs. Some of our own criteria included:

  • Chair Adjustments — Does the chair provide adjustments you need for correct support?
  • Seat Comfort — After a full day sitting in the chair, how was the experience?
  • Ease of Use — How easy was it to adjust the chair for your changing positions throughout the day?
  • Body Support — Once adjusted, how well does the chair support you?
  • Overall Chair Experience — How do you rate the overall use, appearance, and comfort of the chair?

Depending on the purpose of your seating, other criteria to consider might include mobility around the office, functionality for team meetings, longevity and warranty considerations.

Testing Sample Chairs

Our team then requested sample chairs from the supplier, so we could evaluate a true sit test. This was extremely helpful to identify if the chair fit our overall criteria.

To ensure each employee had a chance to test each chair for a full day, we created a schedule. For the best and most honest survey feedback, we highly encouraged employees to rate criteria at the end of each day. For larger companies, you can use a smaller selected group of individuals from the focus group to test batches of the chairs and provide feedback.

Compile and Select

Once the demo period ended, we evaluated everyone’s feedback, compared this against our company’s pre-defined criteria and budget. Ultimately we selected a chair that aligned with our employees’ personal needs. Their opinions were vital in making this selection since they would be the ones benefiting from tour new chair selection..

. . .

We here at Carson Design Associates know that selecting office seating can be a more challenging process than originally thought. There are a lot of choices out there, maybe the steps listed above are a good start to get you moving in the right direction.

Of course, our team is always here to talk about your workplace needs and can assist in evaluating and selecting seating for your space. Contact us today.


Photo Courtesy: SteelCase Gesture Task Chair
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