How to Work From a Bean Bag Chair: 7 Ergonomic Tips

ergonomic tips

 Where were you in 1969?

You might have been protesting a war.  You might have been celebrating equal pay for women. Maybe you weren’t even born.

Most likely you weren’t attending the Paris Furniture Fair.

The bean bag chair, however, did attend the Paris Furniture Fair on January 19, 1969. It was called the Sacco but it didn’t take long before it was dubbed the bean bag chair.

This nifty little chair was an icon of the1970s and on the Christmas list of old and young alike. But similar to mood rings and go-go boots, the popularity of the bean bag chair faded away.

Or did it?

The bean bag chair turns 50 soon. It’s evolved over the years but it’s still going strong.

Nowadays, bean bag chairs are not only found not only in family rooms. You can find them in office spaces and workplaces all over the world.

If you suffer from back pain or any other type of joint pain, consider using one in your own workspace.

We’re prepared a list of ergonomic tips for bean bag chair users at work. Read it and prepare to relax.

A Little History of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is an ancient concept. Ancestors of modern man-probably cavemen-created tools designed to make work easier.

Of course, they didn’t use the word ergonomics. But they understood the concept of designing tools that fit the human body and the way it naturally moves.

As civilisation advanced, inventors continued to value ergonomics. World War II and the military machines used during battle, especially aeroplane cockpits, used ergonomics as a way of organizing complex controls, so that flight crews could better access and manage them.

Ergonomics saved lives during the war. It helped pilots not crash planes.

Fast forward to the modern office where workers are given handouts with stretching exercises printed on them. People with certain physical conditions are even offered specially designed desks and chairs.

We’ve heard so much about it over the last several years that ergonomics isn’t the workplace buzzword it was a decade or so ago. Maybe we take it for granted but it’s still relevant. 

Ergonomics and the Bean Bag Chair

Doctors recommend bean bag chairs for patients who suffer from back issues. These chairs are also prescribed for and other health-related problems.

The filling used in bean bag chairs adapts to your sitting or lying position and adjusts to your posture. This relieves pressure on your muscles and helps with pain relief.

Imagine how relaxed a person feels when they sink down into the comfort of a bean bag chair after hours of sitting.

People who work on computers for long hours suffer from backaches, joint aches and headaches. If you think about the structure of a typical office chair you’ll understand why.

Most office chairs are on wheels or even worse are uncomfortable square shaped stationary pain machines. When you sit in these chairs, you twist your body every time you reach for something. Hence, the backaches.

You also have little control over the distance between you and your computer screen. Bring on the headaches and eye strain.

Traditional office furniture breaks most of the rules of ergonomics. 

Bring on the bean bags!

1. Relax Your Back and Then Some

Let’s look at a few ergonomic tips, which will help maximise the experience of working from your chair.

People who sit in front of a computer for long stretches often deal with neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Instead of the uncomfortable chair on wheels given to most office workers, try sitting in a large bean bag chair for at least a portion of your screen time. 

A large bean-bag chair provides postural support. When you support the spine, you prevent slumping of the lower back. Your lower back, in turn, supports your neck, which helps avoid shoulder slouching. 

One simple remedy takes care of three problem areas.

2. Add a Back Pillow

Your lower back needs appropriate support. 

Bean bag chairs do provide lumbar support but you can add additional support by placing a small pillow or rolled up towel placed between your back and the back of the chair. 

3. Get Your Move On

No one should sit in a chair for prolonged periods of time. Even if your chair is a bean bag chair!

At least every 10 minutes, take a short (10-20 second) break. Hands off the keys!

Every 30-60 minutes, take a brief (2-5 minute) break. Get up and stretch. Take a walk around the building and get your blood pumping.

Movement improves circulation, which markedly slows down when you’re sitting or long stretches of time. Movement is also the best self-remedy for creaking knees. It lubricates joints and prevents stiffness.

If you’re really brave or don’t care what others think, do a few stretches or march in place. Yes, right there in your workspace!

4. Roll Your Eyes

Working at a computer puts a strain on your eyes, especially if you look at the screen for more than 20 minutes.

You can avoid eye strain while working from your bean bag chair by rolling your eyes.

Try these simple exercises:

  • Roll your eyes clockwise then counterclockwise. Don’t overdo it on the eye rolls-a few times in each direction is fine.
  • Cup hands lightly over eyes for 30 seconds. This gives eyes a break from irritating light-from your computer screen and the fluorescent lighting found in so many offices. t
  • Look away from your computer and focus on objects on the floor or the wall. You can also focus on co-workers. They’ll wonder what you’re thinking.

This is one of the easiest ergonomic tips you can use because it doesn’t require leaving your chair.

5. Wave Your Hands

You probably won’t get carpal tunnel syndrome from working at a computer, but you could risk upper-extremity disorders associated with computer use.

Try a few of these hand exercises from the comfort of your chair.

Place your elbows on your desk. Using one hand bend the other back toward your forearm. Hold briefly. Relax. Repeat on the opposite hand. 

Fan your fingers out as far apart as you can. Hold. Clench fists. Release. 

Wave at coworkers.

We’re kidding but why not be friendly?

6. Curl Your Toes

After a long day of sitting do your feet look like stovepipes?

Swollen feet look a bit disturbing but you probably don’t have a life-threatening disorder. However, swollen feet are a common occurrence for people who sit at a desk for hours at a time. 

Just like moving fingers and hands helps prevent problems with arms and shoulders, moving your feet can help prevent swollen feet and ankles.

We have three ergonomic tips for prevention of lower extremity issues.

One can be done with your shoes on. One works better with shoes off. The third has nothing to do with moving your feet.

  1. Rotate your foot at the ankle. Make slow, relaxed circles. Then, circle in reverse. Switch to the opposite foot and repeat. *Unless you wear tall boots or high top hiking shoes, you can leave your shoes on for this exercise. 
  2. For this exercise flex your toes up, then curl them under. Release and repeat. Toe curls work best with your shoes off. Be kind coworkers and wear clean socks!
  3. Put your feet up! Keep an ottoman in your workspace and use it when your feet and legs need some serious relaxation. 

Your feet will thank you for these small efforts but so will the rest of your body.

The last of the ergonomic tips for people who enjoy office bean bags is will make you look at desk work from a different perspective.

7. Try a Lap Desk

In most images online, you see people who work from bean bag chairs resting their laptop or tablet on their knees.

That’s not a great idea because it puts a strain on your wrists, forearms, and elbows. It’s fine if you only do it for a few minutes, but you won’t like the cramps and aches if you do it for hours.

Avoid pain and stress on your upper extremities by using a beanbag desk.

Similar to your chair, a lap desk allows a working setup that’s matched to your body. You customize the position of the desk. Have you ever tried customizing the desk in your cube?

Enjoying Our Ergonomic Tips?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our ergonomic tips for people who enjoy working from their office bean bag chair. If you’ve not tried a bean bag, why not?

Visit our blog for even more tips and fun articles about the many ways people enjoy using bean bag chairs.

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Posted by Geoff Brand  - Bean Bags R Us Australia.


This entry was posted in Bean Bag Chairs.