I decided to spend some money on office chair

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The high end office chair is not cheap, it costs more than $1,000. Let’s say chair of $1,350 (note Haworth Fern is in that range), typical workers work 2,000 hours a year. Let’s say a typical worker sits 60% of the time, 1,200 hours sitting on a $1,350 chair. A dollar an hour chair sitting cost. The chair lasts at least 10 years though. So it’s more like 10 cents an hour chair sitting cost.

Why is a chair important for office workers?

Weight problems, back problems and other ergonomic chairs may help out. As explained by this YouTube video by Ahnestly (Dan Ahn) here. I don’t want to go much into details here. I think for normal office worker (people who sit before computer everyday for a while), a good chair, a good posture and even keyboarding, mouse/trackpad clicking/tapping are all important. Remember, your personal health is your responsibility. And I think standing desk could be a fad; see this Harvard Medical School article for reference. Wearing the Apple Watch (or other equivalent watches, they remind people to stand up and stretch a bit after sitting for a while), and stand up once a while is the way to go.

Where to buy?

I see 2 (or 3) choices:

  1. Buy new (from the manufacturers or from retailers), usually via website (e-commerce, such as Steelcase Leap at the manufacturer website, Steelcase Leap chair at Amazon, note the Amazon link here is my Amazon Associate link) nowadays. With today’s logistics, they could be shipped from the warehouse quickly, via UPS, Fedex or Amazon. The customer just need to open the box and start to use it.
  2. Buy preowned. There are also “like new” such as this 3 month old Haworth Fern asking for $900 (picture shown below), “refurbished” sometimes with warranty, and buy used still in good condition. This is somewhat like buying a used car, we need to pay a bit more attention here. It seems nowadays CraigsList (sample search Steelcase chair on local CraigsList) and Facebook marketplace (sample search on FB for Herman Miller Aeron) are two popular places to look. || I think on coming Monday 05-22-2023 I am going to proceed with/check out this one on FB marketplace that’s very close to my home. Note like buying used cars, the prices for used office chairs varies, and again Ahnestly (Dan Ahn) explained it very well in one of his YT videos too: this one is specifically for Herman Miller Aeron (and I tried to follow his instructions when I checked out the chair). Btw, I also created a YouTube watchList for office chairs.

If one likes to have neck support (headrest)

From memory it seems Steelcase Leap V2 (Amazon*; Steelcase) is a popular chair with headrest option.

The business of office furniture makers

It seems the manufacturers (mainly Haworth, Herman Miller, and Steelcase) do not have a business model like the iPhone. Typically people upgrade iPhone every 2, 3, or 4 years. Office chair lasts more than 10 years.

Also, some knockoff products (e.g., this one on local craigslist) may have impact on the brand names (Haworth, Herman Miller and Steelcase). What exactly is “equal to or better than Herman Miller Aeron Chair”, anyway? From the picture the shape looks like Herman Miller Aeron Chair (picture shown below). It seems this person is doing it (selling used chairs) as a business.

It’s more a consumer win / manufacturers “did okay or lose a bit” kind of situation.

Danger zone

I have some brief interactions with two manufacturers. In Spring Festival 2009 I visited Haworth for a business trip when I was working for Autodesk. Then recently I started looking into Steelcase stock ($SCS). I heard the Steelcase 1st time probably back in 2009 when I asked Haworth folks who are the competitors. The two companies are close by, Haworth is in Holland MI, and Steelcase is HQ’ed at Grand Rapids, MI. When I visited Holland, the airplane is from STL to Grand Rapids (I recall it was an old MD DC airplane).

Investor Day presentation (webcast; PDF) for Steelcase 05-04-2023

Quick thoughts after doing office chair research

For Steelcase, a unique problem is its vast used inventory in the market, this is evident on the FB Marketplace and on CraigsList. It will take some time to digest those inventories that were a result of pandemic (and work from home).

*Note the Amazon link is my Amazon Associates link. Your price will be the same; but I may earn a small commission if you click through the link and buy.

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