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What are Task Chairs?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Task chairs are commonly used in conjunction with office desks. These chairs are generally quite basic in design and created specifically to be used by many different users. For this reason, these chairs are often used in college classrooms, particularly in those with computer labs. They are also often used in public areas, such as in the computer area of the public library, or when several employees share a single workstation.

Task chairs are a flexible option for use in offices, because they are adjustable in many ways. Some less expensive chairs may only be able to adjust up or down in order to accommodate users of various heights. This is usually accomplished by pushing a lever located beneath the seat.

By pushing the lever when no one is seated in the chair, the seat comes up. To lower the seat, the user simply puts pressure on the seat while pushing the lever. This is often accomplished by simply sitting on the seat.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Some more expensive task chair models also have adjustable back rests or seats that allow the user to adjust the way the chair supports his or her back and legs. In this way, the user can obtain a maximum level of comfort. Some chairs also include armrests. In this case, the height of the armrests can often be lowered or raised in order to accommodate users of various heights. This is usually done by pushing a button and applying pressure to lower the armrests, or by simply pulling up on the armrests to lift them higher.

All task chairs also include four casters on the bottom. This makes it possible for the user to roll easily from one place to the other while performing various tasks, hence the name task chairs. It also makes it easier for the user to pull in toward an office desk in order to type, and then push away when ready to exit the chair.

To further aid in work efficiency, task chairs also swivel at the bottom. This allows the user to easily swivel back and forth between tasks. It also makes it easier to sit in the chair and enter a workstation simply by swiveling the chair away from the desk in order to sit down, then swiveling it back toward the desk to begin working.

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Discussion Comments


Task chairs are good if you're not spending more than 30 minutes or so at a time sitting in them. That's about how long they're comfortable for. They serve a purpose, especially in places like classrooms and libraries, to discourage people from moving in and setting up shop. I don't think they are, or ever were, meant to be comfortable. That's the job of actual office chairs, where employees will spend several hours a day.

I can't sit in task chairs anymore, for any length of time. My back simply will not allow it. I start seizing up almost as soon as I sit down in a task chair.


When I first started working where I am now, I had this little dinky task chair. It was awful. The back used to fall off. Finally, the boss laid out the cash for all new office chairs, and I finally got a good one. It supports my back and rolls really well. I've had it over 15 years.

About eight years ago, the boss decided we all needed new chairs, but he picked them out. They were uncomfortable and flimsy. I kept my old chair, which ticked him off, but it was preferable to the new chairs. There are more of the old chairs still left after 15 years than the new ones after seven years. Strange how that happens.

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