Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

How to properly adjust your office chair

A step-by-step guide to better sitting

how to adjust your office chairIf you've got a desk job, you need your chair to support you like a best friend. Here's how to adjust it so it never lets you down.

Start by making sure you're sitting with your buttocks to the back of the seat, then deal with the following:


Proper seat height will help reduce stress and strain on your neck, back and joints. 

What it looks like

  • feet flat on the floor or a footrest
  • knees bent at a comfortable right angle (90°)
  • thighs parallel to the floor

How to get there

Raise or lower your seat until you are at a good height.

Lower Back Support

Lower back support, also called lumbar support, reduces muscle fatigue and back pain.

What it looks like

  • backrest supports your back when you are sitting fully in your chair 
  • the curve of the chair should fit into the curve of your lower back 
  • you are sitting upright or slightly reclined backward

How to get there

Raise or lower the height of your backrest until the curve of the chair fits into the curve of your lower back. If you don’t have a curved backrest, place a rolled-up towel or lumbar support pillow where your lower back meets the chair.

Tilt your seat back to an upright position or, if you prefer, slightly angled backward to allow you to have a reclined posture.


The best seat depth offers support for both your back and legs.

What it looks like

  • your back is supported by the backrest 
  • you have two to four finger-widths of space between the backs of your knees and your seat edge

How to get there

Slide your seat forward or backward, until you get the best seat pan depth.


Armrests help support your forearms or elbows, decreasing the stress on your shoulders and back.

What it looks like

Your forearms should rest comfortably on the armrests, with your shoulders relaxed. Armrests should be adjusted if they

  • prevent you from placing your chair at a comfortable typing or viewing distance from the screen
  • interfere with typing or using the mouse
  • prevent you from turning your chair or getting up from your chair easily

How to get there

Adjust the armrests up or down so that you are able to comfortably rest your forearms, or remove them if they interfere with work tasks while seated.

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