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Choosing a replacement office chair caster

Let me get this out of the way: I hate my chair. It’s a bargain-bin piece of junk that I got from one of the big chain department stores, and I’m pretty much marking time until I can afford the upgrade to something a little nicer. In the meantime, I make do. My chair does everything I need from a chair: it lets me sit on it, and it rolls along the floor. Until today.

I’ve been having a rough roll lately when I get up from my desk, and today one of the casters hard-locked on me and the chair almost flipped over. After prying it out, I realize it’s got a huge knot of carpet fuzz, cat hair, and who knows what else in there from years of use. It’s new caster time.

Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near the place I bought the chair originally, and the manufacturer’s site was no help. I know I can get replacements online, but I wasn’t sure what kind I needed. After some quick googling, I found a blurry chart. Yikes. I understand that all the information I might need is in there somewhere, but I wasn’t about to put myself through eyestrain just to figure out how to order a plastic wheel, and neither should you. So I’ve put together a handy guide to ordering a replacement caster. For the most part, the search boils down to answering two simple questions:

How big is the original caster?

For a replacement caster, the most important things to know are the length and diameter of the “stem” (the part that sticks into the chair). Grab a ruler, yank out the offending caster, and measure like so:

How to Measure Office Chair Casters Infograph

In my case, the stem was 1 inch long by 3/8ths of an inch in diameter, making it a “K” class stem (some manufacturers use these letter codes, but knowing the length and diameter is really the important part.) Also, whether your stem has a flat or a round head doesn’t really matter; as long as the measurements are right the caster will fit. The next question determines the material the wheel should be made of:

What kind of floor will the caster be used on?

In my case, I’m currently on hardwood floors. For hard surfaces like wood, chairs mats, tile or linoleum, a soft wheel is recommended. Hard wheels should be used on soft surfaces, like carpet. Just like any other wheel, really. Think about it: soft rubber car tires for the hard concrete road, but hard plastic tires on your lawnmower for moving over soft dirt and grass. But I digress. By plugging the length, diameter, and floor type into the “Narrow your Results” column on the casters page at OnTimeSupplies.com, I found the best match for me would be these Doublewheel Nylon Casters from Master Casters. They come in a set of five so I can either replace the whole chair’s worth (and have one left over!) or replace the bad one and keep the rest in reserve for the day the other wheels inevitably lock up on me. Not too shabby, and it beats replacing the whole chair.

So there you have it. Proof once again that shopping for office supplies and equipment doesn’t need to be a hassle. Something as simple as finding a new caster was turning into a pretty hair-pulling exercise, and hopefully the above guide will spare a few shoppers that grief.

Office Redesign: How to Choose Your Furniture

The suit may make the man, but it is the furniture that makes the office. When deciding on what furniture to buy and where to put it all, one can become quickly overwhelmed by many options out there. Now more than ever, the old phrase, “a desk is not just a desk” is very obvious once you get out into the market and take a look at the available options. For every conceivable piece of office furniture, there are a million different choices. The question is: without the aid of a professional designer, how do you decide?

This article is designed to help you along that path. There are considerations to be made with every purchase, and once you take everything into consideration, you will find each purchase naturally follows in kind. Once you realize that everything has its place, and every place a thing that is begging to put there, you will see that randomness has nothing to do with it.

Set a Tone

The important thing to consider when redesigning your office is what kind of tone you want to set. This will be up to personal preference, and the function of your office. If it is the type of office where customers and clients will often be dropping by, you will want to set a welcoming, friendly tone. Unless your business is overly catered to either men or women, you’ll want to do your best to set a gender neutral tone to the office. No pinks or blues, in other words. Stay with more neutral colors. Bolder colors can have unpredictable effects on different types of people, so you want to stay away from them if possible. You never know what a bright red or a bright yellow might say to the individual. On the other hand, light browns and grays and off whites are relaxing and provide an atmosphere of professionalism. You do not have to be boring with your design of the office, but you should not get too outrageous, either. It is, after all, an office and not a game room.

The Desk

Within any office, the desk is the focal point. This means the largest percentage of your consideration should go into choosing the right one. That doesn’t automatically mean you should go out and get the nicest, most Corner Deskelaborate and expensive desk you can find. You should choose a nice one, but a desk that is too big could give off an air of arrogance and power that might intimidate clients. Then again, this might be exactly what you are after. In any event, the desk will determine a lot about the rest of the furniture in the office. It is best to choose function over form in this instance, though there is room for some stylistic leeway. Choose a desk that you’ll feel comfortable at day after day. Some people choose a hulking desk and then find themselves overwhelmed by the immensity. It may seem silly, but that is how psychology works. If you’re to have visitors in your office, make sure you provide chairs in front of your desk that are comfortable.

Setting The Comfort Level

Speaking of comfort, you want to set a balance. Don’t make the furniture in your office so comfortable that employees (or yourself) do not care to do anything once seated. At the same time, you will be spending the majority of each day in the office, so furniture that will cause your neck and back discomfort after thirty minutes is not appropriate either.

Take your time when picking out the furniture. If you feel as though you want to go to sleep just looking at a particular chair, it’s probably best to skip over it. On the other hand, a metal folding chair is probably a bit too sparse and uncomfortable.

Shelving and Filing

When perusing furniture you will want to direct your attention to your filing system. Companies like HON make filing cabinets and shelving that can fit the decor of almost any office. Many times, filing cabinets stick out like ugly sore thumbs in the midst of an otherwise beautiful office. There’s no need for this to be the case. Filing systems come in too many varieties for you to feel as though you’re stuck with one particular choice.

Choosing the Right Ergonomic Chair

Sitting in an office all day and working at your desk can simultaneously be a tedious and rewarding expenditure of the daylight hours. Rewarding because of your position in the company and your desire to do a good day’s work for your employer, but tedious because your job may be the kind that demands the same duties of you day in and day out.

You may not realize, however, that this tedium is far from the worst part of your day. The worst part may be a factor you haven’t even realized, or may have noticed, but not ascribed the proper importance.

It is the effect all day sitting has on your spinal column, joints, and other parts of your body. More than simply filling you with discomfort by the end of the day, this constant sitting can produce real, long term problems most might not associate with a sedentary lifestyle. Some of this can be offset with exercise, but some of it cannot. Your best bet is to go with an ergonomic chair.

What Is An Ergonomic Chair?

Ergonomics is used to describe the way in which our posture is affected by the furniture and appliances we use. You’ll see the word written about keyboards, mouse pad designs, power tools, and especially, the point in case before us, office chairs.

Ergonomics simply mean that the piece of equipment is designed in such a way that it does not fight our natural body posture. Rather than causing us to slouch, sit too straight, or hold our wrists in an unnatural position, the ergonomically designed appliance, chair, or other office supply works with our bodies so that we can be comfortable and avoid long term injury.

Bad ergonomics, found in the vast majority of cheap office chairs on the market, can not only lead to feeling discomfort at the end of a long day, but can actually produce results in the long run that would best be described as undesirable. This could range from advanced back problems, chronic neck pain, and even headaches.

How Does One Benefit from Ergonomic Chairs?

Beyond the obvious elimination of these undue chronic problems, studies have shown that office workers using ergonomic chairs increase their productivity by up to fifteen percent. This is quite a large jump in productivity just by switching office chairs!

The increase in productivity results from reducing the need to stand up and take extended stretching breaks when using a poorly constructed chair. In addition, employees can concentrate more on their work, instead of “why does my neck hurt constantly?”

The simplest benefit of ergonomic chairs is being able to get up after a long day in the office and feel as though you don’t need to take a salt bath just to relax. The chair has allowed you to relax and, simultaneously, achieve your greatest concentration throughout the entire day.

What Separates One Ergonomic Chair From Another?

Good question! There is no shortage of chairs out there calling themselves “ergonomic,” but do they all really fit the bill?

There is no industry standard that dictates how you can label a chair ergonomic, and thus, you can expect chairs that claim to be ergonomic when in fact they are not. And this is exactly what you find. Though they have the temerity to charge much more, many of these so-called ergonomic chairs are no different from the chair you have now. Make sure you go with a brand you can trust, such as HON Chair, when searching for an authentic, real ergonomic chair.

Making The Choice

Once you’ve decided which trusted brand is right for you, it’s a matter of finding your price point and then deciding which features you’d like. You’ll find chairs that have various levels of swivel and height, different fabrics, reclining features, armrests, and much more. You only need to determine which features you need , and then pick a chair based on a combination of which one provides the most desirable features for the right price.