A mat under your office chair might not seem like a bign deal but it can have a significant impact on your daily life. You spend a lot of time in your chair and a good mat makes sitting there more comfortable, while lowering fatigue and reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury.
A surprising amount of thought needs to go into choosing your chair mat to avoid damage to your equipment or yourself. You want a trifecta of chair, floor and mat that work in perfect harmony because when your office equipment works well, you're happier and more productive.
Know your space
First, measure the space you have. Do you have a tiny desk that you don’t move from or a larger area? Also think about how much you move during the day. Are you a chronic roller, zipping from your cabinet to your computer every few seconds? This will help you to determine how large your mat needs to be. However, you never want a mat so large that you have to fit it under the furniture. This will damage and reduce the lifespan of the mat as it is only designed for the weight of a person and chair.
Know your flooring
Mixing different mats with different flooring is a recipe for disaster. For example, mats for carpet have cleats to keep them in place, but these same cleats will damage a wood floor. If you have hard flooring you’ll need a mat that is noise dampening and scratch resistant, while carpet needs a mat that will stay in place while being flexible. Carpet mats have backing that grips to the carpet but ensures that it won’t wear down under the chair’s wheels.
Know the right shape
Chair mats tend to come in three main sizes. They’re called light bulb, lip and rectangular. Light bulb mats are rounded with a squarish end and they suit L-shaped workstations. Lip mats are rectangular with a little square end added on and suit most straight and U-shaped desk setups. There are no prizes for guessing what shape rectangular mats comes in, but these are the most versatile shape for office configurations.
Finally, you’ll need to decide on the right thickness for your mat. If the mat is too thin it will crack quickly so always go for the thicker option. It will only provide more comfort and support.
Now that you’ve selected the perfect mat for your chair, flooring and desk configuration you can finally roll around without the fear of stress and strain!