Common Problems With Mesh Office Chairs -3
5. Mesh creates a cooler office environment
The biggest selling point for mesh office chairs is always the breathability. Airflow and keeping you cool is touted as the biggest positive by almost every mesh chair manufacturer. This selling point is only a positive for limited applications and users. If you live in a place like Florida or Arizona and your office has the windows open, then the breathability of mesh seems like the only way to go. For someone living in a cooler climate like Minneapolis or in a work area that has the air conditioning on high, then the breathability of mesh seems like a moot point and can be a disadvantage. Unless your office environment is warmer than a typical office environment, which is usually around 68-74 degrees, then the “cooling effect” of mesh is no longer an overall positive.
The breathability and “keeping you cool” selling point is also rarely a positive for half of the people using a mesh chair, which is women. Studies have shown that women feel cooler on average compared to their male counterparts.[i] Women are more likely to be chilly when men are comfortable, and more likely to feel comfortable when men are warm. Mesh chairs only exacerbate this problem and will often cause women to be uncomfortable due to being too cold.
Suggestion: We do not recommend purchasing mesh chairs solely due to their ability to keep the user cool unless the environment is abnormally warm compared to a typical office. If you decide to use a mesh chair it’s important to keep in mind that you may require warmer clothing to stay comfortable.
6. Frame can be uncomfortable
Since most mesh chairs are designed with little to no padding, the frame can often become more pronounced to the user. On a padded office chair upholstered in leather or fabric, the user will not come into contact with the chair frame because the foam padding will spill over the frame making for an even sit over the whole seat. Mesh chairs will be constructed by stretching the mesh over the chair frame and since there isn’t padding, the user’s legs, butt, back or shoulders may come into direct contact with the chair frame which can be uncomfortable. Another problem that may occur is reduced blood flow to the lower legs due to the front of the chair seat frame cutting off circulation. Some chair models do a better job than others to help alleviate this problem. A waterfall seat shape is a design that has a seat front that drops off dramatically which helps to reduce poor circulation. Other chair models may place a small piece of foam on the chair front only, in an effort to help reduce this problem.
Suggestion: Look very closely at the chair frame with respect to the mesh around it. If there is a thick plastic frame that is visible outside of the mesh, then there is a strong chance that the problems described above will be present. Try avoiding these types of chairs. If you have already purchased a chair with these problems and are looking for relief, then try placing a folded piece of clothing or small piece of foam over the portion of plastic that is causing discomfort.
While there are many positive aspects to mesh office seating, the negative aspects can often be too overwhelming to justify going with a mesh chair over a standard office chair. It is important to consider many factors in the work environment if mesh is going to be the ideal choice. Who is going to be sitting in the chair? What length of time will the chair be used per day and per sitting session? What is the average temperature in the work environment? Is the customer okay with limited colors and designs? For specific applications and users, mesh can work out great but it may not be the best fit for everyone.