Reflections on commercial quality office chairs.

I just got done tearing apart one of my Haworth home office task chairs in hopes that I could transfer the gas lift spring to my other office chair. It has lived in at least 3 offices that I am aware of and has seen hard cubicle farm duty since it was manufactured in 2000 as a seating device, ladder, dolly, and step stool.

This chair gave 20 years of service. I estimate at least 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week. Yet it still has almost pristine upholstery, a solid cushion, strong counter-springs, and a good gas shock. The only things I don’t like about it are the plastic elbow rests and a lumbar tilt that I never really cared for that has gotten finicky.

As I disassembled the chair I really began to notice the quality of the build. No expense was spared in providing a massively thick steel frame and unfortunately a welded gas shock! So no way to pull this apart and swap out the shock.

Sturdy metal frame in Haworth office chair
Huge Haworth seat tension spring

Anyways…kudos to whoever bought this. As best I can figure 8 hours a day equals ~8 to ten 1 hour sitting sessions per day x 5 days a week is 50 sits per week times 52 weeks a year x 20 years comes out to 52,000 1 hour sitting sessions. Haworth comes in on the high end these days at ~$500 per office chair. That comes out to $.0096 CPS (my made up acronym for “Cents Per Sit”.)

Conversely, my ~$150 office chair from office max was never comfortable and lasted 3 years before I couldn’t even look at it anymore. 50 sits per week x 3 years only came out to 7800 uncomfortable “sits” of useful life at about .019 CPS. Roughly 200% more expensive in terms of cost per use.

Almost perfect fabric and cushion on 20 year old Haworth task chair
Proof it is really 20 years old!

My last thought on the matter….

An office property manager gave me this chair free during an office move. I would have never spent $500 on a task chair.

Having bought several home office chairs that never felt comfortable at all with prices usually between $100 and $200 that seemed to self destruct within a few years, it’s not that quality could not be found, it’s just that I didn’t have the long term view to look at the more expensive models at twice the price that would have lasted a full decade and a half more.

RIP…Haworth MHB824871. You served your time well. is still making great albeit expensive office furniture today.

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