To ask your employer for a new office chair:
- Check into company policy
- Research office chair options
- Find options to suit different budgets
- Set up an in-person meeting
- Cover all your talking points and maintain your tone
- Prepare for rejection
Asking your employer for anything is stressful, but we explain how you can alleviate the stress moving forward.
Keep reading to learn when you should make this request and when your employer is obligated to accommodate, as well as the process from start to finish.
When Should You Ask Your Employer for a New Office Chair?
Even durable office chairs wear out over time, leading to comfort issues and the potential to harm your health.
While some office chairs can last up to 10 years, most only make it a maximum of 5 years before they start to cause problems.
You should ask your employer for a new office chair once it reaches this estimated age, or if you notice major issues that cannot be easily repaired.
You can also request a new office chair with the help of a doctor for health problems such as:
- Lower back pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
Keep in mind that a request for medical accommodation can suggest a certain course of action, but they cannot necessarily require your workplace to meet your need in a specific way.
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When Employers Have to Provide a New Office Chair
Most employers are receptive to granting your request to keep you happy and healthy, but there may be some back and forth before a final decision is made.
Others may have issues granting the request. You cannot force them to provide a new office chair unless your current setup is proven detrimental to your health using medical documentation.
Alternatively, you can report your workplace to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if your current conditions are hazardous.
This approach is discouraged unless you try to reach an amicable solution with your employer and they refuse.
Preparing Your Request for a New Office Chair
Most of the work in asking your employer for a new office chair lies in the preparation.
While making the request is the most nerve-wracking, performing adequate research will ease some of that stress and better prepare you to handle the conversation.
Prep work includes:
- Checking into your company’s existing policies for these requests
- Researching different office chairs and their benefits
- Finding a few options to suit all budget
In most cases, overdoing the research is not necessarily a bad thing. Failing to do proper research will cause you more harm.
Most companies have policies in place regarding:
- How often do they replace furniture
- Where they source furniture from
- How you should go about making accommodation requests
Some have specific policies regarding ergonomic accommodations. Your company may have a specific part of their budget set aside for making these upgrades, and they’re just waiting for someone to make a request.
Check-in with your Human Resources department for any information relevant to your request.
They will provide you with everything you need to know, giving you a good basis to conduct research on and prepare your request.
Office Chair Research:
Research office chairs like you would if you were shopping for furniture at home. This involves:
- Checking out different styles and brands
- Digging deep into reviews
- Considering the pros and cons of each item
Even though you should not foot the bill for this, your employer is more likely to approve the request if you can prove you take it seriously.
You should find a chair that works for your needs and offers you benefits to improve your current situation.
A new chair isn't the only thing you want; you want a tool to enhance productivity and protect your health.
Look into the downsides of the chairs you consider, and expect your point of contact to bring these up. The chair does not need to be perfect, but the risks should not outweigh the benefits.
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You’ll have better luck if you can find a variety of options that suit your needs, including:
- Your dream chair
- A suitable compromise
- A budgetary option that is still an upgrade
Understanding the budgetary restrictions of your employer can help guide your search.
You can also create a price analysis that points out how they will profit off this investment.
Making Your Request for a New Office Chair
Once you have all the information from your prep work, you can move to make your request.
This phase includes:
- Setting up a meeting with the appropriate party
- Considering your talking points and tone
- Preparing to handle rejection
Setting Up a Meeting
Set up an in-person meeting to make sure they take your request seriously. This provides the best opportunity to explain your request and answer any questions they may have.
Your HR department should tell you who you need to contact, whether that is a specific part or just someone in your upline.
You should also consider tagging the subject into an existing meeting you have.
This approach increases your chances of success if you’ve recently had a good review or anticipate one.
Catching your employer when you have some brownie points to spend can boost your chances of success.
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Talking Points and Tone:
Regardless of what happens in your meeting, make sure you cover:
- Your reason for making the request (e.g. medical, unsafe conditions, increasing productivity)
- Three top choices
- The benefits of providing a new office chair
Make sure you reproach the topic with respect and patience. They may ask a lot of questions, but consider this an opportunity to further sell your point.
Make sure you do not speak like you cannot do your job if they don’t provide a new office chair. You should not resort to threats.
Most employers understand how to handle this conversation appropriately, and it’s up to you to do the same.
Ideally, they say yes with little objection. But this isn’t always the case.
Rejection comes in many forms. It is important to understand their reasoning. Sometimes it’s just the wrong time, and you need to check back at a certain time.
Other times, your employer just needs more information from you or your doctor before they can approve the request.
Keep up the respectful tone, and know that there are options out there if the chair is truly unsafe.
If it is just the wrong time, learn when they want you to check back in to revisit the request.