The economic argument for investing in ergonomic office chairs: Reducing absenteeism and boosting productivity

In today’s fast-paced business environment, finance managers are under constant pressure to optimize budgets, reduce unnecessary expenses, and boost overall productivity. One area that often gets overlooked, but which holds a significant potential for positive economic impact, is the physical workspace—specifically, the investment in ergonomic office chairs. While the initial cost of ergonomic chairs may seem like a luxury rather than a necessity, a deeper dive into the economic benefits reveals a compelling argument for making this investment, particularly in reducing absenteeism and enhancing employee productivity.  Stats released by the Heath & Safety Executive, show that In 2021-2022 473,000 workers suffered with a musculoskeletal condition, which adds up to 6.6 million working days lost.  

Understanding the Link Between Ergonomics and Absenteeism

Absenteeism, the habitual absence from work beyond what is deemed to be normal or acceptable, is a costly issue for businesses worldwide. It not only disrupts the day-to-day operations but also imposes a significant financial burden on organizations. One of the less obvious but critical contributors to absenteeism is workplace discomfort, particularly musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by poor ergonomics. Ergonomic office chairs are designed to support the body’s natural posture, reduce strain on muscles and joints, and minimize the risk of developing MSDs.

An office with ergonomic counter height chairs

Economic Benefits of Reducing Absenteeism Through Ergonomic Chairs

1. Decreased Direct and Indirect Costs: Absenteeism carries both direct costs (such as paid sick leave) and indirect costs (including reduced productivity and the cost of finding temporary replacements). By investing in ergonomic office chairs, companies can significantly reduce the prevalence of MSDs, subsequently lowering the rate of absenteeism and its associated costs.

2. Enhanced Productivity: Comfortable employees are more productive. Ergonomic chairs can increase comfort and reduce fatigue, enabling employees to maintain peak performance levels for longer periods. This boost in productivity can lead to better outcomes for the business as a whole, from increased revenue to improved customer satisfaction.

3. Improved Employee Engagement and Retention: Investing in ergonomic chairs sends a clear message to employees that the company values their health and well-being. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher engagement levels, and, ultimately, better retention rates. The cost savings from reduced turnover and the preservation of institutional knowledge further strengthen the economic argument for ergonomic chairs.  Recent research by IOSH paints a gloomy picture of the UK workforce where workers feel undervalued, and a company which invests will stand out and become an employer of choice.

Making the Case: ROI of Ergonomic Office Chairs

The return on investment (ROI) from ergonomic office chairs can be substantial, but it requires a long-term perspective. Research into the relationship between interior office space and employee health and wellbeing, found that furniture was one of the six key cornerstones.

The initial costs are offset by the cumulative savings from reduced absenteeism, enhanced productivity, and lower turnover rates. Additionally, the positive impact on employee well-being can lead to a more vibrant and dynamic workplace culture, further contributing to the organization’s success.

Finance managers should consider conducting a cost-benefit analysis, factoring in the potential savings from reduced absenteeism against the upfront investment in ergonomic chairs. By leveraging data on absenteeism rates, employee productivity, and health-related costs, finance managers can build a compelling case for this investment.


The decision to invest in ergonomic office chairs is not just a matter of employee comfort; it’s a strategic financial decision that can lead to significant economic benefits. By reducing absenteeism, enhancing productivity, and improving employee engagement, the investment in ergonomic office chairs can yield a positive ROI, making it a wise choice for finance managers looking to optimize their organization’s performance and financial health.

As businesses continue to navigate the challenges of the modern workplace, making informed investments in employee well-being will be crucial. Ergonomic office chairs represent a simple yet effective step towards creating a healthier, more productive, and economically efficient work environment.

If you would like to talk to our team about how ergonomic chairs can be financially beneficial for your business please call us on 0330 332 0880.

Jo Blood has been working in the ergonomic office furniture industry for the last 20 years. An expert in helping people set up their workstations correctly, she has appeared on the BBC as a sitting expert, and been featured in many publications over the years, including The Telegraph, The Guardian and the Daily Mail. She also provides advice to many trade publications.

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