I’m pretty nerdy about ergonomics after my poor posture led to a case of pre-MCO carpal tunnel syndrome.
Despite adding a footrest, monitor stand, and more, to increase the ergonomics of my workspace, one thing I stuck with was cheap IKEA office chairs. They got the job done, but they weren’t the most ergonomic or comfortable to sit on for long intervals.
After two years of working from home, we renovated our office to improve the entire space in terms of layout, interior design, teamwork spaces, etc.
Malaysian office furniture manufacturer retirement seat graciously sponsored our new seats, which are branded KCE-170 ergonomic chair specifically, and provided us with two smart desks (version 2022).
These offerings are part of their expanding product line, following the steady growth Alteseat has seen since last time. introduced them in 2020.
A little story
Alteseat was founded by Benedick Chen (Ben), who was only 20 years old when he started his own factory to make office chairs in 2017. Having no formal education to run a business, Ben relied on the knowledge and experiences he had gained. he earned by working in his father’s factory.
Interestingly, despite allowing customers to customize their furniture, that only accounted for 5% of their orders back then.
Ultimately, the team realized that customizable products were not a scalable business model and stopped doing it altogether.
That’s telling of how well the brand’s products already cater to general customer demands, and its expanded range has only added to the variety available.
However, in my experience as a vertically challenged person (read: short), ergonomic furniture hasn’t always worked for me. So how did Alterseat furniture go?
KCE-170 ergonomic chair
The KCE-170 ergonomic chairs have a strong nylon body and breathable mesh in black.
Priced at RM579.90 each, they have adjustable features that you would be hard-pressed to find in other regular office chairs.
Aside from the usual seat height adjustment for chairs, the KCE-170 also allows me to move certain elements of the chair to maximize my comfort.
To properly support my neck, I can move the height and angle of the KCE-170’s headrest.
There is also a strong plastic band on the back of the chair to adjust the height of the lumbar (lower back) support.
The KCE-170 chairs have adjustable armrests that can be positioned higher or lower, and slide in and out to achieve the most optimal relaxed position for my shoulders and wrists.
The seat itself is made of soft yet firm molded high-density polyethylene foam. Unexpectedly, the material is quite refreshing even after long hours of sitting, so embarrassing sweat stains on the butt and fingerprints were never an issue.
Furthermore, its wheels are extremely quiet and smooth, further emphasizing the solid construction of the chair.
So far so good, but my brevity brought some challenges (no fault of the chair). So one feature I underuse is its reclining backrest.
However, those with longer torsos and stronger cores may find lying in this position quite relaxing.
I’m not an expert, but I know that proper ergonomics require the back of the knees to be moved away from the edge of the seat. This is so that your knees can be at a 90-degree angle so that your feet touch the ground (or a stool).
If I were to sit properly with my back against the chair, my legs would dangle so I still need a seat cushion to push me forward into the correct sitting posture. But like the reclining back of the chair, this wasn’t a problem for my taller colleagues.
It would be great if the seat part could slide in and out, depending on the length of the thighs. By the way, it is actually a feature that is available in Alterseat CG PRIME Gold Standard ergonomic chair model for RM1,419.90.
Tips to maximize your sitting comfort
- Adjust the positions of the neck, arms and lower back to suit your personal height and comfort;
- Alteseat has a variety of chairs that vary by features and price points, so choose a chair based on your budget and needs;
- Use a foot stool to keep your legs from dangling off the ground if you are short.
Smart Desktop (2022 release)
Alterseat’s 2022 version of its Smart Desk costs RM2,199.90. It comes in Congo Dark Brown with Black Base and Oak Polar White with White Base, the latter of which we managed to match the lighter interior design of our office.
We sourced two smart desks from Alterseat which were placed in two private offices, used by my colleagues Sarah and Rikco, respectively.
Other brands on the market often offer smart desks that come in smaller sizes of 120cm x 75cm to fit most rooms, along with larger options.
Alter seat only has one size for your smart desk which is 150cm x 70cm. While it may seem too big to some, the size is actually a big plus for those who like to multitask.
Take Sara for example. As a multitasker, you appreciate that the large desk gives you more space to eat, do paperwork, work on the computer, and have some decorations to brighten up your desk.
He even added a desktop treadmill to his setup for a brisk walk while he worked. On a slower day, it helps improve your mood and productivity. Eating while working at his desk was no problem either, as the size of the table was roomy enough to move items around so they fit perfectly.
Rikco, on the other hand, loves desktop clutter, and needless to say, the ample space accommodates it.
This seems to fit with Alterseat’s claim that this size of table was preferred by customers, hence their decision to make Smart Desk in one size.
The large desk space also allows for multiple add-on desk organizers to personalize your workspace.
Capable of accommodating up to 130kg of weight, the Smart Desk is extremely sturdy even for those who have elaborate desk setups. Dual motor electronic gears move smoothly during adjustment as they have undergone multiple pressure tests at the factory.
With three settings, you can program your preferred Smart Desk heights for unique use cases. For Rikco, you have settings for a more relaxed and relaxed sitting posture; one for an upright sitting posture; and one to stand.
Otherwise, you could take inspiration from Sarah, who has a setting for her proper sitting posture, one that’s a little higher for when she’s eating (to avoid spills), and another for when she’s walking on her treadmill.
Both Rikco and Sarah did not necessarily have strict times to sit or stand while using the Smart Desk. More importantly, they both appreciated the option of changing their postures while stretching in their rooms.
There is a table cutout to the left of the desk to run cables through. But if you’re someone more organized and prefer to keep your cables tucked away, Alterseat also offers the option of adding a cable management box to the table.
Because the Smart Desk is automated, it needs to be placed against or near a wall with a power outlet, which is probably your only limiting factor if your space lacks plug points. Extension cords should alleviate this problem.
Tips to maximize your smart desktop:
- Program the table height to accommodate different postures. For example, sitting, eating and standing;
- Get a cable management box and desk organizers to keep clutter out of sight;
- Take advantage of the large table space to customize your most conductive workspace;
- Create your dream desktop setup with multiple monitors and don’t worry about stability as the table changes between height positions.
The ergonomic configuration of my dreams
Having used the Alteseat KCE-170 ergonomic chair for a week and the smart desk on a regular basis, I can safely say that it is my dream ergonomic office setup.
The privilege of changing work positions can relieve musculoskeletal pain that tends to come after a long day at work.
I sincerely hope that an ergonomic office chair and smart desk setup can be the future norm in any workspace, be it in the office or at home.
From my experience, Alterseat products have definitely hit the mark for me.