When it comes to choosing casters for your office chairs and other pieces of portable equipment, you might think the speed is not that important. After all, the last thing you want your employees to be doing is riding up and down the lanes of your office in their caster-mounted office chairs.
While speed is perhaps not that important, comfort and ease-of-movement most certainly is. Your employees may have to sit down all day at their desks, and if your office chairs are not caster-mounted, then your employees are going to find them uncomfortable. If the chairs are hard to move around, then your employees may become ‘locked’ into one position, simply because it is too difficult to keep moving their chairs around the office. This does not provide for a comfortable or productive workday.
However, simply supplying ‘any old’ caster-mounted office furniture is not the answer here. This is because your office floor is probably carpeted. Not only does carpeting look good, it’s also very good at dampening noise. People tend to work more efficiently if there are less distractions around, and the endless ‘squeaking’ of wheels or chair legs on vinyl, laminate or wooden flooring can be a distraction.
So, why are caster so hard to move on carpet, and what is the solution?
Shouldn’t Caster-Mounted Office Chairs be Easy to Move?
So why put casters on their chairs that are difficult to move?
The problem that chair and office equipment manufacturers face comes down to one simple enemy – friction. Friction is what prevents a caster from moving cleanly. When two surfaces encounter each other, they don’t necessary want to move. Friction works against the pushing force when one surface wishes to move in relation to another – the wheels of a caster against the surface of a carpet, for example. The rule is – the less ‘rough’ a surface is, the less friction there is.
Of course, most carpets are very rough – they are made from weaves of material that create gaps and loops. This creates a cushioning effect, which is great for feet and noise absorption, but not as wonderful when objects such as casters are trying to move across the surface of the carpet.
Most office chairs and items of portable office equipment will come ‘ready-made’ with standard ‘carpet casters’ attached. There’s a lot of comfort to consider when it comes to office chairs – particularly the overall ergonomic design – but in order to keep costs low, most manufacturers will not exactly go ‘overboard’ when it comes to the quality of their chair casters. They will prioritize the comfort of the seat, and the ways in which the chair can be adjusted. However, if you end up with a chair that is difficult to maneuver when it is on carpet, then you’re sacrificing maneuverability for ergonomics, lessening the effectiveness of the chair itself.
So, What’s the Solution?
If your employees complain that their chairs are difficult to move, or other items of portable office equipment are difficult to transport, then the solution is obvious – change the casters!
Before you panic and think about the cost of new casters sucking money away from the company profit, relax! Effective casters that can deal specifically with the ‘issues’ of carpeting are not expensive at all. With just a moderate expense, all the chairs in your office environment can be made to be expressly maneuverable.
You might ask yourself why casters that deal with carpeting are not that expensive?
The answer is that there are many different types of carpeting. It would not be cost-effective for a furniture manufacturer to make a specific type of chair with every specific type of caster for every specific type of application, so they typically create a ‘general purpose’ caster that suits as many applications as possible.
Such ‘general purpose’ casters are typically simply made of hard plastic, and are definitely nothing special. They tend to work better over vinyl and wooden flooring than over carpet. Such casters are usually very difficult to maneuver over plusher types of carpet as well.
You will be able to find casters that are better suited to meet your specific flooring. There are literally hundreds of casters made from all types of materials – some for light use, others for heavy use, and many more. There is certain to be a specific type of caster made to match your needs.
Putting the Correct Solution into Practice
So, how do you make sure that you select the correct type of caster for your specific needs? Speak to a team of genuine caster experts, such as the team at Douglas Equipment. We have hundreds of casters, and years of experience fitting the right caster to the right application!
Please feel free to call a member of our friendly customer service team at any time. We can be reached toll free at 800-451-0030, or 305-888-3700 if you are based in the Miami area. You may also contact us online at any time using our contact form. No matter what you need, we’ll be happy to help!