When picking out an ergonomic office chair, one of the main features consumers look at is the arms. Good adjustability and padding in arms are very important…unless there are no arms.
One often-overlooked alternative when considering an ergonomic office chair is to use it without arms. In a neutral working position, your arms should hang close to your body, more or less straight downward from the shoulder. This position is certainly possible to create with properly sized and adjusted chair arms, but if you sit in a chair with no arms, it is the position your arms naturally fall into anyway. Sitting in this way gives the benefit of not leaning too hard on the elbows, causing pressure in the ulnar nerve. This is a nerve that runs down your arm to the outer part of your hand, often causing tingling in the pinky and ring finger.
Using an office chair with arms is certainly the norm, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you choose to do so, simply position the arms so that they do not cause your arms to raise away from your body or outward (the “chicken wing” look) and do not put too much pressure on your elbows or forearms. For some users, however, no arms at all are necessary.