In this world of cubicles, companies have to take steps to keep costs down by reducing wear and tear on the interior. One bit of the interior that takes a perpetual beating is the floor. Whether carpeted or tiled, floors, especially the parts sitting under office chairs, get the most abuse. One way to reduce damage to the flooring is to provide a chairmat for each worker.
A chairmat is a large sheet of vinyl, wood or other smooth, sturdy material that sits under the desk and under the wheels of the office chair. Offic chair wheels cause all sorts of damage to flooring, often wearing the carpet nap thin and marking or buckling tile. A chairmat solves these problems and allows the office chair to roll smoothly.
The material and form of the chairmat will depend on the flooring surface and even the shape of the cubicle. Some mats are square, some have a "tab" at the top, and some have cutouts to the right or left, depending on the shape of the employee's desk. A chairmat for carpeted floors is usually vinyl and has small teeth or cleats on the underside to grip the carpet and keep the mat in place. A chairmat for a tile floor may be of any durable material and usually has rubber grippers on the bottom to keep it stationary.
One important feature to consider when buying a chairmat is durability. Chair mats take a great deal of punishment from chair wheels. Some types are prone to crack with extended use. Many companies like the look of the clear vinyl varieties, but these mats are more prone to cracking than those made in other materials. Some mats may have such pronounced cleats that they cause the chair to "bump" over the tops of the cleats when a person is sitting in it. This is not only annoying for the worker, but also leads to premature breakdown of the mat.
Harder materials, such as pressboard or rubber, may be a better choice for many companies. These mats will take considerably more wear, and chairs will usually roll better on them.
A chairmat can be purchased anywhere office supplies are sold. They range in price from US$20 to US$100 for the very best. Even a $100 per employee investment will pay off, however, if the company does not have to frequently replace flooring and/or carpet.